Many times as we think about my life, my calling, my purpose, we have believed the individualistic lie from the enemy.
The question is usually phrased something like: “What is God’s purpose for me?” Or “What is God’s plan for my life?”
When I look to the Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, I simply do not see an answer to this question. Rather, I see something much greater.
Every person on the plant has an invitation into the mission of God.
His mission is simply to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). His mission is that His gospel would be proclaimed throughout the whole world until there is No Place Left. (Matthew 24:14; Romans 15:19, 23)
There is a simple way to discover what you love in this life.
And I’m not speaking of love in the way that you might love a hot dog. However, that does bring a story to mind...
When my sister was in 2nd grade she loved hot dogs. I mean really loved them. She even received a note home from school from her teacher. I vividly remember my mom asking her, “Did you eat hot dogs every day for lunch this last year?!” My sister responded, “On November 13th, I had a piece of pizza!" I couldn't help but laugh hysterically. She really had eaten hot dogs almost every day. She loved hot dogs!
The Lord stripped away a lot of the identity that I didn’t realize was keeping me from stepping into His identity for me. I truly realized that my time with Crossroads (where I had spent 6 years on summer staff and a year as a CDH intern), and college (a season that I loved and felt like God was using me in) had come to an end. In both of those places, I had influence. I had a platform and I had favor. And I had people. And yet, in the span of two years, I saw both of those chapters come to a close. And it rocked me.
Isaiah 43:18-19 “Remember not the former things not consider the things of old. Behold I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it.”
As women we tend to let our thoughts dictate our feelings and before long those feelings lead us into this false perception of reality. Fake or not, in that moment, it’s completely real and we respond accordingly. We keep our thoughts locked in on what should have, could have happened and then we get stuck there. We can’t see past what is surrounding us. I want us to look beyond our circumstances and begin to see what’s going on.
Beginning Thursday, August 11, 2016, a torrential downpour began in the areas surrounding Baton Rouge and Lafayette. The Washington Post noted that the "no-name storm" dumped three times as much rain on Louisiana as Hurricane Katrina.
It dropped the equivalent of 7.1 trillion gallons of water or enough to fill Lake Pontchartrain about four times. Specifically, this region occupies 140,000 residents, 107,000 of which were flooded including 40,000 homes at a 90 percent loss.
When I was a little girl I would often create elaborate stories to get out of trouble. It was an attempt to soften the punishment. It would be partially true but somehow a major turn of events would happen and it just seemed to make the story better just not necessarily believable.
There was this one time….
I grew up in a neighborhood full of boys. I had a few girls I would hang out with but the boys just seemed to have more fun. However on this particular morning my neighbor (a girl) and my little sister and I decided we were going to see what would happen when fire touches dry grass. I mean what could possibly go wrong?
I recently had a conversation with a friend about wells. We both live outside of cities, which means in order to have running water, our houses need wells. In order to create a well, a machine must be brought in to dig deep into the ground until it reaches the water source. Then, and only then, can we live in our houses. If the well is not there, we would not be able to live in the places we do.
I have also had several conversations recently about how to live for Jesus in our everyday lives. I spent my summer in South Carolina working at Crossroads Summer Camp. One question that seems to always come up is this: How do I keep following Jesus when I leave camp? I love this question because it tells me that a person wants to not simply make a decision, but become a disciple of Jesus Christ. Being a disciple requires the same thing that living outside the city requires: finding the source of Living Water deep beneath the surface. Then, and only then, can we live for Jesus in the places that we do.
Finding that deep source of peace, hope, and love is not an overnight venture. So, I want to leave you with some practical steps you can take to dig deep in your own life.
Why in the world do we fight against something we want to do? As I wrote this question I also asked myself why I often resist the very things I pray about, talk about and seek God’s guidance about. When I hear the word resistance my mind goes to working out because in that world it is a good thing; it builds your muscle and makes you stronger. Today I’m not talking about that type of resistance, I’m talking about the kind that is laced with disobedience, fear and thoughts that make your dreams, callings and steps to move forward become like concrete within our hearts.
The antonym for resistance is submission. We don’t like being told what to do or how to do it, but for some reason we allow our busy schedules, chaos, and secret sins to control our every move. Realigning our hearts to God’s heart requires a level of surrender, repentance and submission. There are no formulas or shortcuts to gain God’s grace or direction. It’s simply surrendering all you think should happen in your life to gain God’s intimacy no matter what the outcome is.
Over the span of seven weeks, we’ve seen nearly 5,000 students attend Crossroads Summer Camp. From July 4-8, 2016, more than 650 students participated in a special week, Go Week, designed provide both a fun camp experience and service-oriented projects for local organizations throughout Anderson and Greenville, SC.
Students served over 30 charities including Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, and Calvary Home for Children. Among these charities was a social service and welfare organization called You Are Not Alone.
