Growth in a season of what you think is solitude is such an interesting process. In the moment it feels like everything is caving in around you and you desperately kick and crawl towards the Light. When the clouds break and Light finally pours in it is transforming. Everything that seemed far away is right there gently coaxing you to what is truly life giving.
I just finished my third summer at a Christian summer camp called Shepherd’s Fold Ranch. I was given the opportunity to mentor juniors and seniors in high school into a servanthood mentality. What I found though was that this group of individuals that I encountered radiated more compassion and joy that I could ever imagine. They taught me with their acts of service that being the hands and feet of Jesus is a beautiful process that doesn’t look the same for everyone. They took this leap of faith in the Lord that resulted in building lasting community, sweating profusely while doing work projects, and deepening their personal relationship with our King. It was so beautiful to watch that at moments I would simply stand back and allow tears to fall from my cheeks as I remembered the incredible act of the Cross. Jesus made all of this possible by tearing the veil between what we thought was an impersonal cosmic force and a fiercely loving companion. All because of His sentimentality and pure justice.
In all honesty, if I lived according to my own perception of self-worth then I would be a dirty, disheveled mess on the corners of the streets begging for change. For a chance. All the while a man in white robes and flames in His eyes was the one to fill my cup and make it overflow. To take my chance and blow it out of the water with adventure, love, and cherished relationship. Every season I enter is an opportunity for the Lord to wreck me with His grace in a loving companionship that sits and listens to my theology and experiences my weird quirks. I think growth is not only sharing burdens and building community but also operating more and more in your freedom. Initiative is huge in maturity. Good intentions and a pure heart is a great start to extreme acts of the Father’s compassion but what it really takes is initiative to make things happen and spur people on to the ultimate goodness.
As I reflect on the seasons that the Lord and I have journeyed on together I am overcome by the sweet friendships that the Lord specifically places in my path. Each season is a flicker in time in which we get to witness moments unfold. My heart is full of gratitude for the ones that made those moments special. Without those relationships I wouldn’t have the opportunity to spill the thoughts that make my head swim, to laugh fully and deeply, or share in the pain that make our moments memorable. Listen to me when I state the community is vital to our wellbeing. He created us so that we don’t have to share our burdens alone but that we can live authentic lives in genuine love, freedom, and encouragement. To walk out our identity in Christ fully and without hesitation.
Now, I get to embark on my new adventure. A spark has been ignited in my very soul. A new passion has arisen. Praise Jesus! He has given me the opportunity to give everything I have and say yes to Him. To fully accept that this life is not my own and that I want more of Him and less of me. To deny materialism and instead buy a one way ticket to the desires of my heart. Those desires have been developing within me and I cannot wait to see where they take me. I have a gift and I am going to use it! So raise your glasses to denying a standard, mundane lifestyle and instead choosing to forgo fear and jumping into the deep. I am only filled with anticipation and excitement. Live your life to the fullest, accept His calls of adventure, and take His hand as He walks further into His all-encompassing love.
“It is unlikely that we will deepen our relationship with God in a casual or haphazard manner.”
William O. Paulsell