MY SOPHOMORE YEAR THOUGHT PROCESS:
I have my summer all planned out! I’ve applied to work at this Christian camp and I’m sure I’ll get accepted. I’ll spend half of my summer working there and the other half working at home and getting ready for school. Sounds good to me.
GOD CLOSED THAT DOOR.
Okay, now I have my summer all planned out. It’s not what I had originally planned…but oh well. I’ll just go back to Haiti for a month and do whatever God has for me down there. When I come back, I’ll work until school starts. Sounds good to me.
GOD CLOSED THAT DOOR.
Okay, NOW I really have my summer all planned out. It’s not what I had originally planned…but oh well. I’ll go to back to Haiti for a week with my church on a mission trip. When I come back, I’ll work until school starts. Sounds good to me.
GOD CLOSED THAT DOOR.
Well, what now God?! All my friends have awesome summer plans to work at camps, go on mission trips, live in other countries & work awesome internships… and I’m stuck at home ALL summer? How much can I really learn by staying in town and doing nothing?
It’s hard to believe that at one point, I really thought that. But gosh, did God ROCK my world this summer.
This is a list of some of the things that the Lord taught me this summer in my hometown:
1. My desperation for the Lord – The Father is the ONLY One that can fully satisfy me. Our hearts were made with an eternal longing. When we try and fill it with non-eternal things (relationships, money, media, worldly/fleshly desires, etc) we will never feel fully content. And without Him, I am nothing.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
2. My capabilities when the Holy Spirit is in me – God has so graciously taught me, through others and His word, the power of boldness. The opportunities that He’s given me to be a light in this dark world has amazed me. It’s such a blessing how He has allowed His spirit to speak through me when I don’t feel wise enough, strong enough, bold enough, or equipped.
3. Everything is for His glory – The Lord has been so faithful to remind me that I’m walking in His will. He has seen this day (and every other day) before the beginning of time! He has a plan…even when we don’t understand all of it (much like my summer “plans”).
“The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
4. The importance of community/fellowship – Surrounding yourself with people that can hold you accountable, talk with you about the Lord, relate to you and point you to Christ is so important! Of course, we don’t want to shelter ourselves from the world because God calls us to be in the world but not of it. And how can we go and make disciples like Matthew 28:19-20 says if we stay trapped in a Christian bubble? BUT…being involved in some sort of Christian fellowship or community can really help you grow as a believer.
5. The importance of Sunday morning church – Ministries are great (bible studies, youth groups, college ministries, etc)…but they can’t be church substitutes. They are so important (like I mentioned in #5) but they don’t have the diversity of service/age that community on a Sunday morning church service has. I used to substitute Sunday morning church with my Sunday night college ministry. Ever since I started going to Sunday morning church regularly again, I have grown SO much spiritually.
6. The importance of getting poured into so you can pour out – After years of praying about it, I have finally gotten a mentor/discipler. God truly blessed me with her. I have honestly learned so much through our meetings. Having someone to hold me accountable, make sure I’m memorizing scripture, listen to me, teach me, learn with me, and point me to Christ is so amazing. Because I feel how much this has helped me… it makes me know how important it is for me to mentor others as well that are younger than me. This fall God has blessed me with an opportunity to lead a high school girls’ small group. God is SO good!
7. How important daily alone time with Him is – I am still learning this, and will probably never fully have it down. For me, it is so easy to get distracted and to push “time with the Lord” further down on the To Do list as the day goes on. I also struggle with complicating what my time with God should look like that I end up getting so frustrated and then don’t spend any time. Satan uses the Bible to scare me away from reading His Word daily. I have thoughts like… “Where do I start?” “Should I read one verse or a whole chapter?” “Old Testament or New Testament?” “What if I don’t get anything out of it…am I wasting my time then?” etc… God simply longs for me to spend time with Him. I have a relationship with the Lord and relationships require communication. So whether it’s 3 hours or 3 minutes… God is just pleased to know you’re seeking Him. Spending time alone with the Lord is CRUCIAL to spiritual growth.
8. The importance of scripture memory – Satan feeds me lies with scripture memory too. “Why memorize it? I’m just going to forget it.” or “Just memorize something short so it’s easier.”, etc. So far, I’ve had 5 scripture memory verses since I’ve been meeting with my mentor and the Lord blesses my desire to hide his word in my heart. I often think about these verses and He has even given me an opportunity to share them with others! I get excited about the next one I’m going to memorize each week and enjoy looking back at the ones I already know and seeing how God used them in my life! Memorizing scripture has drawn me nearer to Him.
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:9-11
9. God is working everywhere – It’s been so encouraging to hear stories from my friends that have gone on mission trips, worked at camps, worked internships, etc. The same God that taught them many things this summer taught me many things as well. I did not have to travel to Africa or work at a summer camp to learn more about God. No! The Lord had me in my hometown this summer to teach me all of the things I needed to learn and to grow me closer to Him.
God is faithful. God is true. God is beautiful. God is gracious. God is compassionate. God is working. God is EVERYTHING.
I’m so thankful that I stayed in town this summer. God has opened my eyes to so many things. I can’t wait to see how He continues to use me for His purposes!
I’ll end with this verse. It’s my scripture memory for the next 2 weeks:
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we havea great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:19-25