I spent the past four days in Ohio. Doing absolutely nothing. Correction: I was writing. As I sat on my grandmother's living room couch Thursday I thought of how flexible my current ministry is and how boring it is. Surely there has to be something more than this. That was the thought in my head all weekend. There has to be something more.
I have had many friends tell me I am blessed because my ministry is so portable. Right now, my ministry is so easily auto-piloted. The hardest thing was starting it. Now, God is taking it and working with it, and I am just letting Him. It is His ministry, not mine. Despite His working with that, I still felt like so much was lacking.
Thursday night, I looked over the study for my small group. I was ashamed. If you had asked me if I have a shallow faith, I would have told you no. Now, is it as deep as it could be? No, but I did not think it was shallow. Until I got to question 1 on the application. Then, I realized that I know a lot of Bible and can even do a lot of Bible but I am not connecting the two well. I can apply certain parts of Scripture, but the challenge of the study was to apply Scripture- period. I had to put it down for another time when I had time for it.
Thursday or Friday God had sufficiently planted enough disatisfaction with the current state of my life that I was chomping at the bit to do something about it. I started thinking about starting Reckless this coming summer, but after my little bout with the small group study I seriously doubted my ability to start a discipleship ministry. Besides, how reckless is it if all that is reckless is establishing a ministry about being reckless. (Did that make sense?) If I did that, I would be making myself big and that is not how it is supposed to work.
Then, and this is what I love about God, He used completely random circumstances to rattle the last bit of my sanity. I went and visited my friend, Katy, on Saturday. We spent an hour or so sitting in her dorm room and I noticed a book on her bed. I grabbed it and flipped it open to a random page and this is what the author wrote, "I looked at my husband and blurted out, There has to be something more to the Christian life." I skimmed through the chapter quickly as the authors reflected on "big" Christians from the past.
Their conclusion was that, at some point, ministry stopped becoming about them. That they surrendered their lives entirely for the life God wanted for them, the life He would empower them to live. I looked at Katy and said, "I have to get this book."
The entire drive home Saturday and the evening were spent mulling over what needed to change. What exchange am I not making. What is next because, there is, indeed, a next. There is a big next that I am missing and, honestly, I do not think it has anything to do with a book. If the books work, that's great! But, they are portable. A writing ministry is portable. I could write books from a jungle in Kenya if I wanted to. Writing is too small to live for. There has to be more.
For that matter, a ministry is too small a thing to live for. What if God calls me to something small? Would I be ok with that?
It occurred to me that I am not dependent enough on God to be OK with that. He still is not everything He should be to me. Not even close. It has to be a big deal or no deal at all for me. Still, I do stuff. I do lots of stuff.
God does not want our stuff.
You would think I would learn that.
This morning, as I attended services at my old church in Ohio, it hit me that I really miss the on fire Christian fellowship. I miss the atmosphere of Bible school and I was hoping to find it in my small group, but haven't. So, in the middle of the sermon, I was tallying up numbers to figure out when I could move back to Ohio and plug into the ministries there at the church. I was calculating mortgage payments and everything. It was dissatisfaction to the extreme.
Then, it was as if God said, "No. I don't want you to come back here."
"Well, God, I cannot exactly stay where I am. It isn't working."
"So. What next?"
"That's kinda the question I had for you. What is next?"
"Do you trust Me?"
"Enough to cash in on a dream you had years ago?"
"Ok. Let's go."
"Go?? Go where?"
Years ago, we are talking maybe three or four, I longed for a day when I could literally say, "Ok, God, I am all Yours. No strings attached." I wanted to have all of my loans paid off from school and a good setup in savings, ready to go out into the world. I wanted to be at the point in life and in my faith when I could truly be Reckless and just step out in faith and walk the water.
For the past few months, I have been telling friends about next summer. "Everything seems to be lining up for summer 2010. I will be totally free by then. I will be 24. I think God is going to do something big." I was pretty fixed on it being marriage. That obviously is not happening. But I realized this weekend, that, instead, that is the time I have been waiting for! The moment I have been waiting for is nearing. The moment when I can cut all ties and say, "Ok, God. No loans. No job. No family ties. It's just You and me. Let's do this."
Now that I see it, it is freaking me out. More than that, an old old old old old old dream (like before wanting to be a doctor dream) is being reborn and I find myself thinking, "Where on earth did that come from??" I am excited and apprehensive. I'm trying to stifle my logic, because my logic wants to wait another year.
Still, I am taking step one tonight. I am asking to come out on the water, and if God says yes, I am going to go. I am going to trust Him to get me through. I can't help but feel like this is crazy! Because it is. But that's the thing with faith. Faith, in its truest form, is reckless. People do not offer their sons for sacrifices or step onto a raging sea because it makes sense.
This, for the moment, is my anthem.
Great Adventure, by Steven Curtis Chapman
Started out this morning in the usual way. Chasing thoughts inside my head of all I had to do today. Another time around the circle try to make it better than the last.
I opened up the Bible and I read about me. Said I'd been a prisoner and God's grace had set me free, and somewhere between the pages it hit me like a lightning bolt. I saw a big frontier in front of me and I heard somebody say "let's go"!
Saddle up your horses we've got a trail to blaze through the wild blue yonder of God's amazing grace. Let's follow our leader into the glorious unknown. This is a life like no other - this is The Great Adventure.
Come on get ready for the ride of your life. Gonna leave long faced religion in a cloud of dust behind and discover all the new horizons just waiting to be explored.
This is what we were created for.
This is the greatest journey that the human heart will ever see. The love of God will take us far beyond our wildest dreams.