Two months and five days ago, I moved approximately 2,500 miles across the country (as close to the Canadian border as possible) to obey the Lord’s command. Since I was sixteen years old, I’ve told my family and friends that I would work with young women in Montana; it didn’t make sense then, and it doesn’t really make sense now. Why on earth would I move thousands of miles away from my family and friends immediately out of college?
Honestly, I wouldn’t. Left to my own devices, I would not have chosen to make such a drastic and risky move – at least not to another place in the United States! My dream was to pursue music and travel the world. After spending a portion of the summer in Africa, my heart longed to go back. I wanted to continue overseas missions work in foreign countries and share the love of Jesus through music and discipleship. So, why on earth would I move to Montana to be a house mom at a therapeutic boarding school for adolescent girls? It isn’t overseas, it doesn’t involve music or leading worship, and requires me to stay in one place for a considerable amount of time.
More often than I can count, people have told me that determining God’s calling for your life is easy: do what you love, are gifted in, and are passionate about for the Lord. While I believe that may be true and that God gives us all unique talents and dreams, I think the Lord’s plans are much greater than that. Take a look at Moses! It’s pretty clear in his burning bush moment [Ex. 3-4] that being God’s frontman for freedom was NOT on his radar; he had to lay down his life, his expectations, and his comfort in order to do what God was calling him to do.
God’s plans for us are beyond what we can dream of for ourselves, and we are commanded to lay down our wants, desires, and dreams at His feet in order to receive His vision for our lives.
He calls us to do things that are out of our comfort zones, beyond our capabilities, and meant to knock us off our feet. He builds upon the talents He’s given us and places us in situations where our weaknesses are brought to the surface so that we know our limitations and His limitlessness. If we only did the things that we felt qualified and gifted to do, there would be no need for faith. God has called us on a beautiful (and often frightening) adventure that will require both our strengths AND weaknesses.
That being said, the past two months have been wonderful, exhausting, challenging, and about one hundred other adjectives. I’ve learned the importance of knowing who you are and have begun to grasp that my college education was (and continues to be) an immense blessing. I’ve learned that kindness is much more powerful than we realize, and a gentle word speaks volumes above a harsh lecture. Everyday, I learn what it means to truly die to myself in order to love others sacrificially. Daily, I’m reminded that viewing a person through the lens of their behavior is the greatest offense I can commit against another person; our actions and behaviors do not define us, and there is a wound behind every negative behavior – clearly identifiable in children.
To surrender our dreams, our pride, and our expectations is the most terrifying, gut-wrenching, and gloriously liberating thing we could possibly do in this life. Surrender when it doesn’t make sense, and every ounce of logic tells you to hang on rather than let go. Surrender when you’re in an elevated state, feeling invincible and unstoppable. Surrender. Let God take you on a beautiful (often seemingly reckless) adventure.