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Are You The Glue?

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Have you heard the expression before? You’re the glue in this family.

You’re the glue in this organization?

You’re the glue that held us together with this project?

Glue is that sticky substance that through some scientific means bonds things together. Keeps them close. Holds things in place.

Are you the glue?

Being the glue isn’t something that one gets assigned, rather it’s something that just happens. Certain personalities tend to be the glue.  This is not something they try to be, they are created with this ability to bond.  For unknown reasons they seem to be the one that others look to for direction or information; to feel connected with and welcomed.  Glue people somehow have a way of understanding what’s going on, even when they don’t know all the details.  Their welcome mat is out and they live with availability. They are the glue that hold people together.

I’ll ask again. Are you the glue?

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Maybe a better question would be, are you sticky? 

Sticky substances have a way of holding onto all kinds of things, good and bad. Now we can all relate to that, right? Each of us has a tendency to hold onto good and bad. But if you’re a glue person, like me, it’s important to recognize a few things:

  1. Not everyone acts like a glue person. Don’t be angry when others don’t care the way you do.
  2. The gift of bonding and holding others close is a matter of the heart.  Caring always costs you and enriches you at the same time.
  3. When you find that you aren’t able to “glue” like usual, it may be because too many prohibiting things have stuck to you. Examine your life. What is stuck to you that doesn’t belong? That empty’s your body and soul? That makes you sad?

I’ve been reading the gospel of Mark.  I’m only 3 chapters in but have identified somethings that have made me think about my ability to care for others. Even if we are not a glue person by nature, each of us takes on the role of a glue person in various seasons of life. We all can relate to the responsibility of caring for others whether it’s a child, disabled loved one, an elderly neighbor, foster child, sick or injured co-worker who doesn’t have family support, a family you know of who has great financial, emotional, relational or physical need, etc. There are a thousand different scenarios where we are asked to care for others.

Jesus is just beginning His journey in ministry.  People are getting to know Him.  He is speaking publicly and healing all kinds of people. People are drawn to Him. Jesus welcomes them.  He entertains their problems and questions.  He walks for miles and miles with them (as that is how people got around). Jesus was a glue person.

There were moments along the way where Jesus went away from the crowds.  He needed to sleep, to pray, to rest.  His closest friends were frantic when He wasn’t being the “glue” all the time. When you develop a reputation for being the glue, others will come to depend on you to hold things together. But Jesus did not let the lure of being needed dictate His schedule or His own need.

Jesus gives clear perspective:

  1. You will burn out if you don’t find a rhythm that allows you to step away from the needs of others. It’s simple, you cannot be a glue person if your stickiness wears off.
  2. You have to let go from time to time.  Stop dwelling on how you can help or assist.  This sounds very un-Jesus-y. But glue people tend to get a little obsessed with how they can carry others.  Jesus teaches us there is a time to rest from this never ending work.  There is a time to lay it down and fill our minds and hearts with other things.
  3. Remind yourself that your identity doesn’t come from being a glue person. Holding people together is what you do not who you are. When we confuse this we tend to become people pleasers and that is a burden glue people cannot afford to carry. We have to maintain the ability to say no at the right time so we are able to say yes at the precise time.

Are you a glue person? Are you in a season of life where you have to be a glue person?

If you are, your work is too important to ignore.  Through you others feel welcomed and invited.  Through you others find a listening ear or a new perspective. Through you others belong. Through you others become grounded and learn they matter.

We would do well my fellow glue persons to learn from Jesus, the Ultimate Glue Person.  You never know when you’ll be asked to be a glue person.

 

 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.  – Ephesians 2:10

 

Three Surprising Invitations

So recently I was reading the very beginning of the Bible. I don’t normally write about the specific things I learn directly from my reading but today I decided to share a surprising discovery.  I hope you enjoy it and that it gives you food for thought.Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 12.50.22 PM

If you know the creation story from the book of Genesis in the Bible, you have read that God created the earth and heavens.  But you might not know that in between the words of the story, there are three surprising invitations.

It took God 6 days to create everything. The Bible also records that 6 times God looked around.  HE SAW.  Then He called it all good.  I’ve never really noticed before that before God called it good, He saw.

God invites us to see.

In the middle of all His work God stopped, looked around and took inventory. He remarked about the good work He created.  We are invited to stop and look around in the middle of our work.  Find what is good and note it.  Become familiar with recognizing good.  It reminds us that God is near. Sometimes you cannot find what it is you are looking for if you don’t stop and see.

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The text then says God completed His creating.  His work had an end.  Everything came to a stop.

God invites us to stop.

It doesn’t mean that He was done creating.  The Bible is very clear that God continues to do a new work. But He was done with His work for the week.  Enough was enough. He knew when to put down His pencil. We too are invited to stop.  We are nudged to relax the grip of control over our affairs, knowing there is more to be done but yet saying, “Enough, it will wait for another day”. Our work is not meant to be the essence of our lives. It has an on and off switch.

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Once God was done creating Genesis records that He rested.  He literally ceased working**.  His seventh day was different from the previous six.  He didn’t work.  He rested.

God invites us into a rest.

God invites us to have a time in our week that looks different; where we enter into a “rest”. A stretch of time that isn’t like the other days.  Moments to walk away from the work. This rest is halting our regular gig in order to experience a break from it. (How that pans out for each one of us looks different.) To “rest” is to admit that God occupies the throne of all creation and He is the One who keeps your world spinning, not you.

These invitations opened up a host of questions inside my head.

  • Do I regularly look around and see the good in my life?
  • Do I acknowledge God?
  • Am I familiar with noticing good things in my work or am I negative or critical?
  • How comfortable am I with stopping?
  • Do I know when to stop? Stop striving, stop worrying, stop thinking, stop talking..?
  • How hard is it for me to stop….anything?
  • Do I enter into intentional rest?  (Not the same thing as being lazy.)
  • My mind may be working even if I’m not, how well am I disconnecting?
  • Do I rest from work and remember I don’t have to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders?

These invitations from God surprised me.  I didn’t know in the re-telling of creation, was also an invitation to see God, to experience freedom from pressure and to rest in the knowledge that the same God who is capable of creating EVERYTHING is capable of handling my “creating”.

Sure, God created it all. But through it He invites you and I to continually experience awe, relief, and renewal.  I don’t know about you but that is appealing to me.

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. ~ Colossians 1:16

**Quick side note.  For me the meaning of “work” or “creating” is anything that we may generate in order for our lives to move forward; being fruitful or productive.  It’s our 9-5 work, it’s the care for family needs, it’s the volunteerism we engage in.  That’s my take on it.