Keep Hope Alive

As I type this I’m watching America’s Team (and also God’s favorite team), the Dallas Cowboys, play the AZ Cardinals. I have been a Cowboys fan from birth, through the good years (the 70s and 90s) and the lean years (the last few). This season I’ve had more reason to hope than ever, because they’re at 6-2 and the next few games are against pretty easy opponents (I just knocked on wood, because, football). I’m not sold on the idea that they’ll go all the way, but I do think they’ll get further into the playoffs than they have in the last few seasons.

You know those stupid internet quizzes that are supposed to predict the future or buttonhole your personality? Yeah, I’m a sucker for those, too. Yesterday I took one entitled “What Emotion Guides Your Life?” Since I’m in INTJ, I found the idea that there’s an emotion guiding my life intriguing, so I took it. Apparently the emotion guiding my life is HOPE. I LOLed at that because that the thing I’ve felt like I’m lacking most over the last couple of months.

I’m tired and in a pre-vacation malaise, so everything I say right now should be taken with a grain of salt, but I’m feeling stuck in almost every are of my life. Coupled with my coping skill of choice being CHANGE, LOTS OF CHANGE, NEED CHANGE, you can imagine how easy it is for me to lose some hope. When I’m in this place, my circumstances tend to dominate my view and I lose sight of the bigger picture of life, God, everything. I know in my head that God is bigger than my circumstances, but sometimes I need my circumstances to improve so I can be reminded of that. That doesn’t seem like an unreasonable request. I know. Shut up.

This weekend I started to get kind of sick of myself and my mopey-ness. Pretty sure that’s a word. I began to feel like God was telling me to go to church. I’ve been completely uninterested in finding a church for a long time because I feel like I’m still in the process of grieving the loss of my SF church and the idea of finding something similar seemed like trying to find a very cool needle in a very uncool haystack. But today I may have found that needle.

This morning I got my ass out of bed and visited a church downtown that I’d been intending to visit for almost the entire time I’ve lived here. God really wanted me to go, so I did. At first glance, it met most of my checklist. It’s progressive, yet biblically based, contemporary music, liturgical elements, extremely friendly, skews younger, but a mix of generations, casual, involved in the community and the preacher said “shit” during the sermon. I know! I thought the same thing. This exists? In Phoenix? I was amazed. It felt very good and home-like. I tend to rush into things, so I’m trying to measure my response, but this might be “the one.”

I always go into a new church service with a consultant hat on. Are the signs professional/helpful, does the physical environment reflect the personality and passion of the community, do they assume that I should already know what’s going on, or are they hospitable enough to explain things, etc. They met all of that. Everything I want a church to say to new people was said. I totally knew what to do at all times.

The great thing about this church is that they don’t need me at all. Not that there’s no opportunity for me to contribute, but rather, any contribution I would make would be a bonus. They’re not desperate. Desperate is so not cute. I don’t need to roll up my sleeves. I can ease in an contribute where necessary.

Today I have hope. Yeah, the Cowboys are behind the Cardinals, but they can still pull it out. I have some career stuff on the horizon. I’m about to take an amazing vacation. And I may have found a church. Everything will be alright in the end. And if it is not yet alright, it is not yet the end.

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