I am not the only one who wonders and wanders.
I am not the only one seeking the right Way, yet always seeming to stay in place.
I am not the only one who grows impatient and desires change.
Sometimes, I feel like a broken record; an old piece of technology that’s stuck in the past and can’t just move forward to the end or at least to the climax or the next song.
In me, comfort is king and discomfort doesn’t come easily. I could step outside my comfort zone if asked or prevailed upon, but rarely is there that motivation within myself. So, when I am asked to be involved in ministry in some way, I usually jump at the chance, trusting that God must have blessed me with that opportunity… As I look at that philosophy now, it reminds me of the classic dating philosophy; the girl has to wait for the boy to ask her out. In essence, she does not take direct initiative. Oh, she can give hints, but the guy is the one who must run with those hints and actually ask her out and take her out on a date.
I realize that waiting for God to provide a ministry opportunity is a little different than a girl waiting for a guy to ask her out, and yet that is exactly how my relationship with God has worked thus far.
Rarely have I taken initiative and chosen a ministry simply because I felt led to and not just because I was asked to.
One such rare instance was when I decided to go on a mission trip to India.
In the spring of 2014, I decided I would go on a mission trip during the summer; after I graduated college and before I entered my career. I chose India, because I had friends who had gone before and were going again that summer. A pastor from India also spoke at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting and he shared on the topic of taking steps of faith. For the longest time up to that point, I had been asking God for the courage to take a step of faith, to go outside my comfort zone and step onto the waves; having nothing to keep me from falling but my Savior’s arms.
Well, I took that leap, was accepted onto the mission team, and paid my way to go overseas.
Almost every day that my team was in India, the pastors or the other brothers and sisters we worked with would ask us when we planned to come back to India. While I was there, God placed a desire in my heart to minister in my home country; to be a light for Christ in the United States. I expressed that burning desire, and was greeted with a little bit of disappointment, but still a persistent hope that God would bring me back to India someday.
I am still in the United States and no trip to India has been planned, but my prayers to take steps of faith continue to persist. So much of the time, it feels like I am sitting on my hands, dragging my heels, and being reluctant to do anything that would take me outside my comfort zone. I don’t want to be the lazy servant or the woman who did not bring extra lamp oil. I want to use my gifts to the full profit and glory of my King and I want to be ready to meet Him when He comes.
Now that I think of it, there was also one more instance where I took a step of faith, but even that step was based on inspiration from God.
In the summer of 2014, after I graduated from college, I attended Leadership Training Camp (LTC), which takes place every year before the regular camps at Kansas Bible Camp (KBC) begin. During that week, kids and young adults are taught how to do basic maintenance and how to share the Gospel.
On Tuesday of that week, I was sitting on a third story fire escape, facing west and admiring how the setting Sun reflected on the cotton floating in the breeze. Pretty soon, a solitary bird also got my attention. It seemed to be flitting about fairly close to me; flying from the ground to a gutter next to the fire escape and then back down to the ground. As I observed that little bird, I asked God what He could teach me through it. After I prayed, I waited and listened, and I heard the crying of baby birds. I had no idea where they were, but I decided to step all the way down the fire escape. When I reached the bottom, that bird I had been watching flew right underneath where I had been sitting to feed her little babies. If I had not stepped down, then her babies would have still been crying and she would never be able to reach them. From that little bird, I learned the value of humility and submitting to another role in ministry. In that bird, I saw the call to step down from counseling (dorm leading) to allow others to grow through being counselors.
At the time, I didn’t know how to fulfill whatever my new role would be, so I spoke with the staff leader and told him how I felt led to step down from counseling in order to allow the younger generation to grow. He responded with a huge smile, because he had been looking for someone to work as a counselor mom for the next two weeks. The woman who usually served as counselor mom had to be gone for two weeks and she didn’t know who could take her place. Before I knew the need, or exactly what I was called to do, God placed a desire in my heart and led me right where I needed to be.
Almost three years have passed since my mission trip to India and being a counselor mom, and I feel like I have taken no significant steps of faith since then. I accepted my current job, because it was offered to me. I have helped lead worship on a few occasions, because I was asked. And the same goes for helping with Sunday school and working on the church bulletin. Truly, I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given to serve my King, but they have always been prevailed upon me. I don’t think faith is supposed to be just waiting for opportunities to come. A part of faith is stepping out onto the waves, running to meet the Father, or at least preparing to step through once the door opens.
I am not saying that I will be going back to India or that I will be a counselor mom again, but God may have an entirely different plan for my future than my current designs of comfort would allow. Perhaps Jesus is calling me into a different career, a different city, a different church, or a different country. I don’t know what His plans are, but I want to be prepared and willing, and I want to be able to take initiative if I feel His leading.
Dear Jesus, open my eyes and open my heart to Your teaching and leading. I want to go where You are and I want to stay where You stay. I have made a lot of mistakes on this journey to know You more, but I pray that you would use even my mistakes for the glory of Your name. May it be that what I have learned and experienced brings fruit and value into the work You have planned for me. I also realize that I am not in this boat alone. So many of Your children, and even those who don’t yet know You, desire to know what to do with their lives and what direction to take. I pray that You would give us guidance, even if it comes from the humblest of things. And most of all, give us courage to take the leap and trust that Your arms are strong enough to hold us and carry us through whatever challenges we may face. Amen and Amen.
O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I rest and when I rise, You understand my thought afar off.
Thou observe my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.
There is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, You know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before, and lay Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
Whither shall I go from Your Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there. If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall Your hand lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me;” even the night shall be light about me.
Yea, the darkness hides not from You; but the night shines as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to You.
For You have possessed my reins: You have covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made, marvellous are Your works, and that my soul knows well.
My substance was not hid from You when I was made in secret and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect; and in Your book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with You…
Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – Psalm 139:1-19,23-24
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