From Simple To Extravagant

He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.”

 John 12:25-26

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View of Queenstown, New Zealand
Life has increasingly become more and more surreal every day. I have not had  a steady job or worked for a pay check in nearly a year, but He has provided abundantly. I’ve lived in Europe, Australia, on a south pacific island, and am now in New Zealand, shortly heading to Kenya. Who’da thought a small-town, country-bumpkin like me would end up like this? I can assure you the thought never crossed my mind.

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Taking a nap on Lake Wakatipu
I’m sitting on the shorefront of Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, New Zealand, trying to find words that justly express my current mental state, unfortunately I can’t quite seem to fit any together that adequately describe where my thoughts are at the moment.
I truly can’t explain it, this mystery of a life I’m living.
As a kid, I hated exploring. Intentionally going into the unknown and having no expectations to be met or unmet wasn’t my cup of tea. Thankfully, God changes hearts; and delving into uncharted adventures is my life-anthem.
Do I get homesick? Well, depends on which home you’re referring to.
Was I born where I was, grew up where I did, and become who I am for no reason or by chance? Certainly not, but I am positive, without a shadow of a doubt, that I wasn’t meant to just stay put and comfortable, disobeying the great commands of scripture.
“Where’s she going with this?” — Bare with me.

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”
John 14:12
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Me at age 7 in one of many dance recitals in Lewisville, TX

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Me at age 21, preaching to about 1,000 children at a primary school in Wabag, Papua New Guinea
What I’m trying to say is that my life—every breath I’m given—is not mine to do with whatever my small-minded-self wills.
Scripture says He lives in me, and He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world. So why the heck would I not open my hands, my mind, and loose my reservations, which only bind the gift of freedom, when the word that cannot return void states His great desire to use me in mighty, heavenly ways?

Think of it this way: It’s your 16th birthday; your dad buys you your fantasy car; hands you the keys. Along with that, he then includes that you have no limited distance in which to remain. Knowing this, you, instead, keep within a 10 mile radius, moving at no higher than 35 MPH. I think, personally, that your dad would be a little disappointed or, at least, a little confused as to why you wouldn’t enjoy and delight in the great freedom he’s gifted you. Helpful illustration? I hope so.

Is it healthy to keep on the safe side? Sure, if you don’t have heavenly security and trust from the giver of the gift. But, if you are a child of the King, the mere illusion of earthly safety is unnecessary, and you’re missing out on one heck of a journey. The Lord entrusts us, His children, with much because there is nothing that we can so badly screw up that He can’t repair. So, my friend, if you have not taken advantage of the liberated life He’s cheerfully allotted you, my heart hurts for you.
For the children of God, our home is a heavenly, sure place so that we may, with the time we have on earth, fearlessly venture as far and wide for the edification of His name and furtherance of His kingdom. The western-world-fast-pace-small-living lifestyle is a deceivingly lacking one. My soul aches for the son or daughter who’s been adopted in to the house of the Lord but lives as if they weren’t.
It really stems from a lack of obedience to His voice. Hebrews 13:8 says He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and if He spoke in ancient days, how could anyone believe that He, who cannot lie, wouldn’t speak today? Truth is: He spoke, and He is speaking now. Satan has managed to find the easiest vessel of distraction for the children of Yahweh by convincing us that He simply has nothing more to say than that which is written—not that it is insufficient, but more so the heinous idea that He doesn’t want much to do with us insignificants. How are we meant to earnestly seek spiritual gifts like words of knowledge or wisdom or discernment if His Spirit isn’t still communicating to us what is needed?
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Me at age 18, three years ago at Naomi’s Village in Maai Mahiu, Kenya
Five years ago He began whispering ‘Africa & Missions’ to me. I thought I knew that was not from God because, surely, He couldn’t possibly want me to give up my dream of becoming a principle ballerina in a world-renowned dance company and have to get uncomfortable: Wrong. Via my parents’ encouraging and admonishment, getting uncomfortable was the best decision of my life; obedience always ushers joy.
People from every country I’ve been to ask how I get to do the things I do. My answer: I never say no.
I’m in a stage of life where it is rare that I face a shut door, where options are limited. Some times it incurs stress due to the fact that I can’t choose one option over the other, but I suppose that’s a good problem to have. My daddy always told me to dream big knowing I serve a big God. I can honestly say, in my wildest dreams, I never thought He would do what He’s done with me thus far, and it is only because I have said ‘Yes’ to, not just His plans, but Him.
If 16-year-old-me would’ve told God ’no’ or ‘that’s too risky’, I surely wouldn’t be where I am right now, locationally and spiritually.
Christ doesn’t share specifics as to what life will look like once one is adopted into the family of God, but I keep learning that that is, in itself, a gift.
If you keep yourself dead to you, He has much more room to flourish through you the fullness of life. Of course He is powerful enough to do what He pleases in whomever, whenever, but if you will not empty yourself of your own ideas and desires, what has He to fill?
Here is my charge and plea to you, reader: Start doing things that seem crazy, even a little ridiculously risky. I’m not just talking bungee-jumping and parasailing, but making new friends from foreign countries, hiking up a mountain to watch the sun rise, singing worship songs at the top of your lungs at the beach, or taking a 2.5 hour horse ride in a country you’ve yet to visit. Additionally, believer: As one of my favorite Kiwi’s and DTS lecturers eloquently said to us students (at least 10 times a day), “STOP IT.” Stop moping around and waiting for God to move powerfully in your life. He has given YOU-yes, YOU-a mind and a heart and the ability to respond to the wonderful and miraculous ways He has already changed your life’s trajectory.
Open your ears and listen. Quit leaning on your own understanding and hopes and dreams, and wake up. God is a good Creator and His creation was meant to reflect that. For the sake of kingdom growth, please ask yourself, “What am I shut off to?” “Where am I holding back because of fear?”
He commands us not to fear time and time again throughout scripture. Proverbs 12:25 explains it best by stating that, “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” It can’t be said any clearer. Growing up (ask my poor mother) I was quite the indecisive kid. At one of the malls in my home town, there was once a train that children could ride. One day my sister and some friends who had joined us wanted to take a ride. I, for the life of me, cannot figure out why I was so afraid to step foot into it, but for whatever reason I was completely terror-stricken. The worst part? I stood there glaring at the horrific thing for about 20 minutes and then, finally, came to the conclusion that it just wasn’t a good idea. I missed out on all the fun due to fear.
I’m not telling you that you should take up bear-wrestling (unless God tells you to), but please seize doing things that you can make sense of within your human brain and understanding. I promise, if you just simply say, ‘Yes, Lord. What now?’, He will not waste His time.
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Me on a trail ride over the Rees River with High Country Horses in Glenorchy, New Zealand where Tswift, Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and many other greats filmed videos and movie footage
I have not ridden since the end of last year, and the fact that I got the opportunity to ride through the most beautiful country in the world on this amazing boy still takes my breath away and has left me speechless and grateful.

If you think your life isn’t going to be momentous, it probably won’t. So stop thinking that, and ask God where He wants to take you, what He wants to show you. And most of all, trust Him. 

 

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