Growing is difficult.
It’s easy to say that, but it’s impossible to know until you finally decide to grow up.
I’ve been prone to some crazy selfish desires and a rather faithless lifestyle. Some decisions I’ve made have cost me much, much more than I ever thought they would. Out of all the voices in my life, more often than not I’ve chosen to listen to mine over anyone else, including God.
Isn’t that the truth?
Today I remember where I was two years ago this month.
After years of doing what I wanted, I was broke as a joke… no job, no apartment, nothing that was mine free and clear… I came to the end of my rope financially and emotionally. I had a lot of good things going for me, but I still wanted more. Nothing satisfied.
And at the end of the day I was completely wrecked. I had to pack up all the sweet, yet meaningless junk I had financed and accumulated over several years and move it all into an abandoned church building.
I decided in May of 2008 that it was time for me to grow up.
I knew it wouldn’t happen overnight and I knew it would be a painful process, but I knew it was right. My parents didn’t raise no fool, and I knew the day was coming when I would have to choose to lay my plans, my desires, and my whole life down. What I didn’t know was the incredible treasure I would be picking up in the process.
In the middle of my brokenness, my best friend Rob and his family took me in and gave me a place to sleep, a place to come home to, a place to belong. They even let me join them for family dinner! Their decision to take me in changed the course of my life forever. There aren’t many people out there who love others enough to invite someone with my self-satisfying, emotional track record into their home. I truly wish I could articulate how wonderful and gracious they have been to me.
The first morning I woke up in their home, I prayed a simple prayer…
“God help me.”
He heard me. In that moment I could literally feel the biggest weight being lifted off my shoulders and for the first time in my adult life I knew everything was going to be ok. That same morning I grabbed my ipod and began walking. A couple months later, walking turned into jogging. Fried food turned into baked chicken breast. Mountain Dew turned into water. God was changing me.
I stayed the course and lost a great deal of weight, but the change God was making in my spirit was far greater. I began seeing people differently and I found myself broken when I saw my old self in others. I wanted to show them that nothing is impossible with the one who holds the whole world together in His hands… I am so far from perfect, but I’ve seen God move in my life and I want it so badly for others.
I believe there’s a hope we haven’t even experienced yet. A hope far greater than a way out of our present circumstances and problems. Although I’m still messed up in a lot of ways, I’m in the thick of hope right now and that changes everything.
Living in hope, God begins using you in ways you would never guess…
I had been a desk manager for Indiana Wesleyan with very little interaction and no real voice to speak into people’s lives. I soon found myself working for a “quick-service” (read: fast food) burrito chain where God was placing people all around me.
I had been given a voice and an opportunity to love people and speak truth into their lives.
God opened doors for me to lead worship at camps.
I found that he had given me a voice to speak into the lives of teens.
God brought people to Level 13.
I am living out my calling now, knowing full well that there is so much more to come.
I have grown up in unreal ways over the last two years.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve stumbled.
I’ve needed more grace than I care to admit.
But I hold on tightly to hope. I see what God has done so far and I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow morning. It’s by His grace that I get to continue waking up, so why wouldn’t I make the best out of what I’ve been given? I pray every day that people would truly see a glimpse of the love of God through my life.
Pray for me. Pray for all the people God has entrusted me with. Pray for my church family, Level 13. Pray that the city of Fort Wayne is consumed with grace and love. Pray for the kingdom of God to come.