Sometimes I have a hard time in prayer. Not that praying itself is hard, but sometimes it feels like the things I deal with are either way too massive in my head or feel incredibly small. I want to pray that I see the doors as God opens them and that I follow after the path that I know I have been called into, but it just feels so big and so unknown. It’s not specific, there’s not always a yes or no answer needed for clarity. Then, there are the little things, bumps in the road that happen daily, and there is always a moment of, “does God really care about the small stuff?”
Over the past year there have been massive prayers that many of us have had. Prayers over safety, healing of loved ones, and figuring out how to provide. There have also been small things that we deal with, that sometimes give us a guilt factor of wondering if compared to the pandemic, I should even be coming to God about this.
Some days are harder than others. For each of us, we go through seasons that often bring change, and the change doesn’t always feel great. There are times when we have been pushed into a new unknown, but all we want to do is head back to what is comfortable. The hard part is, without moving forward, there is no growth. I know for me, I get so caught up in the future and wanting to be in the place where I feel like I’ll have “made it,” that I forget the immediate and the opportunities to love other where I am. Last week I talked about having the reaction of love with others, but today I want to talk about loving yourself.
Life gets really tough sometimes. There are days were you just can’t take it anymore. I’ve had a lot of time to think, just like many of you have during this time of social distancing, and I’ve thought about the events that have led me to where I am now. Looking back, I’ll be honest, there have been a ton of times where I wanted to quit. To just give up and let go. In high school, I knew God was calling me to be a pastor, it’s the clearest voice I have heard. I had a passion to help people and a passion to help young people especially step into who God made them to be. From that moment I felt very weird, I am still so passionate about it, but when I have pursued it, I get push back.
Maybe you have been met with similar pushbacks, you might not have enough experience, might be too young or too old in the eyes of the person in charge, or maybe you’ve been told you don’t have the right x-factor or cool enough. I’ve faced these exact same challenges, but in it, god has been with me. He always reminds me:
Never give up.
I love jumping into the pool. There are different kinds of people, those who gradually ease their way in, those who test the water before deciding to go in or not, and then there’s me, diving in like a hooligan. My thought process is, if it’s cold, might as well get used to it quick and have fun while doing it than nothing. I hate long buildups. Danielle and I recently went on a roller coaster, it spun you all around, was really tall, and very very fast. My dearest Danielle loves adrenaline, and I enjoy roller coasters, the thing is, the waiting kills me. The lines always crawl and, in my head, I build it up to be worse than I know it is. What if I die? No one has ever died before, but what if I’m the sucker who kicks the bucket this time? What if my glasses fly off? I know physics literally says that they will stay on my head because of the force, but what if I defy physics? I have the best time when I just jump into it, and not allow room to worry.
My favorite quote from the great theologian and philosopher, Lemony Snicket, is, “Do the scary thing first, and get scared later.”
I think we need to live like this in all things, especially as we step into our calling.
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”
I’ve been feeling angry recently. Not at a person or a certain event, just a general anger that has been bubbling underneath the surface. I’ve been frustrated with my plan, and that’s the root of it, my plan. It might be easy to miss what I mean, but it’s the truth. I sometimes fall back onto my plan, what I think is best for the current state of my life and my life moving forward. Things aren’t unfolding the way I would want it to, and that’s frustrating, but I need to redirect my focus. I’ve been focusing on the things that have or have not yet happened to me, and how that doesn’t fit in with the way I wanted my story to play out. The truth is, there is a mad titan messing with my head, telling me it’s all about me, I need to know the battle plan of the enemy, and I need to remember that there is a God bigger than my faults who knows my name. What I just referenced was what I have been writing on for the past month. I’ve been writing it because I believed it’s what you, dear reader, needed to hear. What I have come to realize is that it wasn’t simply just for you, but for me as well.
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.
“So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude.”
Everything is rooted in one thing. Our roots formulate our ideas, our passions, and our desires for the future. Each of us has our foundation built on something. So what are you rooted in? What drives you, pushes you forward, causes you to think about it all the time? I think many of us want to have our roots growing in the presence of God, but we fear actually giving up control. So our roots stay in our own power. Sure for a time they seem to be growing well, but eventually we will find that we become dead inside. We put on our good face and try to make it on our own, but once we have a chance to be alone we feel the hurt rush in. We feel weak because we are weak; our foundation is rooted in the wrong source. I’ve been thinking about this because before I can go and do anything I need to make sure my roots are growing in the right place. I think about this because I never want to feel dead again, I never want to rest on my own power because my strength is weak. I’ve been thinking about this because I had remembered the time I had Lawrence the cactus.
One of the biggest questions people ask is, what is my purpose? This question drives us, causes us to move towards what we want to attain. We are unique people designed for more than simply existing. We are unique people, created by God, with a purpose. Our purpose is to love God with everything that we are and treat other the way we would want to be treated. Last week I wrote a post about this idea, but now we are left with a new question, what now? We have the broad idea, an outline for how we should live our life, but how can we truly narrow down the way that our unique talents can be used to grow the kingdom? You see, there is an idea that I have been think about and kicking around in my head (not physically, that would be kinda nuts), it’s the idea of being dedicated. This past Sunday was baby dedication Sunday at my home church of Daystar. It is always a cool thing to experience, parents take a class to think about what they will do to help their child grow spiritually, and choosing verses that they want to pray over their child and write a letter to them as a prayer for their future. As I sat in service I was struck by the word of dedication. The definition of the word is, the quality of being committed to a task or purpose. This struck me, and inspired me to dive into the quality of being dedicated to a purpose.