Follow the leader
Alright, I've been thinking and praying about what story I would share with you all next and it has taken a good while, but now I am sure about what I’ll share.
Almost two years ago I was coming to the end of my two year commitment at the mission and began to think on where God would take me next. I had ideas of where I wanted to go, but hadn't heard his plan for what was next or if I even was to leave. It was a frustrating time, because I began to make plans without his input, and even worse I began to share those plans as if they were His plans.
It all started with going to the movies to see Barbershop 3 (great movie). After watching this movie I began doing research on Chicago, and through my research I became drawn to it. I learned that Chicago has a ridiculous amount of homeless youth, and the gun violence was out of control as well. So through this time period I convinced myself that this drawing was from God and He was calling me to go to Chicago next!
I began sharing this idea with others around me, they quickly supported me (probably because I sold it as if it was God's will). I shared with everyone around me besides Penny Dugan (Director of the Mission). I even went as far as researching properties out in Chicago for me to plant the ministry. I found a hotel that was for sale that needed some minor remodeling done to it. I began planning a train trip to visit the City and the hotel. I got guides and maps from my host parents and had my brother excited to go with me on this trip. Everyone was on board, but God!
Then one day I sat down with Penny to reveal my master plan to her. We talked for a while, I am not completely sure how the full conversation went. I do remember talking about how I didn't want to be in Newton for the rest of my life. When I finally said that out loud she responded with "Do you think I wanted to be in Newton?" She said "I'm a Florida girl and I miss my ocean!" she then said "I love the people but I miss the coast!" When she said that it gave me some comfort, I then expressed my desire to go to Chicago. We talked some more and after that conversation I began to walk back to my room.
While walking back to my room in the midst of my stubbornness, I began to have a conversation with God. I told him that I still wanted to go to Chicago, then the Lord asked me a question: "What would you do in Chicago?" my response was quick and also revealed my heart. "I responded with "I would go out to eat at restaurants, and go to the movies". Then He asked "What do you do in Newton?" I responded with "go out to eat and go to the movies" and He said "Well, sit tight". I knew I wouldn't do anything in Chicago different than what I do here. I am not into the bar scene or clubs. I just go out to eat and to the movies.
The way this conversation revealed my heart was when He asked me the question it wasn't specific to what type of recreational activities will you do, He just asked simply "What would you do in Chicago?". I didn't answer with something about doing ministry on the street or feeding the homeless, handing out coats and developing a program for the ministry. I answered quickly with what was in my heart. Chicago for me wasn't a potential mission field it was an escape from a small town called Newton. It was ME wanting to go somewhere that seemed to have a lot more to offer than Newton. A city of lights and a skyline from a town with the tallest structure being a grain elevator.
I made the decision there to follow His instruction to: sit tight and wait on him. As I look back on that day and the days leading up to it, I am thankful that I didn't make that move and step out of his will. It makes me wonder how long it would have taken me to realize that I left his will, and to realize that He wasn't in my plans.
I think about the story in Luke 2:41. Mary, Joseph, and Jesus went to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. After the feast they set out towards home. The scripture says they went a day's journey supposing that Jesus was in the company, they then began to search among their relatives and acquaintances and did not find him. They then went a days journey back to Jerusalem to search for him for another three days. After they found him: sitting listening to the teachers and asking them questions. Mary asked him “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” and Jesus responds with: “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”.
How long would it have take for me to be in Chicago to realize God's plan was Newton? How much time would have been wasted? How much resources would have been wasted? How many people would I have had out of the will of God by following my lead? How long would I have striven to make something out of nothing? I can imagine how my stubbornness would have kicked in, and how hard I would have prayed against the devil thinking he was fighting my ministry. When all the while it was because I "supposed" that Jesus was in my company.
I leave you with this: don't make plans and then add God in like he is a secondary ingredient. Seek Him first and let Him guide you in every step. Don't go a days journey, or a years journey or set a five year plan without His say so.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Much love and until next time...
Do y'all thang homies!!
I am Marvin. The more you read these Blog posts the more you will learn about me. The more I write the more I will discover about myself.