I don’t need another CD and coffee mug. I need community.
We’ve all done it at one time or another. That faint smile we flash at a passerby, blind to their neediness or story because we’re trying to manage our own. Sometimes it’s because we’re preoccupied. Other times, we’re secretly falling apart on the inside. We long for a place to connect; to be real; to let down the pretense and be accepted for who we truly are. But our pride fights the idea of being vulnerable, and past scars are angry prison bars, discouraging our desire to connect or trust again. So, we drift. We show up, force a smile, and kid ourselves that we have no need to be in community.
If you’ve never experienced this you lead a rare life. For David & Lindsy Fisher, traveling on the dead end street of disconnect led to a place of healing and passion – and a new redirect.
Lindsy smiled as she shared her background with me. “My parents began going to a Christian church when I was around 10 years old, and I accepted the Lord shortly afterwards at a VBS program. All throughout Middle school and High school I was a pretty "good kid.” I was very involved in church and youth group, but often struggled with people-pleasing and feeling good enough about myself. I knew in my head God loved me, but had a hard time feeling it in my heart.”
Lindsy continued, telling of her struggles even while a student at Cedarville. “I struggled with my faith, going through times of depression and anxiety and wondering why God would allow it. At times I got "Bible answers" from people that were discouraging to me because I was hurting. I knew in my head, but didn't always feel it. As I have grown closer to the Lord, He has healed a lot of this and shown me His unconditional love is not affected by how I perform.”
David shared, “I grew up in a Christian home and was saved at a very young age of 5 with my Mother. I attended a Christian school and found that my faith during my teenage years was more given to me than it was my own.
Attending Cedarville, I met Lindsy and we were married in 2004. Through the huge responsibilities of marriage, God began to strengthen my faith in my early adult years, showing me that I needed to depend on Him as a husband. However, I still struggled for control and the desire to have a handle on all the details of my life."
That’s the back-story; the hidden stuff nobody outwardly sees; the type of struggles each of us assumes we alone experience. And with these burdens we show up on a given Sunday morning, hoping and praying for real answers; for the load to be less weighty; or for meaningful exchanges with others.
And we leave empty handed.
Not because we didn’t desire to connect, but because we were trapped in our own prisons, and needed help finding a way out.
If I were trite, I would insert the fact that we have a “Help Desk,” and tightly wrap up this article. But that’s not where this is going. Both David and Lindsy revealed how they had grown up in a “masked” Christianity where people avoided saying the hard things. It seemed unauthentic to them, or moderately authentic at best.
In their searching, David & Lindsy found themselves drifting in and out of Apex for about two years before finally being able to connect. Lindsy had a heart for community, but David had still been shaking off the shackles, and wasn’t on the same page as his wife. He smiled and revealed, “I was guilty of complacency.”
Lindsy shared how God had to free her own heart from past wounds of loneliness. “I had a sense of idolatry in relationships and didn’t realize it,” she offered.
Desiring to find a place to serve together, David and Lindsy joined Frontline. But they soon found they wanted more “eyeball” time with people than just uttering a brief greeting or handing out a program, and soon found themselves serving at the Help Desk. Little did they know it would draw, unite, and grow them even more as a couple. David, who is good with details, can readily find answers to the question at hand, while Lindsy is good at seeing emotion.
“We’re both first borns,” David shared candidly, “and although we have the desire to control and fix things, we realize we’re just here to serve as God’s tool. It’s like God tells me ‘Your job is to just trust Me for an hour and a half, and love people’.” David paused, and Lindsy picked up to further his thought. “One week I was feeling beat up and wondering what kind of help I could be to anyone that day. If I didn’t know an answer, it hit an insecurity in me, which was pride. God used that to show me it’s not about me.”
David paused, searching for the right words. “A lot of people come from churchy backgrounds where they don’t have authenticity. If they’ve been to other churches, often the help desk is just an information desk. I don’t need another CD and coffee mug. I need community. Three times out of four, people stop by because they want connection.” He took a brief look around, “Perhaps this should be called ‘The Connection Desk’ rather than the ‘Help Desk.’
On a given Sunday you may see David & Lindsy at what they lovingly call the “Connection Desk,” willing and ready to love and serve others who are yearning to step out of their own prisons of disconnect in order to redirect.
Author: Jackie Perseghetti
Photographer: Hilary Tebo