Area 10 Church (Take Two) – List Making

I decided to go to church today for basically the second time ever. While I was much less prepared for this go-around, and was there more to provide support for a friend… I still came away with a great piece I can apply to my life.

Today’s speaker was a woman, and she focused on a topic geared towards women. But it’s one that we can all learn from.

She opened with some examples from Pinterest. So many people see projects on Pinterest and try to recreate them. They often turn out to be a disaster.

But it’s this idea of Pinterest perfection that we all strive for. We compare ourselves to others based on how well we complete these projects, and when they don’t turn out well, we feel inadequate.

Our society is driven by these types of lists. They’re easy to make comparisons, and it’s human nature to seek out comparison. It’s a great form of feedback.

But our obsession with lists has led us to always strive to do more. It becomes all about getting things done, that we care so little about what we’re doing and who we’re doing it with.

As an American culture, we’re awful with this. As a small business owner, I struggle with this. As a perfectionist who obsesses over details, I can’t always get my mind around this.

But as a human being who is really starting to value relationships more and more each day, this is apparent.

A list-driven lifestyle will only continue to push us to do more and more. And where do we draw the line? And how quickly do we stop caring about the actual work we’re doing?

I, for one, am going to think twice before making another list. Life has so much more to offer than simply getting a bunch of menial tasks completed. We’re all much more capable than that. We have so much more to share with our friends, our family & even those we haven’t met yet.

It’s ironic how we always demand more from others. We’re not satisfied with anything less than exceptional quality & service, yet when it’s time to do our own work, we resort back to our list, and fall victim to just “getting it done.” Are we putting forth that same quality that we demand from others?

Put the list down and pick up a book. Skip a few to-do items, and go hang out on your buddy’s porch. Turn something in late if it doesn’t have to be finished today. And be proud of whatever situation you’re currently in, even if you know it won’t be pinned on Pinterest any time soon.

The Space Between Conviction & Action Is…

…procrastination.

For the first time in 10 years, and probably only the 3rd time EVER… I went to church today.

They’re a non-denominational church called Area10, and actually brand themselves as a “Faith Community,” which I think is pretty cool. They hold their Sunday service at an historic Richmond landmark (and $2 movie theatre) called the Byrd Theatre.

I didn’t know what to expect, but I went into it with a slightly-skeptical, but open, mind. I wanted to at least enjoy a part (or parts) of the service, and possibly walk out of there with something to ponder. My wish was granted, and here’s how it all went down.

About Baptism (or you could call it… commitment)

The pastor, Chris, focused his talk around Baptism: what it means & how it should be done. Before today, this topic meant very little to me. While I do have a better understanding of it now, I still can’t really relate. But Chris used a few examples that opened my eyes to an important concept.

A significant event to solidify a commitment

I’ve never been one to celebrate. Little victories, big accomplishments, anything really. I often saw the celebration as just a formality. It didn’t make the journey I took to get there any sweeter. And I didn’t need a celebration to validate what I had done.

I used to have a similar feeling towards various commitments. I’ve mocked New Year’s Resolutions in the past. I’ve never been a huge fan of putting labels on a relationship at various stages. And on and on with many other things.

Chris used getting married as an analogy for getting baptized. “Many people ask me this question, and I hate it when they do. They say, ‘I was already baptized as a child. So do I really have to [get baptized]?’

Chris’ answer was,

“Well, no, you don’t have to do anything. But if you want to give your life to Christ, than yes, you have to.”

Marriage is the same way

Do you really have to get married if you already know you both love each other? If you’re already living together? What’s the point? Isn’t it just a formality?

No. It’s more than just a formality. It’s a significant event that you can look back on to remind yourself of your commitment. When we don’t have these events to look back on, guess what happens? We break the commitment.

How many times has a doctor, or dentist, or nutritionist, or trainer, or psychiatrist, told you that in order to achieve your goal, you had to make this change? Did you make it? Yeah, of course you did… for a little while. A few days, a few weeks, maybe a year or two. But without a significant event, or some type of symbolism that we carry with us, we eventually revert back to our old habits… even when we know deep down that it’s not the best thing for us.

“You don’t have to wear a wedding ring. I know I love my wife here [pointing to heart] and here [pointing to head]. But having that ring on my finger reminds me that I’m taking her with me wherever I go. And every time I see it I am reminded of our commitment.”

Appreciation & Selflessness

During one of the final songs, since I wasn’t able to connect with the lyrics… I bowed my head, closed my eyes & reflected on the past 60 minutes I had just experienced. My mind took me to a place of kindness & selflessness. It was clear I had 3 groups of people to thank for my experience.

James, Jennifer & Jennifer’s parents… for their invitation, open-minded approach & welcoming attitude. They helped me feel comfortable in what could have been an uncomfortable situation.

The pastor, Chris… for sharing not only his thoughts on spirituality, but his life experiences. And for being incredibly humble, occasionally funny & an engaging speaker.

The musicians & singers… for giving their time to create wonderful music, and exuding a great deal of passion for what they were singing about. In my mind, passion is, and always will be contagious, regardless what it’s for.

“What Are You Waiting For?”

The pastor, Chris, kept repeating this question at the end of his talk. Even though his question was in relation to getting Baptized—and that’s not happening for me in the immediate future—I was still able to take something away from this.

I’m notorious for starting things but never seeing them through. I’m also really good at coming up with ideas. Unfortunately, more than half of them never see the light of day. I have extremely strong conviction, but only act on a small percentage of it. Looks like I’m a procrastinator after all.

So that question he kept repeating, “What are you waiting for?” Regardless of what it’s in relation to, it’s a great question. And it’s one in which most of us don’t have any good answers for. And if you can’t answer it, than it’s time to start taking action.

Huge Thanks

I want to say “Thank You” to James, Jennifer & Jennifer’s family for sharing the experience with me. And to James & Jennifer for their invitations to join them at church. I enjoyed myself, and would definitely not have gone without the invitation or the company.

Give It A Try

Regardless of your faith, I would encourage you all to consider attending church. Perhaps you’re selective with exactly which church you attend, as I realize they are not all the same. In fact, I do believe there are a number of churches I could’ve chosen to attend this morning that would have scared the bejesus out of me (pun intended). So choose wisely. But if you have awesome friends, whose opinions you respect & value, take them up on their offer.

Take from it what you want. And leave what you don’t.

You don’t have to take the pastor’s word as literal truth. You don’t have to participate in communion, or anything else that you aren’t comfortable with (or just don’t see the meaning in). I walked up to the communion table, and just bowed my head, said a few words of thanks under my breath, and moved on. No bread. No wine. No problem.

Think about what’s being said in your own way. Apply it to your own life, and your own beliefs.

If the music moves you, let it in. If you feel positive energy, smile, and give it back to those around you. If you relate to something, nod your head in acknowledgement. And remember… just because you don’t agree, it doesn’t mean you don’t belong.