She Stands... United - Sheree Minturn
Doing life with people is by most part unavoidable, but it’s the kind of people you do life with that can make or break you. There are 2 kinds of people in this world - there are those that champion you on, who encourage your dreams and inspire you to greater things, who are unified in their heart with you. Then there are those who drain your life, who make you dread their presence, who fill your life with self-absorbed drama and who don’t invest positively into you one little bit.
And it can break you. Hard. It can sap your emotional energy, give you anxiety and bring you down. Dealing with people who are like this can really affect your mood and your day! As a pastor I deal with both. I do life with those who inspire me and those who are just jolly hard work! And the sane person’s solution to this would be to say ‘get rid of those people out of your life’, but I feel that part of my personality, ministry and purpose is to help wounded, hurting people stop wounding and hurting people.
I’m a big Instagram gal and I follow some pretty inspiring people. This week, some of the more well-known USA pastors that I follow began posting about a young pastor from California, who last Friday took his own life, leaving behind a wife and 3 little boys. The tragedy of this story and the footage of hundreds of church members holding a candle light vigil while he was on life support in ICU for 24 hours after the suicide attempt was heart wrenching. Reading his precious wife’s words about the loss of her husband was like receiving a stinging slap to my face. How tragic that you can feel so isolated and alone and yet be surrounded by hundreds of people at the same time.
I understand that feeling. I understand people taking and taking and never allowing you to feel the normal feelings of a human like sadness, grief, disappointment and hurt because you’re a pastor and you need to be on call for everyone else’s demands and bad days. It’s really tough when you don’t feel the unity of friendship and love from people in your life when it’s most needed. Last year I hit a wall, a big wall, a wall that was so hard that it threatened to knock every bit of breath out of my life, my passions and my purpose. I was so broken that I withdrew from church for one month and I even flew down to Sydney by myself to pray and seek God for my future. Out of the 100% of people I minister to week after week and for the past 21 years as a Lead Pastor, I reckon it would be a stretch to say that 5% of those people reached out or checked up on me during that month. I mean, it was pretty obvious when your Lead Pastor, who has rarely missed a Sunday even with raising 6 kids, disappears off the face of the planet for one month.
But I tell my little story to say this, WE HAVE GOT TO GET BETTER AT THIS UNITY STUFF! And I don’t mean you have to go out and rescue the whole entire world, I mean, just reach out to those who you do life with on a day to day basis, those who are a part of your world. Just reach out to them if you notice something is a bit askew.
The word unity has some pretty cool alter egos, it means: solidarity, alliance, indivisibility and undividedness. It’s a pretty strong word. Nowhere is it written that it means self-agenda, self-absorbed or selfish. No, it means coming together with people and being like-minded and of one heart. It means showing love and compassion and taking notice of others around you and not making every single little thing about yourself.
In Ephesians 4:1-3 the Message Bible says “Get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences”. I love this! Stop wandering down unhealthy paths in your own life, start noticing differences in others and start living in forgiveness. And that’s true unity. When we stand with someone else with love through their pain and their victories!
We don’t need to have all the answers for someone else’s journey, we just need to be a friend. A friend that sends a text, drops in for a coffee and gets on her knees and prays for someone else’s circumstances. Sometimes we’ll get to have a celebration party and other times we’ll get to clean up the vomit. Life is messy and people are too precious for us to sit on the sidelines. We need each other. We were designed to carry others and have others carry us when needed. That’s what this marvellous, crazy life is all about! Love extravagantly and be connected with others who will laugh with you, wipe your tears and pull you off the path of poor decisions. Time to keep things real and step up our game because, far out girls, we need each other! Love you all, Pastor Sheree xxx