The measure of who we are, is what we do with what we have. Vince Lombardi
So I’m an anaesthesiologist…and an introvert. It took me a little while to work out that an introvert-doctor’s dream job would be rendering her clients unconscious….but I got there in the end.
I’m also a minimalist. I like working in a visually-clean environment with a conservative colour-landscape of cream floors, green drapes and spotless silver steel. We call the Operating Room the “theatre” in the UK. (Grey’s Anatomy it ain’t….theatre it is.)
A secret, unobserved ecosystem where personalities loom large. It’s unsurprising that in a war-zone between life and death, sometimes F-bombs are dropped as tempers fray and frustration leaks. The heavy burden of responsibility temporarily bending people into shapes they would never otherwise choose. I have a curious affection for an ENT surgeon who insists on silence during his surgery. If this sacred code is broken he will dramatically hiss “sotto voce” (Italian for “soft voice”) at the offender.
Not all theatre is bad. Oftentimes it’s a tranquil healing pool from which the sick emerge with a new promise of life and hope.
I spend a lot of time looking at wounds. Those made intentionally by surgeons to access deeper territory and those made by the mishaps of life that surgeons fix. I spend a lot of time obsessing about hearts. Is the patient’s heart strong enough to withstand anaesthesia? Is the heart rate too slow? too fast? When you’re on the hamster wheel of being a doctor, there’s not a whole load of time to think about your own wounds and your own heart.
But God knows what I need.
God knows how to get me off the hamster wheel. God knows how to bring a broken healer and a Costa-Rican-Canadian prophetess together on a small island between England and France to nudge the status quo and drop an idea in my heart…..”a season of training and equipping” the prophetess said……”like an evening class?” I said……”like a ministry school” He said.
And so here I am in Raleigh, NC at the end of my first year of ministry school. There were obstacles to overcome to get here….and it took me 4 years….but despite all, I was propelled forward by my obsession with “the more of the Lord”. It seems to me that you live by the gospel you were originally sold. At the age of 9, I was sold a gospel of salvation; being “saved from my sin” and assured a place in heaven…….but somewhere along the line I’ve discovered that there is more….MUCH more….like living in RADICAL resurrection power and union with Christ and all that that means.
“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible!” Audrey Hepburn
So I came to Raleigh to run with champions who have that truth resonating in their DNA like a battle cry. I came to Raleigh to wrestle my giants (like PRIDE and REJECTION) to the ground and stamp on their heads. I came to Raleigh to discover who God REALLY is and who I REALLY am. I came to Raleigh to be loved and to learn to love.
So what DID I learn and what DID I discover?
If I was a tree and you cut me in half, the ring of this year would be a fat and complex one. It would say that God is comfortable with paradox, that He is good, that no-one has “theology” all sorted out, that the death and resurrection of Christ is solidly etched on the heart of eternity but the finer points of everything else are up for discussion!…. It would whisper that introverts struggle with church. The loudness of it, the crowdedness of it, the way that at the end of a Sunday morning service I rarely have the social/mental energy left to accept a lunch invitation or make connections. It would whisper that I’m not even sure I know what church should “look” like! It would whisper that Christian jargon bugs the heck out of me (but I find it interesting that many of our buzzwords relate to technology; downloads, upgrades, reading people’s mail)….It would sigh that I feel more broken than when I started, that I have more questions and fewer answers than when I first arrived…It would urge you to know that your biggest ministry is being YOU in the world….It would suggest that sometimes in life crawling on the ground, squeezing through the low gap in the fence to reach the treasure hidden in an ugly place is worth it….It would lament that I didn’t find my spouse and that if you tell me I’m married to Jesus, I’ll punch you in the face…and I’m disappointed I didn’t learn to deal with my anger better….It would smile that I really enjoyed my Godiva rewards card and getting a free piece of premium chocolate every month….It would opine that ALL of life is sacred!
Above all, it would assert that He is a wound-healing, heart-filling, good, glorious, kind and mysterious God; that He is completely committed to loving this daughter into the exquisitely finest version of herself.
*Read “Your Destiny: Unlocking the Impossible Promises of God“ by Ivan and Isabel Allum. The incredible couple who called me out to greatness.