This past summer has been absolutely wild. I’ve finished school, gone to an amazing camp with Kids, been able to serve on a mission trip, and had God give me a vision for my city. Not only that, but more opportunities are coming up over the next few months. I have been able to truly feel the fullness of God’s faith in me. I’ve been looking back and am being blown away at how God has been faithful to me in my life. My church is in a season of prayer called, 21 days of prayer. We are able to come together and pray each morning at 6 am so we can encounter God and pray over our lives. During this time, God has brought this one word up over and over again in my heart, faithful. Not just faithful, but faithFULL. Yes, I know that isn’t how you spell it, but I accidentally misspelled in my journal (don’t judge, we all fall short). As I looked over it, it made me realize the truth in that, I am full in faith because God has continually shown up and radically altered my life in the most incredible ways. God uses me, even when I fear that I’ll never be used, God never gives up on me. The thing is, God never gives up on you either.
“And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.”
This new season in my life has become very strange. For the first time in a very long while, I have a direction about where my life is headed. I know it sounds odd, but I have a better idea of what the destination is starting to look like. If you’ve been reading for a while now (thanks!) you know that I have often struggled about the future because it seems like there was no end in sight. It’s not just something I struggle with, but one that many have to face. We are told at young ages to have our lives planned out, but when things don’t go as planned, we freak. We ask ourselves questions as to why this happens, and then we start to look at ourselves. We don’t look at the good about us or the opportunity God can bring, we often turn inward and start to believe that there is something wrong with us. We start to look at the success of others, the nice job, the young couple who just got married, that cool guy who travels the world on social media; it’s easy to look at others and feel like we aren’t worthy. The truth is, we are made worthy.
This past week has been amazing. I was able to go on my second mission trip after my adventures with camp KidJam (See previous weeks’ post), and spend time with some amazing high schoolers. I’m actually starting to write this post on the van ride back because I can barely contain the way God spoke to me. Throughout the trip, the Holy Spirit spoke to me in one of the most visceral ways, so close I tasted it, it infected every fiber of my being. I love the next generation. If you’ve been reading for a while you know this and if you’ve ever met me you might be annoyed by how passionate I am about it. It’s all I think about. It’s the thing I pray for. It’s the reason I am pursuing this life of full time ministry to empower leaders and lead the next generation to the awakening that is on the cusp of exploding into our world. I had a picture of what and where God wants me to be, and I am confident in the Spirit’s anointing on my life. I was called to a city I wanted to leave and a place where I never expected to build. Maybe I’m talking too much or maybe I shouldn’t share, but I am confident in this anointing and I am confident in the way that the Holy Spirit pursued my heart.
This past week I had the awesome opportunity to go to Camp Kidjam as a leader for my church. I love camp. There really is nothing quite like it. Being out of your home in a new place with a group of kids and being able to share the love of Jesus with them. Going into camp I was really praying for my group of four, fourth and fifth grade boys that I would be leading a small group with over the days of being there. I always want to be intentional with the relationships I am in, so I was excited for what God was going to teach and show them. What I hadn’t fully realized was that God wanted to teach and show me some things about him and about my calling into full time ministry. Funny how that can happen isn’t it? We get so engrossed in other people that we forget about what we ourselves can learn. I was so focused on what they would learn, but God wanted to teach me as well. In our leader devotionals, the first day spoke to the fact that God has something for us not just for the kids you were leading. God showed me something very important, something that each of us can apply in our lives.
“My brothers and sisters, you were chosen to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to live under the power of sin. Instead, serve one another in love.”
By the time you are reading this I will be on a van driving to camp Kidjam with a group of elementary students ready to have an awesome week of camp. My life recently has become very packed with lots to do. I’m finishing up my last online course for university, I get to go on two weeks of different camps as a leader, and I am in the continual journey of figuring out the next steps in life. In the midst of trying to figure life out, serve day just happened. It is such a great reminder of reaching out to serve the people in our community and to share the name of Jesus. If you aren’t familiar with serve day, it is a day where churches from all over the country have their small groups go out and serve their city. It is one of my favorite things about my church. There were so many groups doing so many different projects all over the city, it was such an empowering thing to see, and I wanted to share some things God taught me about serving others.
