Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Discipleship Curriculum

I’ve discovered something about myself. I’m hopelessly Type A with a ridiculously free spirit.  I’m not sure how those two things live within the same soul but here I am.  A big picture gal with a screaming desire for perfectly organized spaces.  A dreamer that builds plans I don’t follow.  An intensely creative spirit that pencils projects in my Day-Timer.   A detailed list maker that abandons it all at the first sign of a warm, sunny day.  It’s complicated.  Just ask the Chef.

So, when it comes to matters of the soul, these rivals battle against each other and I’m at a loss as to how to make disciples out of four-foot tall, strong-willed little humans, let alone all nations.  All these ideas floating in my brain begging to be organized into curriculum but there are books to read and songs to play air guitar to and pictures to draw and coloring contests to have and God’s marvelous creation to discover and laundry to do and meals to cook and people to love...  and would you look at that!  It’s 80 degrees.  So when do I find the time for the pen to hit the paper for a "discipleship curriculum".

And, the entire call overwhelms me to fear of failure. That I will fail to make Jesus known to my children. That I will fail to impress their hearts with His living, active word.  That I will fail to unearth these diamonds in the rough to shine for the Kingdom of God.  That I will fail to show them a lost and broken world in desperate need of the Body of Christ, of Christ Himself. 

And when I’m able to catch my breath, I breathe in deep and remember.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

With thanksgiving.  Thank you, God.  Thank you for these four-foot tall, strong-willed little humans you placed in my care.  Thank you that my life’s work is this high calling to make disciples, with You by my side leading the way. Thank you that You are really the One who will unearth these diamonds.  May they shine for You.  May we all.

My first instinct, driven by the Type A part of my brain, is to search high and low for an effective discipleship program, a curriculum.  Something that tells me exactly what to say, what to do, complete with fun, field trips and authenticity built right in.  Where is that discipleship program that Jesus used?  How did the Master of discipleship do it wrapped in flesh? 

He lived. For God. Abided in Him. Had a heart perfectly positioned toward Him.  So He knew the Father’s will.   I’m certain Jesus did not have an outline or a calendar.  He had the voice of God.

And, He communed with the Father.
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”  (Mark 1:35)

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16)

If He was awake, He was in the Father's presence. 

As He communed, He displayed servant leadership.
He didn't work behind the scenes and reveal a masterpiece at the end. He invited his disciples into His life.  Come. Follow me. Let me show you what I’m up to. Let me show you how I do it.  On His way to heal the sick and lame, feed the multitudes, raise the dead…. Come. Follow me. Let me show you how the Kingdom can come. Now.

He was intimate and real. He didn't need a curriculum for discipleship.  He submitted to the Father and allowed His actions, His life to speak for itself.  He spoke the Truth and many believed.  When He took people with Him to raise the dead, He didn’t first offer a weekend conference on Raising the Dead.  He displayed His faith, His spiritual discipline, His obedience, His courage to go where the Father led Him.


And, above all else, He loved extravagantly.

He loved the Father without apology and without compromise. He was seen praying. He was seen healing. He was seen weeping. He was genuine and loving with everyone He encountered. He healed with His hands. He ministered from the heart. He knew the Father and His word. 

He discipled out of an overflow of His relationship with the Father and He discipled within the relationships of His followers. He ate with them, traveled with them, and didn't hide His need for spiritual authenticity with the Father, daily.  Nothing about what He did here on earth was about tasks.  It was all about people.  Brothers and sisters of His Father in Heaven who needed Him... more than they knew.

So what does all that mean to my mothering, to my calling to participate in unearthing these diamonds in the rough. This is about when my mind screams for a curriculum that my heart can use.  Study this Scripture, say this prayer, tell this story. Sieve out this moral and conclude this godly character trait.

But Jesus, aside from God’s word, had no curriculum. Only a spirit-filled life. Spirit. Filled.

So when I’m sitting in my quiet, morning spot studying God’s word and my children catch me, that’s part of my discipleship curriculum.

When my children see me on my knees praying to a God who asks me to pray without ceasing, and there’s not a meal in sight, that’s part of my discipleship program. 

When K-Love is blasting in the kitchen and my children see me stop what I'm doing to lift my hands and praise this God that can’t be contained in a building on Sundays, that’s part of my discipleship program.

When we make meals for the broken, say I’m sorry, forgive each other, love each other, participate in a random act of kindness, stop in the middle of negativity to pray, explore God’s creation, help a stray dog, invite others into our home, serve at church, pray for the lost and needy all over the globe, read daily from God’s word, it’s all part of my His discipleship program.

When I bend to listen to their tiny voices full of needs, offer gentle hands, gentle words, gentle rebuke, gentleness. When I stop the tasks to see their faces, forget the law to see the miracles, when I read to them on the couch, curl up in their beds at night for pillow talk, dish out a Wacky Wednesday, leave a messy house for their favorite adventure, serve them out of love by doing a chore for them, discipline them for a foolish choice – it’s all part of this divine discipleship curriculum because it is developing the relationships that open the doors to their hearts. 

When I fall but refuse to stay down, when I cry out to the God who redeems and delivers and covers me clean in grace, when I can't breathe or speak but can let the Name above all names roll off my tongue and they see the darkness flee, that's part of it, too.

And when they ask questions about God’s creation or God Himself, and I have to Google it or crack open the Bible to try to answer them, it tells them how big our God really is.  Even Mom doesn’t have all the answers… and I hope they can see in me a faith that moves mountains even when I don’t have all the answers.  But I also hope that it lights a path to all the mysteries of God that can be found in Jesus, who disciples us all.

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