Saturday, January 4, 2014

Stop Trying to Find Yourself, and Let's Get Lost

A new year, a new blog post. Seems appropriate, right? No, I'm not making a resolution to resurrect this blog, or to post every day, or any other mega-goal that I wouldn't possibly be able to fill. In fact, what I'm about to post (or you're about to read) doesn't really fit under the theme of this blog at all as to what's going on in our lives. However, it already exists, and God's been laying words on my heart to post, so instead of launching a new blog, I'm using this for the time being. For the past year and a half, I've had the blessing of leading a group of college women in studying God's word, and this is my new year's message for them. It simply flowed right out of my on a plane on the way home on 1/1/14. Some might call it word vomit. I make no promises.

Give yourself fully to God, so that He may give His love to others through you.

College is often described as a time to "find yourself," but I would challenge you to lose yourself instead. Lose yourself to God, and He will do incredible things through you.

I remember graduating high school and facing college with a wide-eyed anticipatory stare, like an artist would approach a stark, white canvas. Feeling like I was independently equipped to conquer the world, I set out to find myself: find my career path, find my personality, find my values, find my husband, find my future. Alone on this scavenger hunt journey, I quickly found myself...lost. Without the directional guidance of familiar friends, family, teachers and an environment I'd gotten really good at, and without a conscious thirst to walk closely with The Lord, I was a nomad, a wanderer who was miserably failing at the world's promise of finding myself in college. Maybe you've felt that way. Maybe you feel that way now. Maybe you're 30 years old and feel just as lost, if not more, than you did at 18. Daily you seek and search for the world's promised path, and the only thing you're finding is yourself more lost.

In Jeremiah 29:11, God promises, "For I know the plans I have for you...plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." I'll admit, this is one of the most often quoted scriptures for those of us facing "quarter-life crises." Often, I hesitate to use this verse in discipleship because I feel overly blessed by the plans I'm a part of, and can imagine the jaded "thank you" from someone who sees me as having it all together. Bible thumping here, I cling to this verse daily. You see, walking a path with God doesn't promise finding the plans we have for ourselves, or the plans the world promises at certain mile markers of life. Instead, walking a path with Him promises to lead us quickly in the exact opposite direction.

Hold up...God wants to take me away from my family, friends, hopes and dreams? Who would sign up for that?!? His promise is that the plans He has for us are so much sweeter. By walking away, we can love better and more freely. "In fact, the more completely you devote yourself to Me [God], the more freely you can love people (Jesus Calling)." Instead of finding yourself, lose yourself in Him and be found! "The closer to Me you grow, the more fully you become your true self - the one I designed you to be (Jesus Calling)." You may feel like you are walking alone, on a solitary path, but the perfect Creator is drawing you closer to others in pure and reckless love; as He loves us.

Let's all stop trying to find ourselves, and instead, strive to lose ourselves in Christ. A new year, a new semester, a new job, a new city, whatever your blank canvas is, rejoice in it! Sit quietly with the Lord, lose yourself in His word, immerse your heart in solitary prayer, silently and constantly throughout every moment of every day.  God created us to love deeply, to do good works, and to carry out incredible plans (Ephesians 2:10). When we want to program our own GPS though, independent of His leading, we find ourselves lost off the grid, doing nothing but wearing ourselves out wandering. Seek God as the one true destination.

I will never be 18 again, facing college with wide eyes and high hopes. My prayer though, for me and for you, is that if we are trying so hard to find ourselves, we would throw up our white flags and, instead, throw ourselves into the arms of Jesus. A Savior who longs to lead our every step, to walk with us, to carry us and reveal to us not what we can do, but what He can do through us. Here's praying for a 2014 where we all get lost.

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