“What does health look like?” a church leader asked me the other day while I was sipping a chai tea latte at a local coffee shop across the table from him. We were reflecting together on the past year; a year that has been quite trying for our faith community.
“I know it’s not the yeast of dissension and division on the rise all around us,” I replied, “but I do know spreading the yeast of Jesus is healthy and good.”
What is the yeast of Jesus? It’s an open armed welcoming invitation into the kingdom of God in and through Jesus. It’s a culture of walking with Jesus, connected to the source of all goodness. It’s a culture of belonging and togetherness. It’s a culture of acceptance and forgiveness. It’s a culture of empowerment to use our giftings to build up the body of Christ. It’s a culture of encouragement to live into and out of whom God created us to be in Him to fulfill our callings.
So then, what’s my role in cultivating the yeast of Jesus? One answer to this question is to be steeped in Jesus like a tea bag in a cup of boiling water being transformed into his likeness day by day. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” it tells us in Romans 12:2. Being steeped in Jesus is to be with Him. Most refer to intentional time of transformational connection to Jesus as spiritual practices or sacred rhythms. Another simple word for it is simply habit. Habits such as silence & solitude, studying God’s Word, mentoring, and centering prayer reset our default settings of our framework of being to a more and more like Jesus setting over time.
All this seemed straightforward and logical until I was presented with the concept of self-awareness as a habit of healthy spiritual practice. Huh?! How in the world is there a connection? I started digging into an inward journey of discovery of who God uniquely designed me to be and passages like Romans 12:3-8 exhorting us to use our giftings started to become more and more in focus. I can’t steward my gifts for the kingdom if I’m not self-aware! Clarity of purpose came with pursuing some explorative questions: What is my personality type? What are the tendencies of folks who share a similar personality? What is my default tendency in stress or unhealth? What are my giftings? What am I passionate about? What hinders me from living into who I am in Christ? Lord, what is my calling? How is how I’m wired connected to my passions, my giftings, and the needs around me? Pondering and reflecting on such questions is where I discovered my sweet spot aligning into focus what it looks like for me to purposefully spread the yeast of Jesus allowing me to live out Ephesians 4:1, “Live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”
As self-awareness has arisen in me, an awareness of others has come into view as well. It has sunk in that not only have I become self-aware of who I am, I have grown to see the beauty of how God wired others to be, which opens me to love from understanding and compassion with realistic expectations.
Cultivating the yeast of Jesus is healthy and good. And what’s the fruit yielded? Nearness to Jesus, growing the kingdom and spreading God’s love.
Jen Binford, Coach