Perishing And Stumbling

image by Katie Rusch

We kicked off the new year with a staff meeting today. I love the people I work with, most of all because they are real. There’s not a one that I don’t look at with some measure of awe – not so much because of all the amazing things they do, but because of the authentic ways they live and do life. It’s such a privilege to be surrounded by these people, every last one.

We take turns leading the meeting each week, but today the Big Kahuna was in charge. Brian is an exceptional leader, most especially when it comes to casting vision. He is healthier and more focused than I have seen since I’ve been working with him, and that’s exciting. We prayed, and he shared a few thoughts and then got specific.

He cast some vision, listed some things that he was dreaming about. Big things. Things that only God can do, things way beyond our abilities or resources. Exciting things.

And then he asked us for our lists. What were we dreaming about? What’s on our list?


Crickets for a few moments.

And then a few people began to share. Good ideas, brainstorming, thoughts and musings. Very cool thoughts.

Those moments are right up my alley. I love to dream and brainstorm, to think up big things and talk about them, to catch a vision and then turn around and cast it. For most all of my life, big things have caught hold of me and propelled me into places I never thought I’d go, doing things I’d never imagined. It’s part of my skill set, my gift – one of the things that I’ve always believed made me an asset.

But not today. My dreams? My list?


I had nothing. Every thought that came into my mind was met with a cynical, sneering caricature of my internal self – quickly articulating a reason why anything I might think up would never work.

A big choir? Nah, you tried that once. Didn’t work. You can’t do that.

Our location and building as a center for the arts? Seriously – who is going to lead that? Like you need one more job to do…

A big Easter production? Right…have you noticed that it’s January? And you got nothing? There’s not enough time. It’ll never happen.

Performing arts classes for kids? Remember your deficiency in administration? Yeah, that’s a GREAT idea. No way.

Recording a cd with our band? With original music? Yeah…you’ve been talking about that one for years. Obviously that’s not going anywhere.


My heart broke, right then and there.

It’s a long-running joke that we often have some intense conflict in our staff meetings; on a weekly basis, Brian threatens, “I’m gonna make you cry!” But today, I didn’t need any help. I couldn’t open my mouth; there was nothing to say. The tears lurked just beneath the surface, and I just prayed that nobody asked me to speak.

They did not.

I’m not sure what’s going on, where my head is, why my heart is buried. Why I am afraid to dream. Why I feel so defeated. If I’ll feel this way tomorrow, and the next day and the next. Or if this is a momentarily thing, a situational lapse of permission to think beyond myself, to believe God. I just don’t know.

I do know this, and I believe it: Where there is no vision, the people perish. Or, as Eugene Peterson puts it: If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves.

I need to rescue my dreams. I need to see.

I need rescue.

4 thoughts on “Perishing And Stumbling

  1. Not at all. My pastor preached a sermon, Sunday, in which he asked: Is your faith prepared for what's coming? He gave 4 ways in which we're often prepared. The 1st was that we have a plan. Yeah, you read that right. I thought he'd misspoken, at first. (Even after he explained, I'll admit to laughing a little inside, thinking that the Scouts–with their “Be prepared!” motto–would hate what he was saying.) But his point was that we need to rely on God's plan: that our thoughts and ways are not as God's. So I think, my BEAUTIFUL FRIEND: since you (a person gifted in dreaming) have no big dreams in your head at the moment, you have an amazing opportunity to really tap into God's plan…to ask: Should I be trying something new, right now? What do You have for me, Lord? I'm excited for you. Maybe you're about to fall into a season of rest, and that's always a happy thing for a woman with a newish husband, 5 kids, a house in transformation mode, a store, and an important job at the biggest church in the county. Love you.


  2. Reprise of Romans 12 – The folks you encouraged/assigned to let that sink in may or may not have memorized it as much as we should have but it stuck with me ; )

    For realz shawty.


    Because I was just as guilty as the next fella/gal

    Put HIM first and

    You recognize the struggle all creative (musicians especially) wrestle with every time they pound a key, strike a cymbal, belt a note, pluck a string, flawlessly execute a solo, or otherwise “showcase” what we know.

    My point.

    Romans 12(para-paraphrased) – Instead look upon ourselves with sober judgement, and not think to highly of ourselves than we ought.

    Love you Beth, and so does the one the who made you.

    God's got your back and so do I and so does everyone who has ever had the chance to talk with you more than a few minutes at a time.

    : )


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