Well here we are, 12 months into what I believed was just the right “next step”. It feels so long ago when I felt the stirring of the Father to start to share and to write regularly. Yet, at the same time, and as cliché as this sounds, it feels like only yesterday I was sitting by myself in McDonalds (Go check out that post from July).
The year has been one of the hardest years I have ever walked through, so sharing it publicly was a risk I hope encouraged some of you reading too. But throughout the whole journey I have learnt some real fundamental truths that I can’t wait to carry with me into this next season. The atmosphere around me seems to be changing, and I am beginning to believe for some spring after what has felt like a long winter. It has been a journey that has challenged every part of me, but one that was necessary in equipping myself (and hopefully, through sharing, those around me) for the “next step”. I truly believe we over complicate what our “life calling” is and allow the enemy to rob us of our joy, when it should just be about growing in our relationship with Jesus and moving with him to the “next step” – but I’ll share that one more next month.
Today I want to share some of the many things I have learnt over a year of blogging consistently, and sharing, in hope too, that if it has been something you have been pondering at Maccas also, you might be encouraged to take the leap and jump into something I have come to enjoy.
1. God is Faithful – When I left my time with YWAM, I had no idea what coming home was going to look like. I was young, I had the whole world ahead of me, though I had no idea what I wanted to do, or who I wanted to be. I had hidden dreams deep in my heart, that I hoped the Lord would fulfil. And I was constantly “plagued by the promises of words you have spoken and desires you have placed in me” (great song by Housefires btw: Mountain to Valley). I was constricted to what I could see right here, right now. But God was working in something I could not see, and still do not fully understand. That no matter what, no matter how lonely, or how far or impossible some of those dreams are, that ‘All Gods Promises are ‘Yes’ in Christ Jesus (2 Cor 1:20). God is not bound by mans understanding. He thinks, acts and moves in ways that are difficult for us to understand, because we try to picture an infinite God in the limits of our finite minds. But we wonderfully serve a God who is so so faithful to His people. Sometimes I am so blown away by His love for us. Hold on to this when you are afraid, what God has promised, He WILL carry on to the day of completion.
2. We are Brave, When we allow ourselves to be – I had no idea what this would look like, and I have made a lot of it up on the way. I have been encouraged by some of you, and by my family. But really I did this not to gain followers, but rather to be obedient. And I have come to really enjoy the writing and the sharing, because it has made the journey real for me. I also never thought that amongst all the chaos and self-doubt that last year brought, I would travel alone to the other side of the world to ‘Write my Own Story’. I learnt so much about myself, and what it looks like to just do it, to dream and to challenge yourself, because, well, you can. When we allow ourselves to be who we are, we are Brave, and Strong and Capable – all things I knew in heart, but did not feel like I knew really what that meant to live it out. There is a joy in life, when we learn to be ourselves right now and grow in all that we can be tomorrow. Also with this one – the importance of taking risks. No, I’m not saying you should all be irresponsible. But I am saying, that risk taking grows trust. Trust in God, Trust in those around us, Trust in ourselves. They pay off when we throw off all that easily entangles and run with perseverance towards the end. We grow in character and maturity and give not into fear, but bravery.
3. Having Faith, and learning to lean on Hope. – Wow what a big one. Spiritual deserts, and real ones – are big, dry with little fruit. There is a real sense of loneliness, and infancy as you attempt to push through trial and fatigue, chasing each hallucination of an oasis when the only oasis you need is right there beside you. They teach you so much about who you are, and whose you are. About faith despite understanding or circumstance; about what is really important and that God never changes and is so constant. You learn that Jesus is the only living water you really need. Through them, the vision of the ocean is made ever more sweet because you have finally learnt to appreciate what it looks like to be truly free. The past year of walking in faith and not by sight, has brought me to a place of being truly content with where I am in my relationship with Jesus. Through blogging, I have been blown away that month after month of the same theme, God has shown me what it means to have faith and to stand in it. Now, He leads me into hope. A hope in Him for the “next step” of this journey.
4. Finally, God intended it that we don’t do this alone, but in fellowship with others. Friends are so important in life. The Bible even says’ Two are better that one, for they have good return for their work. When one falls down, the other can pick him up'(Ecc 4:9). I believe that God also meant for us to share with one another our pain, and fears and be vulnerable with them. Because it is our good, faithful and forgiving friends that will encourage us in our faith when we are lost wandering the desert or the great wide ocean.
I really don’t know what the “next step” is just yet, but that doesn’t matter. After looking back over a year of walking in faith, I have learnt to realise that Jesus walks beside me, and in the right timing I will know which way to go. Be blessed friends in a Father who is Faithful and kind and good to those who look to Him. Learn to take risks, believe in yourself and who you can be, and surround yourselves with strong, loving God-fearing friends who will sharpen your arrow head.