It was last fall when I started to wonder, almost subconsciously, if Around the Table, the podcast Maggie and I had produced since August 2014, was nearing its natural conclusion. It’s hard to say what “natural” is for a project with no end date. As it turns out, that date is today. We’ve made the show we envisioned, with ups and downs along the way, for nearly three years, and it’s time to move on.
While I long to point to some list of tangible goals achieved to mark this 33 month experiment as an unequivocal success, it’s not that simple. The most beautiful and enduring fruit of the show isn’t a number or a milestone; it’s difficult to even put into words. But I’ll try.
What I’ll cherish most from the hours upon hours invested into this show are what it taught me about God, people, and myself. As is so often the case, God was working to change my character and draw me to Him while I had my eye on some other agenda. While I wrung my hands and begged him to help me meet MY objectives, He kept pointing me toward what He actually wanted me to see.
So what did that look like?
It looked like facing up to the pride of perfectionism, and watching God dismantle that pride piece by piece and train me in humility.
It looked like God prying my hands, desperate for control, open – to fill them with manna daily, to show me again and again that His ways are higher, that His provision is better.
It looked like falling short of how I envisioned myself — as a friend, partner, creative worker, and believer — often enough that I learned to embrace my weakness and neediness where I had once tried to outrun them.
It looked like wading through difficult conversations and uneasily resolved conflict.
It looked like learning to separate what I produce from my self-worth.
It looked like learning the discipline of creative work, when inspiration was nowhere to be found and a deadline loomed.
It looked like learning there will never be enough recognition or markers of success to forge an identity or feed the insecure, insatiable ego. Identity is something you’re given, not something you earn. Toiling hands out to prove themselves are striving after wind, crushed by the weight of unmet expectations; hands open to receive a God-given identity are filled with abundant life, and a light burden.
It looked like a thousand conversations about mission and identity and calling and social media and sacrificial love …and those were the off air conversations doing this work prompted, not to mention the hundreds of recorded conversations, which I deeply value. Not a minute feels wasted.
I also cherish all the people this podcast connected me to — listeners, fellow podcasters, graphic designers, far away friends, authors — and Maggie, my co-host, who I’ve had the gift of sharing life with weekly even though we’ve lived in different cities for two years now.
As our last episode airs today, I feel sad and relieved and peaceful and nostalgic – but mostly grateful. While this particular project is coming to a close, God’s work in me is not. I’m folding my hands for a moment, waiting with hope to see how He’ll fill them next.
Thank you to everyone who’s listened and offered encouragement these past years! I’m forever grateful. To listen to our last episode, and hear what’s next for each of us, head here.