Sunday, April 19, 2009

#9 Things I Love

#9: Authority

God has been humbling me lately, showing me the limits of my so-called strength and wisdom. Here's an excerpt from part of that journey.


I started meeting with my first mentor the month I turned 18. She was in her mid 50's. She'd been married twice -- once before she became a Christian. She'd had an abortion. She knew life in a way I hadn't (and never wanted to). She modeled what it was like to love Jesus with all my heart.

Shortly thereafter, I started my career as a full-time musician. About a year into that process, I acquired another mentor -- a man in his late 40's. He'd been a musician for over 20 years, played nearly 40 instruments, and was loaded with theological insights. He modeled what it was like to love Jesus with all my mind.

My mentors have developed my faith to degrees that I cannot quantify. So... why did I start to feel so weak? My relationship with the Lord has been intimate and fulfilling... I've been growing via church and podcast sermons and books written by dynamic women of God... but I felt like I was starving...

Then I had an epiphany:

- I am a female (read: created to be led / Eph. 5:22-23).

- I am single (no husband to lead me).

- I run my own ministry, alone (i.e. not on a church staff). This accounts for about 60 hours of my week.

It's true that we're all under God's authority, but He designed us to submit to human authority as well. And while I'm under the authority of my dad and my pastor in a very real sense, it's not a personal, daily kind of authority. My ability to handle this reached its breaking point recently -- I needed more. I needed to soak up the lives of people who know God better than me and who have walked with Him longer. So I talked to my mentor, and she agreed to increase the number of times we meet and to bring her husband occasionally (to add another dimension). I set up a meeting with another older woman that I'd like to spend time with, too.

And suddenly, I started to feel safe again, strong again. Now, I hope, I am learning how to love God with all my strength. Somehow that must begin with realizing how very weak I am and that I must rely on Him even to give me the strength to love Him with.

I need weight above me. I crave godly authority. It allows me to rest. It strengthens me.

It's taboo to say this in modern America, but... I don't want to be in charge, and I don't care about independence. The authority structure is not something that man invented or even that God invented for mankind. It's something that has existed within the Holy Trinity for all eternity (I Cor 11:3), and we get to benefit from it.



shar said...

Oh man, Tara-Leigh. This is something that has definitely been weighing on me for a long time! I, too, am a single woman who is in a leadership position, and I feel like I constantly have people depending on me. I feel like I am being sucked dry because I have no mentors, very little accountability, yet tons of responsibility.

You hit it right on when you say "I don't want to be in charge, and I don't care about independence." Well, I do--or at least, I think I do, until I feel the weight of it pressing on me, and I understand that I wasn't meant to do things alone. That's the purpose of community; that's why there is structure and people of all different ages. So much goodness, yet we barely tap into all of it!

This post brought a lot of my feelings to the surface, feelings I couldn't really put into words before. So thanks, as always, for writing. :)

beth said...

Good word, TLC. Godly authority is such a good thing -- it's so easy to think it would just be a drag or maybe even oppressive, until we see it how it was intended in places like the Trinity or a godly relationship where people (for even a brief moment, by God's grace) get it right. This one is on my list, too. And I'm glad to read your words again.

Since the list is winding down, I know my name must be coming up pretty quickly. Give me a date and I'll make sure my people get you my latest head shot and CV in time. ;)

Anna Broadway said...

Very wise. Proud of you, girl! :)