The Power of We
I recently experienced the overwhelming joy and heartache of dropping my first-born son off at college. Google tells me the University of Denver is 1,263 miles away. Just thinking about this spirals me into an emotional flip-flop. On one hand, I’m super proud of my son Sterling. I want him to go off to college. On the other hand, I miss his presence in our home. It’s not like he’s died, but I’m grieving the end of this season of life. It’s a transition.
My hubby, Scott, is strong and steady, such a relentless optimist. But, even he has moments of sadness through this transition. When we were driving to say goodbye for the final time before catching our flight home, Scott asked me if I had tissue. He knew it was going to be emotional. I dug in my purse and handed him the only absorbent thing I had, a maxi pad. He was not impressed with my offer and decided to use his sleeve instead. Needless to say, we are laughing and crying our way through this season.
One thing we have boldly prayed over our boys (we have two) is that the Lord would bring the right friends around them. We specifically ask that God would save them from the wrong friends in order to save them for the right ones, including their future wives. These have been bold prayers because we know the company that our boys keep will play a large part in shaping them and setting the trajectory of their futures.
I love how God is growing me through my children.
As I muddle through this thing called “parenting”, I’m actually gaining life skills. A few months ago, Julie and I started boldly praying a similar prayer over the Joy of It team. We knew as an organization we were in a time of transition. So, we asked God to bring the right women to join us on this journey, and He did. In a matter of a few weeks, a diverse group of skilled women appeared, all with a similar passion. Our little team doubled in size. We were five and now we are ten.
What do the right people look like?
In my experience, they are different but the same.
I was giddy over my son’s roommate. Why? Because he is different – and the same. Sterling is a first born. His roommate is a second born. One is reserved; the other is outgoing. One likes football and the other likes hockey. One grew up in Portland and the other, LA. Clearly, they have a lot of differences. But they also have some commonalities. Both have a brother. They are both business majors. Staying up late and sleeping in are their preference. Both sides of the room are the same level of messy. Their differences compliment one another and their similarities unite them.
Scripture paints of picture of the body of Christ that is different but the same. 1 Corinthians 12:12, says,
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.”
I’m getting to experience this in my own life through Joy of It. Our team gathers on Thursdays. This is time set aside to work together. As a team, we tackle projects and problems. It’s messy, loud, and fabulous all at the same time. The verbal processors are balanced out by the time keepers. Introverts and extroverts unite to tackle more than any of us could accomplish on our own. On this team, we trade in our best ideas for even better ones. As teammates, we make each other better. When we work together, we see flaws that were missed and discover new ideas. We learn from each other every Thursday.
It’s a picture of what Paul described in Ephesians 4.
“From [Christ] the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
Think about this, the human body is arranged for movement and growth. When the tendons, nerves, muscles and bones are held together properly, the body can function powerfully. If any of the parts are missing or injured, the body loses its ability to function.
It is Christ who makes all the body parts fit together perfectly; He holds us together. Under this structure, no one is idle. Everyone is valuable. None are overworked. Everyone contributes. When collaboration like this happens, it’s followed by individual growth and corporate flourishing. That is God’s design for His people.
The company we keep matters.
I think we are tempted to find homogeneous groups of people because they feel safe and comfortable. But when we do this we miss out on the full functioning of a diverse body. Our blind spots, weakness, prejudices, and shortcomings will remain. But when we are united in Christ with all our differences, we experience diversity, build a thriving community, learn from each other, and benefit from each other’s strengths, while covering each other’s weaknesses.
Sterling is building his team at University of Denver. And you and I are building our teams right here where God has placed us – in our churches, communities, businesses, and friend groups. God works and moves powerfully through us when we are united. Our differences are what strengthens us to do more than what we could do on our own. Let’s live out God’s design for us, His people.
We need each other.
You’re invited to our first Joy of It Benefit! Gather with us on October 22nd so we can accomplish more. Check out the video for more details. We have a $20,000 match!