This had been a reflective weekend for me. Sometimes I fear that I don’t slow down enough to appreciate God’s work in my life but I don’t even think about that fear until times like tonight when it really clicks. I mean, I pray constantly and daily and God due to my intense reliance upon my relationship with God, I am sure He knows I am thankful but sometimes I don’t think I know I’m thankful - does that make sense? I turned 23 on Friday, and this weekend gave me an opportunity to kind of think about that and I figured what better way to shout it from the rooftops, than to blog about it. Now, I warn you in advance, I have ADD so I’m going to jump around a bit. So if you think you can keep up, dive on in. If you don’t, feel free to continue reading my twitter. Those thoughts will be more concise.
To set the stage: Tonight I DJ-d Branden and Lindsey Lower’s wedding reception and it was about 10:15 that I had the epiphany allowing the events of the last few days to click. The reception was out in Homewood at Vulcan overlooking the city. I have looked over Birmingham many times during my life here, including a great night spent with 3 friends last week after GreyHaven, but tonight as I was tearing down the sound system I looked out at the skyscape of the city and just felt honored. Blessed to be alive during the time I am; Blessed to have such the privilege of carrying the name of Christ; Blessed to choose to do the work that I do in the location that I do around the people that I do; And blessed to be in contact with such great people that I call my friends and family. And for the most part, all of these things I had no say in choosing. They don’t call this place the Magic City for nothing.
But then I realized that every thought I just had was just about me. Me, me, me. That can’t be what the Christian life is all about.
I get so boggled down by the hustle and bustle of life that I while I’m serving the Lord and living life with Him, that I feel like I still take some things for granted. It took being removed from the context of my life here for that to really set in. Last week I went on my first mission trip ever and it was to New Orleans, Louisiana. Samford was such a missions friendly place for me to spend 4.5 years at, but during my time there, I still failed to act on any of those opportunities. I didn’t regret it then but I kind of do now. Over the last year, I formed many relationships with people who have become close to me who have been called to missions. Now that those people have become important to me, the things that are important to them are to me. So I approach this with an open mind. Not the type of missionary work where they do “what they can, when they can” but a reckless abandonment for the things of this world so much so that they would drop everything at the drop of a hat and move to a foreign country to live with the unreached.
Am I being too honest by saying that scares me? I think God is doing a major work in my life right now about that. Could I do that? I don’t know but that doesn’t mean I’m not willing. For me to say even that shows a change in heart. I know that I am just a vessel and I’m willing to go where God sends me. Before I thought that might mean Nashville, or Boston, or (and I know I’m digressing so I’ll try to get back there eventually) New Orleans. Someplace still so far from the small beach town I grew up in, but somewhere out of the country? Out of this hemisphere?
Me? I think God first calls us to be willing. Then He calls us.
I think God’s using the people I’m surrounded by these days to soften my heart. Before, it was hard like Pharaoh. You see, I’m such a creature of habit and routine that (like I said before) something like that seems so foreign to me. But pastor Matt Chandler said “Mankind is created for danger, for adventure”. To just stay in my little world of pursuing the American Dream is selfish. It’s certainly sin.
Over the last year, God has blessed me with the opportunity to be involved in a ministry at the church I am attending. Through out high school, I was very involved in church ministry and that’s where my heart has always been. Through out college, that became a little tougher.
Last year I became a volunteer in the worship ministry at The Church At Brook Hills. A local megachurch here in town, it is a wonderful place to serve and watch God change lives - including mine. A place where the people are as real as they seem on stage (flaws and all) with a desire to reach the nations. A place where serving seems like home. So when they said they were going on their yearly mission trip to New Orleans, I wasn’t sure right away if I was going to join or not.
Then God said “why not?”
So I signed up and didn’t know what to expect. I think I expected more than I should have because I didn’t get what I thought I would. I mean, my first ever mission trip! It’s gotta be life-changing, right? I expected that, by the end of the week, I would want to quit my job and move to Zimbabwe. I expected to want to sell all I have and give to the poor. I expected to struggle harder than I ever struggled before. I expected it to be tough.
None of those things happened. But you know what did? Nothing. Nothing big. Nothing life changing. And that’s all that mattered. Life is not only about the rollercoaster moments. The moments where you get on a high and feel like you’re walking on air. If every instant was a mountaintop experience, they would cease to mean anything. But what does matter is that I was obedient to God’s call and I got be a part of His bigger plan. A plan that I may never see. God said go and I did. Last week wasn’t for me. I don’t know who it was for but that’s not for me to say. Hurricane Katrina devasted NOLA in 2005 and the city still wreaks of wreckage. People are still hurting. Worlds are still shattered. What was a mission trip to me is now a way of life to the residents of New Orleans. At the end of the week when I got to go home to my blessed world of looking over the Magic City, these people still have lost loved ones. Still curse God for allowing circumstances to occur that rock their faith. Still cry themselves to sleep in their home away from all they’d ever known.
It kind of takes a step outside of your context to realize that I’m disgustingly blessed, and yet I take it for granted. I’m going to go to bed now and pray until I fall asleep. I’ll tell God thank you for everything that I did today and ask Him to use me tomorrow but will it take another mountaintop experience at Vulcan for me to realize that this life isn’t about me? I sure hope not. I wish I could end this post with some amazing revelation and decision about what’s next for me. But I don’t have that. This life I lead is a day-by-day process and today I realized this, I’m excited to see what God adds to it tomorrow. Just had to get this off my chest.
Are you waiting for your mountain experience?
Alright, I’ve blogged for you/
Now you can blogbacktome.