…all the time.
Sometimes, when I think about God I get overwhelmed. Like, my mind literally cannot comprehend how great, awesome, and unbelievably good He is. When I think about the crucifixion, I am moved to tears. When I think about how small and insignificant we are in comparison to how grand and great God is, and yet how He wishes to be in relationship with us anyway, I am overwhelmed. Ask any of my friends and they will tell you, especially recently, I sometimes just cry because I am so overwhelmed at all God is.
And I have never been more convinced of His goodness than I was last week. For years, I wrestled with my life calling. I wrestled with what I was called to do, where I was called to go, and who I was called to be. But, eventually, through much thought and prayer, I discovered God’s calling for me. I discovered I was called to ministry, to scholarship, to leadership, to love. And, I was called to leave my comfortable to do it.
But guys, that was terrifying. All of it was terrifying. I was terrified because I was not sure I would make a good Pastor, or teacher, or leader. I doubted my abilities to do these things, because I didn’t think my gifts looked like the ones Pastors, teachers, and leaders were supposed to have. And, perhaps my greatest weakness is my inability to recognize my own talents and gifts. (Again, ask my friends. One time, we were encouraging each other by taking turns pointing out our favorite characteristics and strengths of one another, and my friends began with “you don’t give yourself enough credit.” So, in classic friend fashion, they complimented me by beginning with an insult. But, I am starting to believe they may be right?) So, I was hesitant. I doubted I would ever be good at, qualified for, or even able to do the things it seemed God was calling me to. But, every time the fear and the doubt crept in, I was amazed at the goodness of God and how He would constantly reassure me.
Every time I started to doubt my abilities or my call, God would put a situation in my path which crushed my doubts. He would put a person, or a conversation, or a song, or a situation I was perfectly and beautifully equipped to handle in my place exactly when I needed it. So, my doubts eventually began to fade. Not to the point of non-existence, but enough where I can look at them and say, “that word, that voice, and that thought are not from God,” and remind myself that if God truly was calling me, as I know He is, He would never leave me. So, I leaned into my call into ministry despite my doubts. And, I leaned into my call to leave.
Growing up, I always knew there would come a time where I would have to leave the place I have called home for so long. But, I never thought now would be that time. Once I accepted my call, I figured the next natural step would be to go to seminary. And, there is a great one down the road from where I grew up. But, God has other plans. So, here I am now, preparing to move across the country alone, following God’s call.
“I’m terrified. And, I don’t even know all the reasons why, but I am,” I said to him at one of our meetings where we talked about ministry, life, and anything and everything random that came to our minds (literally, the most random conversations happen at these meetings.). So, he challenged me to make a list of my fears. To write them down. Because naming them makes them easier to defeat. (And, it makes it easier for him to tell me why they’re stupid). So, I did. On my list was the fear that I was not qualified for any of this, would not succeed, or was making the wrong choice. But, at the top of my list was the fear I would be broke and homeless (Or something like that). Because moving across the country, going to seminary, and trying to figure out where I belong is not easy– it’s terrifying. And doing it all alone (well, not technically because, God) is even more terrifying.
So, I made this list, with money at the top. And then, a few weeks later at youth group, we took the teens through an Easter prayer experience. And at one of the stations, we had them nail to a cross all the sins, fears, doubts, distractions, or whatever that were holding them back from being in full and complete relationship with Christ. And, in that moment, I realized I had never fully given Him my fear and doubt. So, I did. Everything on my list of fears I nailed to the cross. And I was so at peace. Because I finally had fully given him my fears, insecurities, feelings of inadequacy, and questions.
And then, two days later I got a phone call. I was sitting in the library, I had just gotten out of work, and the last thing I wanted to do was talk to one of the seminaries I had applied to on the phone. So, when Seattle called me, I almost didn’t pick up the phone. But, I felt something tell me I should pick up the phone. So, I did. And, that phone call reminded me of God’s goodness.
“We would like to offer you full tuition. All your educational expenses will be covered.” I was shocked. I kind of felt like I was in a movie. I almost cried in the middle of the library. Like, this does not happen to people like me. It happens to geniuses, or people who have overcome some great feat in their life, or people who have somehow made themselves stand out. But it doesn’t happen to average people like me. It had to be a prank, or my life must have suddenly become a scene from a movie. Because this doesn’t happen.
But, what if it does? What if it does because God is so great? His goodness is forever abounding. He never ever calls you somewhere and abandons you. He is good. And I am reminded of His goodness over and over again as I continue in this journey of life. He answers prayers. It is nothing I did that got me into school with a full ride. It is all God’s goodness. It is His equipping me with whatever gifts and strengths I have that have gotten me to this point, and will continue to get me places. It’s Him knowing exactly what affirmation I need to tell me that it is His will for me to leave and not just my own selfish desires. And it is His goodness that have affirmed my gifts and strengths and allowed amazing opportunities to be put in front of me. It is His goodness that has reminded me just how much I need Him and how terrifying yet also exciting it is to follow His call.
So, I am living the truth that God answers prayer. That He does not call you somewhere, or to do something, and then abandon you. That He knows exactly what you need and when you need it. And I am living the truth that all the time..
God is good.