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Putting Your Whole Self In

We did the hokey-pokey during church on Sunday. Most of the congregation was in the aisles putting their right hand in, their right hand out and doing the hokey-pokey. While I remember doing it in school and on the playground, mostly doing the hokey-pokey reminds of how little control I had over my ice skates or roller skates.

I could "turn myself around" but I wasn't very good at stopping.

The theme of the sermon was "Put your whole self in." Put your whole self in to whatever you are doing. Childbirth, parenthood, work, church.

One of my Bible readings this week was from the book of Acts. Paul was being warned not to go to Jerusalem where the authorities were waiting to arrest him.

You yourselves know how I lived among you the entire time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears, enduring the trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews. I did not shrink from doing anything helpful, proclaiming the message to you and teaching you publicly and from house to house, as I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus. And now, as a captive to the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and persecutions are waiting for me. But I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:18-24

Paul put his whole self in. Overnight he went from being someone who persecuted the new Christians to being Christ's biggest cheerleader. That was what he dedicated the rest of life to. It wasn't an always an easy life. He was imprisoned. He was rejected. He was known to complain, but he never wavered from his purpose. He put his whole self in.

It's hard not to put your whole self in for something like motherhood, though putting yourself out everyone once in a while is a pleasant break. Marriage should be a whole-self-in kind of thing too, but it's easy to go on autopilot. You can put your whole self in to your job, but the job threatens to take over your life.

Those are the big, massive things in life where we have to put our whole selves in, at least once in a while.

But there are little instances of putting your whole self in that can be incredible and invigorating. Skydiving. Once you're on the plane there is no turning back. Volunteering. There can be a thrill and satisfaction from volunteering that can be hard to step back from. Hobbies. Whatever your hobby, there is an incredible satisfaction that you don't want to step back from.

St. Stephen's is getting ready to step into a new era. We’ll be focusing on being in the community, meeting the people where they are. And we'll need everyone to put their whole selves in to support and nurture our future. It will be incredible and invigorating.

- Ann Warner

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