Glenwood Springs, CO
Yes, I have something to say as a veteran director – of course I do, I always have something to say – and occasionally it might be worth a two cents.
My adventure began in 1985 in Aspen Colorado when I wasn’t looking for anything but a few hours out of the house. It’s been 27 astonishingly short years and here are few things I’d like to share with you:
My house is a mess. I was looking for a few hours out and a lot of mess can happen in 27 years without supervision!
God cares more about your motive than your mission. Don’t lie to yourself, check your motive every now and then and make any needed adjustments, it will do wonders for your job satisfaction. Remember you are loved with an everlasting love, even if you have ticked off every single member of your board of directors.
I pray “Jesus let me have real fellowship with you and let me be bothered by the lack of it.” Take communion, go to church, read your bible, be a part of a bible study, worship regularly. Don’t be religious about this list.
Be a poser; act just like Jesus. The more you know him the easier this will be.
Read Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Be inspired.
Watch great movies with themes of redemption. If you don’t know any I will send you a list.
Make a plan and be intentional, purposeful, and prayerful. Live with an expectation that God will use you, as Mother Teresa said “like a pencil in His hand” to accomplish exceedingly and abundantly more than you could ever ask or imagine, according to his resurrection power that is at work in you. Then watch him be glorified in the ministry and in Jesus all the way, through all generations, forever! AMEN
Celebrate and be thankful. Journal it, scrap book it or make a gratitude jar so you can return to those times and remember.
Look for joy and when you see it wallow in it.
Look for abundant life and live it.
Seek justice and mercy and grace with all your faculties.
Ask that the fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control be given to you in full measure. Repeat as needed.
Worship with abandon, whatever form that takes for you today. I grew up in a tradition that doesn’t clap, play guitars or raise our hands and many of the members immersed themselves in deep worship there. Today I’m toying with the idea of trying to wave around some colorful prayer flags in the privacy of my home where no one but God can see me and he will transform my uncoordinated and voluminous self into a beautiful act of worship. Or, maybe he will just laugh and say “bless her heart, she’s having fun and worshipping me and that’s what really matters” like a parent does when their kid sucks at the recital!
In your job a good day can mean life itself and a tough day can mean the sorrow of death. You don’t have to pretend it doesn’t get to you. In fact go ahead and rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Sometimes you will be doing both at the same time. It can make you feel a little crazy; just know that this is normal. Keep Kleenex in your office.
Make sure you have a swivel chair.
Do something that is really hard for you to do. Last year it was bungee jumping in New Zealand for me. This year it is writing. Considering I have severe acrophobia you would think the bungee jump was far more difficult than writing but it seems to be the writing is much, much harder, it isn’t nearly as heart stoppingly scary; but it is terribly frustrating as I’m not making much headway into the hard thing of 2012. I believe that the yield of the benefits from doing something hard is in direct proportion to the measure of the challenge. If you do something hard in an audacious X-games style you may rock your community, your family, yourself and your ministry in unimaginable ways!
Figure out what the people around you are good at and give them room to do it.
Take the not now’s and the no’s in stride. You may have some great ideas squelched that would have been a huge success on every level, trust God with your frustration and disappointment and He will work everything out for good.
Collect quotes, the witty and wise words of others are sometimes all I have to give.
If I tell you it’s been done before and didn’t work –listen up and consider it carefully and then decide if it’s worth another try. Just because it didn’t work before doesn’t mean it never will. Occasionally you will find that you can avoid some of the hard lessons because someone else has already messed up before and done it for you. I am the “Queen of fund-losing” I can’t even count how many “great ideas” I had that were disastrous! The very worst was the concert where two people showed up. Really, two people, oh it hurts to even think about! Money, we need it. Whatever you do to fundraise and whatever your bank account says just remember you are a trust funder.
On public speaking – I love/hate it. I love telling anyone who will listen to me about the redemptive work of our ministry and I hate getting up in front of people and attempting to say something coherent. Perhaps you feel the same way? I read 1 Corinthians 2:2-5 “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.”
And Deuteronomy 32:2-4 “Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants. I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! He is the Rock, his words are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.”
Mentors are a must, find some. Be a little pushy and act like the annoying little sister if you need to, to get our attention. It’s endearing. Share your doe-eyed enthusiasm with us; we need it to keep from becoming routine, stagnant and lame. We can share our experience with you and we might even have enough money to buy you lunch.
Use your vision, Henry Ford said “If I had asked people what they want, they would have said faster horses.”
Then again there’s the 1937 baby cage. It’s shown here with a nanny supervising a baby suspended in a wire cage attached to the outside of a high tenement block window. The cages were distributed to members of the Chelsea Baby Club in London who have no gardens, or qualms about putting a child in a box dangling over a busy street. Like I said, consider your ideas very carefully!
What do I want my legacy to be? Well, Gessele Field at Mile High has a nice ring to it. Ya right, like that’s not even a fantasy, I just want seats on the fifty yard line! Honestly, I am a part of great legacy, a community of ceaseless lovers. From the followers of Christ who have done onto the least of these for generations to the newest members of the family of man who are willing to bear witness to the sacred beautiful precious gift that is human life, I am glad to be a part of the movement that infuses this truth to our culture and our world until it is as obvious as the sun to everyone and we will experience fully the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. When I think about the offices I oversee I want a legacy to be one filled with the aroma of Christ, with an insatiable desire for abundant life to be ever present, for sadness and sorrow to be safe to express, for love and joy and laughter to linger long after I am gone, for everything good to be solid in this place and for the bowl of chocolates to never be empty.
Finally, here is a great quote to add to your quote collection. “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality…I still believe that we shall overcome.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Jan Gessele is the Executive Director of the Pregnancy Resource Center with offices in Glenwood Springs and Rifle Colorado. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She uses Cyndi to train volunteers using the Equipped to Serve manual because there is no reason to mess with perfection. Jan is praying for all 3 people that read this article and asks that you pray for her as well.