(When I first started working at Lillington Baptist Church I inherited a “youth website.” After revamping, I decided to try my hand at blogging. I have always been one who enjoys journaling, but this was my first attempt at a “ministry blog.” This entry, which came out a year after being on staff at Lillington, was uploaded in March 2014. The couple I mention below lived beside us in Fuquay-Varina, NC. They moved out one year before we did…we never did get that cup of coffee.)
So I have to personally come clean about something.
I’m a flake.
The Urban Dictionary defines the characteristics of a flake as “An unreliable person; someone who agrees to do something, but never follows through.”
Maybe not in every aspect of my life, but in more circumstances that I readily admit, this sums me up nicely. But before you decide that this might be just a problem that I’m struggling with, let me throw out a few scenarios for you.
Your friend calls you mid-week and talks about possibly going out Saturday night to catch a movie. You reply with “Sounds good. I’ll call you on Friday and we’ll set something up!” Sunday comes and not only have you not called your friend, but you’ve downloaded a bootleg copy of the movie you were supposed to have watched with them. Yikes.
You make plans with someone. The details are done and the activity is a go. The day of, a more attractive option comes along and you decide to go along with the latter. You receive (and most certainly do not answer) numerous phone calls and text…”Where R U @”. What makes it worse is that you Instagram the activity you ditched them for…
Sound familiar? It should. I’m willing to bet this situation has happened to you before. You either were doing the flaking or were on the receiving end of the flake.
Let me tell you why this has been on my frontal lobe recently. My wife Lauren and I moved into our current residency one year ago this month. Totally new to the area our social circles were limited to our jobs, my school, and long distance friendships. However within a few weeks we were approached by a young couple while walking our overly optimistic Golden Retriever, Fred. The conversation couldn’t have been more reassuring that we had lucked out on moving where we had. Not only was this couple close to us in age, but the husband was in ministry as well! We exchanged pleasantries and immediately made plans to all hang out together soon. Lauren envisioned couples dinners and I, the stereotypical early morning coffee shop convo’s about God and faith.
One year later…we have yet to accomplish this.
For one year we have yet to have dinner or a single cup of coffee with either of them. And it’s not as if both our respective camps haven’t tried. This summer we both couldn’t figure out a time to barbeque out on our new grills. I personally turned down an invitation to a rambunctious looking guys only Bible Study that was happening late one night. He and I have both committed on so many countless cups of undrunk coffee that I’m sure we’ve put some South American country’s coffee bean profit at a considerable loss. No one side is guilty. We both have been flakes.
Not to say that we haven’t had some interaction. When Lauren had I went to Michigan last summer they obliged our request to look after our place and feed our cats. We have done the favor of letting them use our garbage cans when theirs were over filled. We’ve even went to visit their church a couple of times. So perhaps I shouldn’t call us flakes per say, but we’re both definitely flakey.
At first glance what really bothered me about the situation is that we were both couples involved heavily in ministry so many things I automatically assumed we had in common. I looked forward to Lauren and me both being able to share our struggles and victories in life and within our faith.
What I was really doing was trying to hold these people to a higher standard because they were Christians. And before you respond with, “Well, Christians should hold each other to a higher standard,” let me say I agree to a point. Yet I also know that ALL Christians are totally flawed and broken.
This means they can make mistakes. This means they can mess up. This means they don’t have to live up to the expectations I personally have for them.
Peter, one of the pillars of the church and a man who was a personally friend of Jesus…classic flake. Denied Jesus even after Jesus told him it would happen.
And guess what? Through all that flakiness…Jesus still loved him.
You’re gonna flake. Not just on friends and family, but on Jesus.
Jesus wants you to know that’s okay. He still loves you.
For me that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t personally try and hold myself more accountable to the commitments I make. In fact if anything this has taught me to say “yes” less and be more authentic with what I say.
I’m hoping my inspiring honesty doesn’t come off contrived and most certainly not rude, but more reliable, dependable, and genuine.