I’ve been thinking a lot about identity recently. Who we are. What makes us the individuals that we are. I just took a long series about being a misfit and what that means, but during the time of writing that series, I’ve been struggling with my identity. Where do I belong and what is my place? These have been questions running through my head. It’s difficult to understand that you are different, yet wonder who you truly are. At the same time, I know who I am, we all do. God tells us that he has made us in his image, so our identity is that we are children of the king, why then is it so hard to accept our identity? I have breakfast with my dad each week, and one morning I was telling him that I felt this way. That I was struggling with who I truly am, and because of that, my mind was trying to convince me that I shouldn’t expect anything big from God. I think many of us feel that way. We don’t “feel” special, even when people say we are, we start to feel like we are worthless rather than worthy. The thing is, feelings can be wrong, God isn’t. My dad told me that I should look in scripture and write out verses that claim who I am in Christ. I honestly blew it off, but then decided to sit down and write. Ephesians 2:10, 1 Peter 2:9, 1 Timothy 1:7, and Galatians 3:26 were all verses I found and wrote down in my bullet journal because they tell me who I am (Look em up, and write em down). After all of these my cynical brain kicked in, and started giving me doubt, then I read 1 Corinthians 3:16 which is so perfect in the way it spoke to my doubt. “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in you?”
I’ve really loved doing this series the past few weeks. I felt like God wanted me to speak to the misfits like me, people who feel like they don’t fit in, but have been made with purpose unlike anything else. I started writing it when I was dealing with my own fears and thoughts about feeling like I didn’t fit in with people. During this time, I felt like God wanted me to start reading through the first couple of books in the new testament, primarily focusing on the misfits that surrounded Jesus. What I saw was how people who never fit in were used, and they ushered in the church and spreading the gospel. It is quite an amazing thing to see, and it culminated in this last post which I am writing now. I want to talk about being a misfit in community with other misfits. The thing that’s hard about feeling like you don’t fit in, is the fact that many of us stop there and begin to believe there’s no place for us. The truth is, we can come together as misfits and be in community together, because when we do this, we become the church.
One of the hardest things I find in life is that when we feel like an outsider, we feel like that makes us unimportant. For a majority of my life I have thought like this, that because I wasn’t like the average dude, I was somehow less important. I think for many of us this becomes the way we view our lives. We see the lives others are living and ask ourselves why can’t we have that kind of story, why everything for everyone else seems to be so easy. We look at our lives and the choices we’ve made and wonder if we can ever make a difference, if our stories will ever leave a mark on the world around us. So many of us have made mistakes, don’t fit into the norms of the people around us, and we can feel like we are unimportant to creating an impact. I’m here to say that this is so not true, the enemy wants to twist your mind and make you believe that you aren’t important. You are important. Your life has value. The thing we must always remember is that God made you in his image, meaning that he is calling you to something greater. While you may be feeling like a misfit, this means that you are different and that you are pivotal to the greater picture.
Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the disciples. You know, the group of twelve that followed Jesus during his ministry. They were his closest group, the ones who after his death, would go out and begin the church and start the chain that would witness to the world. I’ve been thinking about them because they were all misfits. People that society deemed too far gone to make an impact. People that were looked down upon because they were not as religious as others of the time. People who Jesus called to follow him. I was thinking about this because it’s how we all feel. When we read these stories, we are the disciples, people who have made mistakes, that don’t often do what is expected of us for being a Christian, people who are called by God. One of the hardest aspects of being a Christ follower, is that not everyone is like us. While yes, I am meaning the world around us is different, but they are blind because we haven’t helped them see. The people I am talking about, is the people who have seen God yet let their relationship turn into a religion. It happens all the time, the church can become filled with people that want to improve their image rather than intentionality with their creator. That’s what I want to write about today, I want to write about being a misfit in the church.
I think many of us at one time or another have felt like an outsider. We find ourselves in seasons where we feel like we’re on our own, that we don’t have that community that we all so desperately need. We want to be the main character of our story, yet we feel like we fade into the background. That’s the feelings we get as a misfit, a person set apart from others. Lately, I’ve been feeling like a misfit. Recently graduated from university, on the hunt for ministry positions, and making it by working with an after-school program. I find myself in a transition period, and that can be hard. I feel God calling me to something more, and more and more I feel that Greensboro is not my end destination. It becomes a not very fun cycle to get into, to feel like you are called for more and that God has a plan, yet it doesn’t seem similar to those around you. In an age of social media, we see updates from those around us, giving us the idea that everyone has it all together and that you become the outsider because you don’t have your goals realized yet. As I have been feeling these feelings and thinking about what it means, God has reminded me of misfits from the bible. God used people who didn’t fit in to do a great work. I think he wants to use you too.