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Near my home there is a park. A favourite activity of mine is walking the trails among the tall West Coast trees. I am in awe every time. They reach so high into the sky, and I literally have to crank my neck back to see to the tops of them. Recently I was walking while pondering some complicated life stuff, and I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all. Looking around at all the trees I began to see them as representative of my anxious thoughts. My heart felt heavy as the dense forest surrounded me. It was as if I couldn't escape. My thoughts kept me captive as the trees reminded me of every little thing I had to do, everything I wanted to do, and those things which I had dropped the ball on. As I stood there, the weight of life bearing on me, my eyes stopped on one particular tree trunk. My eyes slowly started to move up the tree, up and up and up, until I could see the very tip of the top, reaching into the sky. I took a deep breathe and exhaling slowly I felt released of the burden I had been carrying. Seeing that tree top against the pure blue sky I knew that there was a way out, there was freedom, there was hope.

I know that the role of being a deacon requires a lot from you. I know that there are days when you feel like you are in the forest, isolated and anxious, surrounded by tasks that need to happen. I know that times will come when you are tired, and just want to escape your role. I also know that God is with you every moment. He invites us to stop staring at the trees, look up to him, and know that he will never give us more than we can bear. He is our Source and our Strength.

A lot is expected of office bearers. I don't want to minimize those roles at all, however, I want to acknowledge that none of us is perfect. This means you will not be the perfect deacon. You cannot be. And that is okay. Acknowledging your humanity in this role is healthy, as the sooner you stop trying to live into everyone's expectations you will be able to do what God is asking and calling you to do. Knowing that you'll make mistakes or forget things isn't me giving you a cop-out, or a get out of jail free card - I want to grant you the space to be yourself, and do your best, glorifying God to the best of your ability as you serve as a deacon.

Don't allow yourself to get bogged down in the tasks and functions of the deacon role. Live in the spirit of "deaconhood", faithfully responding to the needs that come along, and searching out the unique ways that your team can inspire the congregation and community show the love of God. Just because church A does "this certain thing" that works really well, doesn't mean that it's what your church needs to do. And if deacon A is using their gifts in this particular way doesn't mean that is how you need to be a deacon. There is diversity in the kingdom, and that is beautiful and worth celebrating! If you aren't looking up to God, but rather just trying at the trees of deacon functions, you will begin to feel like you're blocked in, without much hope for God moving. And since we know that God is moving, we might want to pray for eyes to see, ears to hear and the courage to move with Him.  


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