Faithful

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.

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Home

This past weekend was fantastic. I had a chance to be involved with our children’s ministry event called FX (family experience). I was able to help re-write the script and help with the production, but I was also able to be in different aspects of the night itself. From the many costume changes I went through to the getting out of breath from being a wacky game show host, I loved every aspect of it. The feeling after that night was hard to describe, but the best way I can quantify it was that it felt like home. The feeling of being home is a feeling that you are in a place where you belong. It’s a sense of peace and comfort, where you can feel safe and secure. It’s the feeling I get in the presence of God. I think that’s a beautiful thing. We feel at home when we enter into our passions because God has given us these passions, and he calls us homeward.

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Renewable Energy

We’re tired. Running around all the time, not standing still longer than a three minute video on your Facebook feed, and spending so much time pouring into others that we forget to fill ourselves. You see we all get tired. As leaders this can be dangerous, we have a duty, a responsibility towards those we lead to guide them. In your personal life, physical rest is vital to simply functioning as normal people. In our social lives it can make us not enjoy the moments in front of us. So, what do we do? The past two weeks I have been tired, but I found a source of renewable energy. Now before I continue, yes the title of this post may be a little deceiving. So if you came here thinking this was about the hot topic issue of finding renewable resources, hehe, I’m talking today about renewed energy that comes from Christ. The past two weeks I have been on a high school camp one week, and the next on an Elementary camp. After the camps I took a journey up to Virginia to see my brother-in-law graduate, and then participate on serve day with our church. It was a lot, I’m still catching up on sleep (ish). The past two weeks have been incredible and God has taught me so much in the midst of physical tiredness. In that mindset of needing energy each day, I had to come each morning and ask God to give me all that I need for that day to lead and serve others the way he wants me to. You see, God gives us all that we need when we abide in him, he is the source of our renewable energy.

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Learning to Rest in Times of Growth

Recently, my life has begun to move in a great pace with opportunity and success from hard work. It’s a great feeling to make an impact, to be using your talents and see the harvest that comes of it, but this can be dangerous. You may be saying to yourself, “Hold up, I thought you were describing things that are good? My answer to that is yes, it is good as well as a dangerous area.

Before I start confusing you, let me explain. I am currently in my second year of school at GTCC and will transfer to UNCG next semester. I am the youth intern at Daystar Church, assisting our Youth Pastor with behind the scenes planning and odd jobs that need attention. I am also Daystars Tap college ministries male community leader, essentially overseeing the small groups and empowering the leaders. I also lead a fourth and fifth grade small group on Sunday mornings in the Daystar Kids next gen ministry. I love everything that I am a part of, I am overjoyed to serve in such a great place, and I am thankful for my education.

None of these are inherently bad, but can be dangerous.

I have noticed recently that I am easily tired and often question if what I do is even worth it. This isn’t just a struggle that I have, but have seen people in my church and close family have these same issues. It’s difficult to pin point the main issue, and if you have been feeling similar lately, there is hope.

In times of busyness and growth in our lives, we take on more tasks and more responsibility. This is normal, but we must be careful, if we are not able to find rest we will fail in our mission. A term thrown around a lot in situations like this is known as, “burnout.” This can mean taking on more tasks than we can achieve, or forgetting to re-fill our spiritual tank.

If you want to accomplish anything, you must attack the problem preventing you from your goal.

Addressing the issue is not easy. Taking on more opportunities is a good thing, to a point, but once it consumes all of your time, this is the moment to re-evaluate what your mission is. Ask yourself why you keep taking on more responsibility, and yes it is perfectly fine to say no to some things. Rather than doing more, be the best at the little that you already have. Direct energy towards your ministry you have been called to, and cut out the things that cause you to be less effective in all areas. This is applicable to every area of life, whether it be in your ministry, job, or relationships with others. Move the mountain piece by piece, rather than attempting to lift it at once.

The next big problem that causes this idea of “burnout,” is the issue of doing it all by yourself. In modern American society, the theme is to be independent, but we need to be dependent to be effective. As believers, our strength does not come from us, but from our creator.

If we are not actively pursuing God in our personal life, we can accomplish nothing.

Spending time in the word, praying daily, and worship allow us to recharge when we lose strength. God allows us to find peace when life starts moving so fast, he provides us with all we need to be an effective leader in our lives. Without him, we are weak, but with him we are strong. He provides rest to us who are weary.

Now you may be thinking, “What exactly is rest?” Why I’m glad you asked, rest is a gift from God that comes in many forms. Sleep is a natural gift from God, and that’s incredibly important. Time with family is rest, these people are the closet in your life, and they know you and give you advice during the hardest times. One of the biggest ways we find rest is by doing the things we love, our passions and hobbies allow us to step back and find rest in the chaos of life.

For me, I enjoy writing, listening to music, drawing, and watching movies. These help me find rest, even when I may not have endless hours to devote to these. Even being able to spend a small bit of time doing these, I am able to have true rest and hear God speak to me. Your life may look different and you may have radically different interests, but whatever you are passionate about, find rest in pursuing them.

Life is crazy, I don’t think anyone will deny that, but we don’t go through it alone. Evaluate your priorities, remain in God’s presence, and pursue your passions. You will find rest in the chaos, the growth, and the unknown. God gives you the rest to carry on.

-Joshua Thomas