Wednesday, June 13, 2012

From Leaps to Steps

Imagine going to Africa for a summer and coming back without a huge, impressive story to tell. Something that I want to be able to say at the end of the summer is that my trip was absolutely life-changing, that God worked in incredible visible ways, that my spiritual life grew in leaps and bounds. These types of things have been on my mind recently. And they are wonderful to pray for, but I was getting to the point that I was worried and felt stressed out that something crazy-out-of-the-ordinary was not happening. Yes, I'm enjoying exploring different aspects of the culture, meeting lots of great people, and getting my feet wet in various areas but I was letting fear hinder me. My fear was that I would finish my trip and not be able to report that it totally changed my life. I feared that maybe it would be mediocre or that the trip would be less than I expected it to be.

As I was travelling to a village by boat a few days ago (I will post about that experience soon) I had a good conversation with a Zambian gentleman who challenged me to concentrate on the small things. He didn't know it but he talked through some that I had been struggling with. It was basically a mini-sermon on the boat ride. It was great. He was passionate about helping others grow in Christ. During our conversation he mentioned how people tend to want to jump to do BIG things for God. We want to go to Africa and be used in incredible ways that impress others and that make us feel accomplished! He was right. I was convicted but was also encouraged to focus on the small things and to be faithful with them. This removes some of the pressure of waiting for something huge to come along. Maybe God wants to work in ways that are not so obvious or that just take longer to realize how he is working. Yes, God is working in wonderful ways here and he is growing me in my walk with him but I cannot be obsessed with waiting for one or two incredible events to happen. I might miss out on the beauty and blessings and growth that happen in daily life. And God uses seemingly small things to change our lives such as some of the conversations I've had recently. The man I talked to used the illustration that if we try to take huge leaps we will be clumsy and off balance. If we are willing to take small steps toward what God is preparing for us then we will be steady on our feet and will learn how to humbly and passionately live for Him.

This is not supposed to be a disappointment or a downer even though that is what it feels like sometimes. It is meant to be a reminder and a challenge to seek God without being distracted when there is a lack of "fireworks" events. Praise God that he works in other ways as well! I love my faithful God. And whatever He continues to do with my time in Africa it will be rich and beautiful and I want it to honor Him with however He chooses to work. Please pray that I will learn how to faithfully walk closely to Him even if the steps seem small.

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