Original Post Date: May 8, 2014
As I lounge here and reflect on the past few months, I cannot help but wonder how in the world I managed to survive my junior year in college. Balancing my life as a student, first year small group leader in campus ministry, church intern, friend, daughter, sister, and recently a new aunt has not been easy. I love each and every one of my roles in this life, but I believe that everyone can relate to the feeling of being pulled in a million different directions. So many people to please, so many expectations (and deadlines) to meet, and so many opportunities to succeed or fail. These are the thoughts that constantly flood my mind. I find myself in an overwhelming pit of the pressure to be perfect; and it was in the midst of my attempt to climb out of this pit that a very familiar voice spoke into my heart:
It was the voice of the Lord…
…telling me to spend my summer doing what is known as the Summer Job Project in Bozeman, Montana. A dear friend of mine went through the program last summer and experienced a season of true healing and revelations of the Lord’s purpose for her life. She came back with stories about hiking and camping in the mountains, learning how to labor in the Spirit of the Lord at her job, living in community with young men and women who were also part of the program, and growing in the faith. I know many people who would be thrilled by this calling placed on their lives, but I just about fainted! The same God who knows me intimately (i.e. my likes, my dislikes, what I look like when I first wake up, my ugly crying face) was calling me to do three of the main things He knew I had been intentionally avoided for years: outdoor camping, hard labor, and being away from my family. Call me soft, people, I am just keeping it real; but here’s the beauty of it:
I said yes. And ever since then, The Lord has placed me in several instances where I must submit to being in unfamiliar outdoorsy environments, performing hard labor, and being distanced from my family. The truth of the matter is this: He would never call me to a place 1) where He has not already gone 2) without first equipping me with every skill and piece of knowledge I need to get there.
The title of this blog is “Into the Wilderness” as a reference to Jesus being led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted, which can also mean tested, by the enemy (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13). Although these passages give us a glimpse of the cowardly and manipulative character of the enemy, the overall message has nothing to do with him. The Spirit did not lead Jesus into the wilderness for it to be all about the enemy. These passages are about Christ’s willingness to walk in step with the Spirit at the expense of trading physical nourishment for spiritual nourishment. Through this journey, Christ learned what He truly needed to survive and overcome in this world. I believe that spending my summer in Montana will require me to surrender what I cling to at the expense of walking in obedience. My comfort zone will have to be disregarded, the cost of following Jesus must be counted and embraced, and my willingness to walk in step with the Spirit must be intact. I am overjoyed and thrilled at the thought of how God will be moving this summer. I stand with my eyes on the prize, empowered by the Spirit, and ready to begin my journey into the wilderness.
P.S. I am scheduled to leave Texas on Monday, May 12th, and arrive in Bozeman that afternoon. Prayers for safe travels and peace for my anxious nerves (as this is my first time flying alone) would be much appreciated!
Christ as my anchor