A few weeks ago, my family and I spent some time together in Rome. My daughter Rose has been studying abroad there this semester and the rest of us joined her for Thanksgiving. Leading up to the trip I was excited to see Rose and be with my family, but if I’m honest, there was a part of me that didn’t want to go at all. Part of me very much wanted to stay home.
Sometimes God has to pull you out of your comfort zone in order to bring you home to Him.
I was tired of traveling, that was part of it, but I also just had a lot to get done. I was focused. I was effective. What I was doing was meaningful. And between work, 4word, and my burgeoning Christmas “to do” list, my load felt heavy. Too heavy to stop and take a break. Nevertheless, the family was going to Rome, and off I went, thinking that it would at least be some good family time.
And it was, but it was much more than that.
Because God had a plan for this time. He had some big lessons for me, and He needed me away from work, away from ministry, away from “to-do” lists, and able to focus my full attention on Him.
Once I did, He enlivened and refreshed my soul in ways I hadn’t even imagined possible.
Listening to the Pope, seeing where Peter and Paul were jailed, and experiencing the Sistine Chapel all brought me to a place where God felt so physically real. And He gave me some big things to think about. I’d like to share a few of them with you:
He wants me to be in relationship with him more than growing and responding to the demands of 4word. This is, without a doubt, work that God gave me to do. But it can’t take the place of Him in my life. I am in my “giftedness” when I spend endless hours on 4word that don’t even feel like minutes; but if I let 4word get in the way of my relationship with Him, it is a sin and He doesn’t want this for me.
I need to worry less about what I can to do for Him, and more about who He is. That means taking a break from twelve hour days to be with Him in quiet time, rest, and be with the family He gave me. I need to rest in the fact that He will provide.
God gave me 4word, but He wants me to do more. Specifically, I need to reach out to those who haven’t heard the great news. 4word is a pretty comfortable way for me to share my faith and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I’ve realized that I need to get out of my comfort zone sometimes. God put my son, Christian, and I together one afternoon alone visiting the Sistine Chapel and walking for a few hours. We had a chance to talk about sharing our faith. I watched God work through Christian as he shared the gospel to an owner of a convenience store where we stopped. Watching my son take that bold step in faith was revelatory; it made me see that I can and should be doing more to share His word with those around me.
I’ve had similar experiences with Lopez Lomong, the young man that God has led me to mentor. Time and time again, I have watched as Lopez exceeds my expectations and boldly lives out the calling God has for him. Perhaps that is one of my favorite aspects about mentoring and why 4word created a Mentoring Program – the results are never quite what you expect! It’s so refreshing to step back and watch God work, which I was reminded of while in Rome.
I wanted to get things done, but God wanted me to let go.
I thought I saw the whole picture, but God opened my eyes to more.
I wanted to stay home, but God brought me around the world, to come home to Him.
Is God pushing you out of your comfort zone? What could you learn from letting go?