Trust and Faith. These words radiate through my journal entries over the past couple of weeks. This past semester has been a journey of learning to hold my dreams loosely as I hold tightly to the One who first instilled the dreams in my soul.
Almost 10 years ago, I left the country that I considered home. I moved across the world to a country that should be home, but felt hollow. I left my heart behind.
Confused, I wrestled with accepting this new change. How could I be more comfortable in a foreign country than the country of my birth? Moving “home” should have been exciting, but I felt numb.
Confusion. Excitement. Frustration. Betrayal.
These emotions clouded my vision of America, and encouraged my desire to travel the world. Somehow, I felt that if I travelled, I would find that piece of my heart that I had left behind and I would be whole again.
Approximately 4 years ago, as I started on my college adventure, I made it my goal to graduate and leave the country for the great beyonds. I desired to move somewhere I would be interacting with people of different cultures and backgrounds.
I chose my major and minor with the intent that going overseas was my only goal.
These past couple weeks as I began to think about my future and the reality of my dreams, I realized that my dreams had changed slightly.
I had fallen more and more in love with the idea of going overseas and changing the world, but God convicted me.
Why did I desire to go overseas? Was it because I was trusting God’s plan for my life, or was it because I was more comfortable with dirt floors and no electricity?
If I truly analyzed my motives, I would find that my reasons were selfish.
In my heart, deep, deep down, I believed that if I was not going to fit in anywhere, it would be easier to live in a different culture because then my differences would be as obvious as skin color.
Selfish reasons regardless of the fact that the outcome was others-focused.
Something was changing within me. There are no words to convey how profoundly and deeply God touched my heart as I began to realize this truth.
As I searched for the answer to this question in my heart, God continued to remind me of the beautiful aspects of life where I am.
>>The beautiful Ohio sunsets.
>>The rain as it falls on a spring afternoon.
>>The vibrant colors as fall creeps in.
>>The sound of my residents laughing down the hall.
>>The thud of textbooks as I breathe a sigh of relief after a nursing test.
>>The companionship of friends
What if by dreaming big, I am putting God in a box? What if I am narrowing my view of God and life to only being happy in the mission field? What if God is asking me open my mind to different chapters in my life, not all of which includes overseas missions?
Four years ago, possibly even last year, that thought would have stunned me. I would not have considered any aspect of life but the one that took me far away to unknown people groups. Now, I am learning that my limited view of God and his plan for my life caused me to miss out on some pretty great things about life in America. I was so focused on going “home” that I lost track of the fact that America is also my home. Ten years later, God takes the emotions that used to cloud my vision of America transforming them with the grace radiating from the center of who He is.
Excitement. Joy. Gratitude. Serenity.
God transformed my view of both him and the world as I began to be content where He has placed me.
Throughout the past semester, my view of God grew as He continued to burst out of every box that I attempted to put Him in. Looking back, I should not expect less from a living, loving, saving, sustaining, almighty God who shapes my heart. He placed these desires in my heart for a specific reason, but it may not look exactly as I desire it to.
As I consider the idea that God is challenging me to step out of my comfort zone and live in America after I graduate, He places a new call in my heart.
I will follow you.
Where you go, I’ll go.
Where you stay, I’ll stay.
If this life I lose, I will follow you.
God is present here, just as much as in Haiti or Nigeria. Therefore, my call is to follow God as he moves in my heart and in the lives of those around me.
A year from now, I do not know where I will be. Maybe I will be in Africa, South America, Montana, or Ohio.
I do not know where I am leading but I am realizing that God comes first.
Not my plans. Not my dreams. Not my desires.
Rather by letting go of these dreams, it frees up a hand which fits perfectly into the hand of the One who consistently show us how big He truly is.
Simply follow God first.
Everything else falls into place.
In the words of Sarah Bessey, “And this is where I learned that sometimes our most holy mountain-moving faith looks more like spending our whole lives making that mountain move, rock by rock, pebble by pebble, unsexy day after daily day, casting the mountain to the sea stone by stone rather than watching a mountain suddenly rise up and cast itself.”
Sometimes, the biggest blessings come not from restricting God to a specific dream, but by letting go of those dreams to hold on to the hand of the Creator of the Universe.