Have you ever felt it?
You know what I'm talking about.
Maybe you stole a piece of candy from the corner store. Or pushed a kid and made him fall down on the playground. Whatever it was, if you have any sort of conscience at all you've felt conviction.
It's not a very pretty thing, when it comes down to it. Who wants to feel bad for stealing 10 little wooden pegs from their kindergarten classroom 13 years later? (Yes, unfortunately that stories true and I'm the perpetrator of the crime). The worst part is, the pegs went with a pegboard, which I didn't have, so I couldn't even use them. To think I carried them around in my shoe all day for nothing! Okay, the actual worst part is the fact that I still feel guilty about it. Every time I open the box where they are stored, I think back to the day I took them, which I can oddly still remember. I feel convicted. Embarrassed Ashamed of who I am, and who I was in Kindergarten. I feel stupid; why didn't I realize I couldn't use the pegs anyways? Guilty, as if I stole a kid, not a peg.
It's probably pretty clear at this point that conviction's not a thing I enjoy feeling, and I'm willing to bet you don't like it either. As much as I hate feeling convicted though, I think it's debatable that it's one of the most important things we can feel.
Yes, I just admitted that'd I'd keep conviction around had I the choice.
I'm going to tell you another story of a time I was convicted, which is much more realistic (as it doesn't involve me stealing pegs-like seriously, who does that?) and is in fact pertinent to Tying Up Cancer.
There's this song about conviction by Matthew West called My Own Little World. (hit up that link it's a good song). If you follow my blog (and I love you if you do) then you know that I seriously enjoy Matthew West. Now that you've listened to him (for real, if you didn't yet click on that hyperlink yet do it now) you can understand why I think he's great (at least I hope) and why it's relevant to this post. I diverge.
If you've visited the "About Us" page on this website, you see the story of how Tying Up Cancer started. But that's not the actual story of why Tying Up Cancer exists. Before you start thinking a I'm a liar AND a stealer, let me clarify: the car ride home from my grandma's house did provide me the idea to sell friendship bracelets for a cause. The story's a bit more complicated, though. See, I had been feeling this overwhelming conviction for a while. The only way I can really explain it is that God had put it on my heart. It's not like I was living my life as a completely terrible person, never stopping to think about others and completely self-absorbed. But I was, in many ways, in my own little world: safe, comfortable, and protected. I didn't know anyone suffering from cancer, alcoholism, depression, addiction...you name it. Everything in my life was about as perfect as it can be in this imperfect world.
Yet I wasn't fulfilled, and I knew that it was because I wasn't doing anything for others. The Bible was all about giving everything up and helping others, but I wasn't doing any of that, and in my heart grew a passion to change something; I just didn't know what. The conviction grew, and I started to pray that God would give me a task to fulfill. I thought about different things I could do for a while, but no ideas seemed good enough. Then, the idea for Tying Up Cancer came around; but I was still hesitant. I spent days playing basketball and going over the logistics: where I could sell, how much I could sell bracelets for, if anyone would even buy them. I doubted the name, even, which I now think is pretty nifty (if I do say so myself!). Even once I decided to pursue the whole Tying Up Cancer gig, it was a year before I ever sold bracelets. That first year I continued to think about how I would sell them, make the website, and make and make and make and make bracelets. There really is no such thing as too many when it comes to this organization.
I think it's pretty obvious that I'm happy Tying Up Cancer exists. At times (okay, pretty frequently) it's overwhelming, but as we continue to expand and help patients in new ways (shout out to The Tuclet Initiative!) I realize how exciting it is to be a part of something that can really change someones' life. I realize, too, that even though it doesn't feel good to feel convicted, it's one of the few things that can make us change who we are.