Monday, October 21, 2013

wherever He calls me ...

Photos Creds: Johanna Love
I recently had a conversation with a friend about our current jobs. We both had graduated from college a few years ago, and both have struggled with where God has taken us since. You see, in college, we both had this fantasy of becoming missionaries; whether it was in Latin America, Africa, or wherever, we had this ideal life of where we would be once we left our alma mater. Sadly enough, reality slapped both of us really hard in the faces, and we had to find jobs that would help pay for our endless amount of school loans, gas money, and food on the table.

For so long, I struggled with this ideal lifestyle, of becoming a missionary overseas and really living out the Gospel there, that I ignored what He was doing in my life presently. I use to tell people, “Oh ya, He’s just preparing me right now during this season. And then I’ll live overseas in His own timing.” But over the years, I began to wonder, “Is my plan even His plan?”

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19: 21)

Have I been caught up with my own devised reality that I’ve sadly neglected the reality that God has set before me? Yes. And I feel we all tend to do this as well. I believe God instills in each of us a set of passions and desires that come from Him; and although they are all good, we tend to get lost in them rather than be fully present in what God is working in our lives currently.

For me, I struggled with this. Still struggle with this. Not being fully content of where I am, and always searching for escape from my reality to achieve a faux reality in which everything is what it should be. At least, what I think is what it should be. And because of this tension between the two realities that cannot coexist with each other, I’m constantly caught in limbo. That feeling where your heart is beating uncontrollably fast and your mind is filled with limitless thoughts that you convince yourself that you just might explode; yep, this happens quite too often for me.

As cheesy and cliché as it may sound, I am a missionary … now; and whether I’m in Costa Mesa or overseas, I continue to be a missionary … that never ceases. Every day is an opportunity; and if I don’t take that opportunity, it is wasted. I mean, if I can’t even live out the Gospel here at a place I call my home, how do I expect to do the same in a different country?

I have the opportunity to minister to my coworkers, the people I see more often than my friends. And to be honest, I tend to turn my back on them and treat them as just people I don’t need to spend my time with. I’d convince myself that “they’re just my coworkers.”  Over the past few years, I’ve had the most amazing, most honest, and difficult conversations with my coworkers, all of which I had the opportunity to share my heart and sharing God’s word. A coworker, now friend, shared with me how her and her husband prayed for the first time together and God revealed Himself to them for the first time.

When I had the opportunity to lead a team to Mozambique this past summer, my coworkers donated their money and art supplies because they wanted to help but never had an opportunity to do so before. We talk about miracles as if they only happened in the Bible or when we hear stories from people coming back from their mission trips. But these are the miracles I was able to witness because I chose to follow God’s heart, and His heart lead me to these people over the years.

Maybe it’s time for each us to do the same … to start listening and seeing what God is doing in our lives.

And who knows? Maybe becoming an overseas missionary is still in the works. Or maybe I’m called to be a missionary here, my home. Wherever He calls me to, I will follow Him.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

set free

Confession: I can be a very judgmental person. My human nature is to seek justice only through my own eyes. I’ve become so comfortable in knowing that and, for the most part, I’ve allowed my actions dictate that poor attitude. But in the end, it’s God’s will be done, not ours. And we must live out the life He calls us too — whether we want to or not.

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual , sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate to do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.  (Romans 7: 14–15)

Although our human nature tells us to think this way, our true self, the self that God intends us to become, desires to be closer to God, to grow intimately with Him, and to seek out the desires of His heart. Easier said than done, don’t you think? But it’s the nature of the situation when we’re called to be the light of this word. To be a light we are called to live differently among our peers, not as a division of us being better than anyone else, but to call out our brothers and sisters out of darkness and into a life worth living. Because of the Holy Spirit, we receive/experience such beautiful love and grace from God. And we are also called to show the same love and grace that we received from Him to others.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh by according to the Spirit. (Romans 8: 1–4)

We are free in Christ … it doesn’t get any better than that! We need to be realistic about ourselves before we understand God; this was perfectly said by guest speaker Kathleen Doyle. To know the true heart of God, we must look at ourselves. We must focus inwardly in order to understand and perform outwardly. God knows we are broken, so He comes after us; it is how God deals with our lost nature. And though we are imperfect, we must welcome Him in our lives with open arms as He has done with us.

The Holy Spirit searches for us, intercedes for us, and He advocates for us. The Holy Spirit brings us life and sets us free. When I confess, I will be received by love and grace. It’s hard for us to grasp as human beings. We think in terms of us when we refer to how God sees the world. But he’s not like us, and we must see the world, the world He created, through His eyes. The love of God is beyond our comprehension.