Popeye

A couple of years ago (ok probably more like 5 or 6), at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit Bill Hybels shared a message (and also a book he authored) called “Holy Discontent”.  It was so powerful that I still remember it all these years later despite the fact that I listen to 100’s of sermons every year (I am not exaggerating).

In it he talks about Popeye the great American hero.  Popeye would be in the midst of a situation doing everything he could do until he decided that he needed to pull out his secret weapon, spinach.  Before consuming a can of spinach, he would typically utter this phrase: “I stands, until I can’t stands no more.”  Hybels likens this to what he calls the “Holy Discontent.”  He then began to share about his discontent (for which I will substitute mine, not that I’m as cool as Bill Hybels, but it is always easier to convey your passion than someone else’s).

My “Holy Discontent” is seeing families and kids in situations that are not what God has designed.  I remember my first summer in ministry, I was the associate children’s pastor at a fairly large church directing a day camp for kids.  There was one girl in first grade who had a particularly hard week at camp.  She had random fits where she would lay down, crying and refuse to get up (even once in the middle of a skating rink).  This girl is a beautiful little girl who obviously had some fairly prominent baggage at the age of 6.  At the end of the week, we had a barbeque for the families of the kids who attended camp.  The mom and dad came separately and had a spat in the middle of it all.  I quickly surmised that they are divorced and it was not pretty.  This little girl had become a pawn in her parents’ divorce, no wonder she was having trouble at day camp, and she had these fits!

I remember another experience while I was still in college.  I was a counselor at the overnight camp for kids grades 3-6.  The theme for the camp was “Monster’s Inc.” and we talked all week about fear.  The last night of the camp, we invited the kids after chapel to come out to the camp fire and if they wanted to, they could grab a pine cone and name their fear and throw it into the fire, as if to get rid of their fear.  I expected kids to say things like, “I’m afraid of the dark” or “I’m afraid of spiders.”

What I saw shocked me.  Kids named huge fears that I do not think that kids should be carrying around with them.  They named fears like:

“I’m afraid my parents are going to get a divorce”

“I’m afraid for my brother who is going off to college next year.”

“I’m afraid of going to middle school.”

“I’m afraid of my uncle.”

“I’m afraid because my dad does not have a job.”

All that to say, my passion is to reach children and families.  I know that nothing short of the grace of God can help many of these situation, but I do my best to work with those who open themselves up to me to do what I can.  I’ve shared my “Holy Discontent” with you, what is yours?

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