Monday, April 11, 2016

At the top of the slide...

It's the day you have been waiting for all school year long. Summer is finally here and it's your first trip to the water park. The sun is hot and the water cold. Everything about this day and the plans that you and your parents have made is playing out perfectly. There you are, finally at the top of one of the highest water slides. You have been waiting over thirty minutes, climbing the steps one by one as you patiently waited for your turn. And now as you step up and on to the slide, something you didn't expect happens. It's something you always ridiculed other kids about. 
Fear of going down. 
Your heart begins to race and now you would rather run all the way back down the steps. The lazy river was looking calm and perfect from your new high vantage point. 
The lifeguard directing traffic forces you to sit but your hands are still tightly clenched on the rail above you.
You are going down this slide. Whether that's you getting the courage to let go or the lifeguard pushes you forward sending you on a spiraling descent towards certain death...or at least that's how you see it anyway. 
You turn to face the lifeguard as if to say, "never mind, I won't do it."
And instead of cruelly pushing you down, so the next kid can go, they kneel beside you and look you in your eyes, "This ride is wild. But I promise, when you get to the bottom, you will have loved every second of it and will be running back up these stairs, pushing all the kids out of the way just to ride again. You are going to love it, trust me."
And with that, suddenly the courage you lacked momentarily returned and on your own you let go of the rail and slide to the bottom. 
The lifeguard was right! That was invigorating and life changing! 
And there you were, running towards one of the other higher slides. You finally make it to the top, even more impatient than before.  
In an even bigger shock, as you step into the water and grasp the rails, that same fear from before returned. This time worse because you know that you CAN handle the ride. You did it before. So why is it harder to go down again?
The operator on this slide, noticing your original excitement vanished, leans toward you. "Just remember how you felt when you reached the bottom. You can do it!"
Your memory from not an hour ago resurfaced and the courage and stamina that you needed came back and you thrust yourself forward. 

How often in life do we see God moving in our lives or better yet, how often does God call us to something small and we gladly accept the challenge. But soon enough as time passes, He calls us to bigger things? And the bigger and scarier the "ride" He is calling us to, the harder and harder it is to keep thrusting ourselves forward? 
Anyone else ever have that feeling?
I definitely have and I'm definitely going through it again in my life. 

You know, it was definitely intimidating and scary to go on my first mission trip five years ago. I was so excited as I prepared but soon enough the fear began creeping in. It wasn't till I was finally on the trip did I get the excitement back. Just like the kid in my story. I went through the phases of excitement, anticipation, fear, courage and back to excitement. 

And God keeps calling me on this rides. And every time, for a brief moment, fear settles in. Every time I have to remind myself that no matter where the trip is or how long it is, I know once I am there that everything will be alright and I'll be excited as I should be. 

God keeps calling me to bigger and better things yet fear keeps me holding onto comfort with a death grip. It's hard to let go and let God. I know all the answers to my fears and questions. I have this internal battle raging almost constantly. Whenever a question arises in my heart, I immediately counteract the question with truth. 

I've seen what God has done in my life over the last six years. I've seen what He has done on each of my trips. I have watched him provide thousands of dollars for me to experience His plan and purpose for my life. I've seen the joy in my heart and on the children's faces of all those kiddos I have interacted with over the years. And I know deep down, no matter what comforts or fears may try and block the vision of my destiny, that if God calls me to something that it is going to be 10,000 times better than what I could come up with on my own. That there is a purpose to His calling and it will be so worth all the sacrifices that may come with it. 

So if God is calling you on your first or sixth "ride" and you are experiencing that fear that comes knocking, remember what God has done in your life. Remember the experiences you had, the emotions you felt, and the sights you saw. Remember the work of God in your life. Remembering (and leaning on God) will give you the courage you need to follow through with this next ride.
Just remember how you felt when you reached the bottom! You can do it!
God will be with you every step of the way.

Pray with me as I continue to seek God's will for my life and look into different long term mission opportunities. Pray that no matter the place, no matter the time of service, I won't keep holding on to comfort and security but will let go and follow God with full speed, expectant and excited!

And if you need prayer for the ride in your life, or for any other reason, reach out to me! I'd love to pray with/for you during this time in your life.


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