Love The One You’re With

Posted by: Julie on Sunday, September 7th, 2008

img_0123.jpgLast week I took a ‘working vacation’ to Oklahoma.  Judge if you must, but when you love your job as much as I do, it’s difficult to to take a whole week away from your work.  So I spent part of the week without my laptop and BlackBerry (yikes!), and then the rest of the week I spent working down by the beautiful Arkansas River in Tulsa.  I love being in our office in Naperville, but it’s amazing how much work you can get done sometimes when you’re in a peaceful place like Oklahoma!

It was a wonderful time with friends and family.  I spent time with my brother at his college, had a surprise party with six of my best friends and their kids, spent time at the lake with old friends and co-workers, had some good eats with the folks, went to church at my home church, catered a wedding with some of my old crew out at a beautiful venue in south Tulsa, and got some work done by the river while eating a cheeseburger and chatting with Ron from the River Diner…. it was a wonderful time.

Most of you are probably not aware of the extent of it, but each time I come to Oklahoma I always dream of what it would be like to move back.  I miss my old jobs, I miss my old friends, I want to help my friends raise their new kids, I want to take on exciting new business ventures that arise with my old bosses, I want to purchase homes that come on the market for under $100K…. It’s hard not to think about it.  And especially during this past year in making a job transition that came with some challenges, I came pretty close a couple of times in Oklahoma this spring to signing a lease, accepting a job, closing on a house… I was weak sauce.

But something kinda crazy happened this time.  There wasn’t an ounce of dreaming within me focused on moving back.  It’s not at all that Oklahoma has gotten any less wonderful – probably the opposite!  I still love it dearly, it has very much made me a part of who I am today, and I have loving friends there that cannot be replaced by any others.  But now, I’m dreaming about new things….

I’m dreaming about this upcoming ministry year at Community….

and dreaming about new things we’re doing at each of our nine locations to grow each campus and grow each person….


and dreaming about figuring out our new strategy for recruiting leadership residents to plant reproducing churches with our NewThing networks…

and dreaming about this family that is considering getting baptized as a family at our Naperville campus in a few weeks…

and dreaming why people are generous to Community and why they are not and how we can connect with them better…

and dreaming about being a part of something bigger than simply a comfortable life in a comfortable city with comfortable friends and a comfortable job that relies completely on my own ability with no dependence upon God.

I titled this post, “Love The One You’re With.”  A friend of mine is reading a book by this title.  I’ve never read the book before, but I’m going to assume the basic premise of it is encouraging people in marriages to continue loving and being committed to the one they made the glorious covenant to be married to.  At first glance, this seems to imply a sort of regret or doubt about the commitment they made since they need a book to help them stay committed.  But in light of my recent trip to Oklahoma, I have a different take on it.  And I hope I feel the same way about my marriage someday.

To ‘love the one you’re with’ is simply a consistant, growing reinforcement of the mission you’ve committed yourself to.  I am committed to the mission of helping people find their way back to God  – and subsequently to help catalyze a movement of generosity so we can plant more reproducing churches and help more people find their way back to God.  That’s the hill I’ll die on, that’s what my heart breaks for, and that’s what I’m committed to.  Yes, I will one day commit to be a loving mom and a wonderful wife and raise a strong family, but it will still all occur within the context of this other commitment I’ve made.

And unfortunately the world wouldn’t be the world if it weren’t distracting to this mission.

So it is things like hearing that Community had more baptisms last month than we’ve ever had in our entire history…. and seeing an entire family with three generations in it get baptized at our Plainfield campus this morning…. and experiencing radical generosity in our families and communities like I’ve never seen before… that keep me fueled and energized to ‘love the One I’m with’ and continue on this mission.

Who’s with me?!

4 Responses to “Love The One You’re With”

DL Says:
September 7th, 2008 at 8:05 pm

You’ve sucked us into this thing. You better not be going anywhere! You’re definitiely in the right spot and needed here. We’re glad you like it here.

Shelley Says:
September 8th, 2008 at 6:41 pm

With you? I am sucked in, stapled, glued and ducktaped down… I love CCC so much, and hpftwbtG… My life is changed, because of Jesus, and CCC. And I truly believe that we are headed in the right direction, always moving, always improving, always getting closer to God.

I am glad you aren’t leaving, cuz I like having you around.

Em Johnson Says:
September 16th, 2008 at 9:45 pm

You betchya, lady!

Ed Bahler Says:
September 17th, 2008 at 9:58 pm


I don’t even go to CCC and you seem to draw me in as well! Thanks for your heart and passion. It inspires us all.

Isn’t it time for lunch again.


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