I cannot say I am the most authoritative figure on this subject, although at 22 years old, I have made enough mistakes to learn a few very important lessons. The topic that pervades the lives of so many people my age, almost to the point of obsession, has another voice among the crowd: me. But my experience is not your experience, and I hope that my failures (and lessons learned) can bring about someone else's successes.
Like many others, I struggle with the fear of being alone. I'm talking about forever alone. Like, old man with a pet hermit crab as his only friend alone. You know those fears, the ones that say only a fool would want to end up with me. This, of course, comes from a misguided view of who God is. But He makes clear in the Gospel of John that He is my friend. Jesus also calls the Holy Spirit my comforter. In Him, I have someone who promises to never leave me nor forsake me! What more do I need?
Do you spend a lot of time dreaming about your life, wondering when Jesus is going to fulfill your dreams? I think about his plans for me when I go to sleep, wake up, when I’m driving, and sitting in the doctor’s office along with every other minute of the day. After all my thinking and surmising, I’m still not sure how or when he will make things happen. But still I can’t resist planning and figuring things out so I can give God my suggestions. But, when I give him my proposal, I usually only receive vague instructions like: wait, go, pray, listen, be patient, believe, have faith, or step out.
When it comes to Crossroads Summer Camp there are pretty much three main roles you can take: camper, chaperone, and counselor. Well friends, I’ve done them all! For every role I’ve had here at camp I’ve been in a different season of life and the Lord has taught me different things. I’m grateful to have this unique perspective on camp and even more grateful for the way the Lord has moved in my life.
Simply put, I’m task oriented, so this was one of the biggest challenges Jesus has ever asked of me. I thought it was a test (and maybe he was testing my obedience), but as I write this almost a year later, I see He was protecting me from myself. I have a tendency to give until I burn out and don’t have anything left. I was not thinking about the 6 weeks of summer camp we had coming up. I was not thinking of the 4600+/- teenagers we would be hanging out with all summer. I was not thinking about having to speak every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning on the hardest subject I’ve ever had to live out.
Camp is such an important week in the lives of so many students. We see hundreds of teenagers week after week give their lives to Christ, answer the call to ministry, and form long-lasting relationships with their youth group and our staff. But we know that we can't do that alone. We believe strongly in the power of prayer and we know that the Lord has been faithful to answer our prayers, but we also know that God is far from done and that we must continue to be faithful to him in prayer. We ask that you join us in what God is doing by praying with us as we enter camp season.
Sadly, we live in a culture that believes you can enter into the kingdom of God without having “dropped your nets” to follow Him. Specifically, the students who have sacrificed a year of their lives (through Crossroads Discipleship Home) to be with Jesus, to learn from Him in community, will not be disappointed in the outcome. My role will be to fan to flame, the only way I really know how, and fix our eyes on Jesus together.
I’ve experienced my fair share of relationship break-ups. When it happens, it seems like life will never be able to replace the devastation in your heart. It seems like an impolite hurricane ripped through your heart without permission. Maybe you find yourself lying on the ground, looking up at the bare limbs and smelling the decaying leaves as feelings of loneliness enter your heart and mind.
But, before you go there, could I speak a little hope to your heart?
For many of you reading this the thought of Malaysia is distant and unsure, but the images of children and a land that not many have traveled probably excites you. It was the same for me many years ago. Stories of monkeys walking telephone lines or waterfalls in the jungle, those are the stories you love to hear. But I promise you this - when you come back, it will be the people who will be burned into your heart forever.
When I’m upset, I want Him to fix it, to make it better, or to change my situation or circumstances. And if He doesn’t, I wonder if He’s still good or if He still loves me. Do you do this too?
I call this the Blame Game. When I get hurt, I blame and run AWAY. I’m not talking about losing my faith, I’m talking about feeling like it’s His fault my life isn’t turning out like I wanted, and so I pull back my trust, put up my guard and decide I could do a better job. This may have been fine when I was a toddler in my faith, but at some point, Jesus wants me to learn how to grow up in my disappointment. Instead of withdrawing, His hope is that I’ll learn to re-examine my attitude, repent, and run TO Him instead of AWAY from Him.
I am not asking if you attend a church service once a week. I'm asking if you doing life with other followers of Jesus. I truly believe that our relationship with Jesus becomes more consistent when we engage in and maintain healthy community with other believers. God simply designed us this way. He wired us for friendship and community. We weren’t made to do life alone and when we attempt to, we ultimately suffer as a result.
But how do we maintain healthy community? Let’s just be honest, sometimes authentic friendships can be downright messy, especially when we decide we are going to take off our masks and be vulnerable with other people. The enemy loves to stir things up within the body of Christ because if we spend our time fighting each other, we aren’t going to be focused on working together to impact our world. So what can we do to create a culture of healthy relationships?
We have become a “fix it now” generation. Pinterest gives us remedies, resources and revelations about so many things to help propel us forward in our lives. We Google anything we need and rely on Siri to take us where we need to go. We can fix so many things with a click of a button, so why do we not look to God for a quick fix?