Friday, September 2, 2011

Live Your Story

I'm an emotional wreck today...but of the best kind. I'm not sure what it is about today, but my heart is so full... so expectant. 

Two years ago on September 7th I flew to Uganda - my first time setting foot on African soil. Next week on September 7th I will fly to Ethiopia. It's impossible to describe what has happened in the past two years in my life and in my heart. You might call it revelation or awakening. Whatever you call it, it has changed my world, my faith and my desires. It has made me more alive than I've ever been and has brought me into a fuller understanding of who God is. These are not small things. I am not who I was.

I listened to my friend, Tom Davis tell his story last night and was struck with the redemptive beauty of what God creates out of our stories. You and I are stories in progress. "The End" won't be written on our lives until we meet God face to face someday. He is writing our stories. The God of the universe is authoring our lives. Through conflicts, valleys, mountaintops, the mundane...He is writing something amazing with us. And all of our stories are a part of a larger volume that is shaping the direction of the world.

It's been said many times before, but it bears repeating: We are not meant to live our lives on the sidelines, watching a great event unfold. Our lives are to be part of the action, part of the story. We weren't designed to sit in a seat shoving our faces full of foot longs and nachos while the people on the field sprint, kick, push and score. We are not meant to be onlookers! Even Adam and Eve at the beginning of creation were given a purpose! I have been an onlooker most of my life...thinking that what other people were doing was great, but it wasn't something I'd be good at, or it wasn't anything I had a desire to do. So I stayed glued to my seat while the excitement of participating in something important blew right past me.

The past two years have shaken me out of my idleness. There is absolutely nowhere else I'd rather be than in the middle of the the thick of the story. Because God doesn't just write a story to write a story. He writes stories with our lives because He does things through them - through us! He draws people to Him, He brings people out of darkness, He feeds and clothes people, He fills them with joy, He shows people their value, He redeems broken, ugly things and makes them beautiful.

At the crux of being a willing participant in the story God has for us is surrendering. I have had to set aside all of my ideas of what my life should look like and say "God, I want YOU and what YOU want for me more than I want anything else in my life. There is nothing else I desire - just You." I don't want to settle for ordinary, when God is calling me to a crazy, wild adventure with Him. Does it scare me? YES!!!!!!!!!!!! When we look at the people in the Bible who were close friends with Jesus, it didn't end too well for most of them...beheadings, prison stays, beatings, hanging upside down on crosses...being stoned to death. As they walked with Jesus they often didn't know where their next meal was coming from or where they would lay their head or what a single day would hold. BUT. Their willingness to be a part of the story Jesus had for them changed the course of history. A band of 12 men started the spread of the gospel all over the world. They healed the sick. They spoke boldly and did miraculous things in the face of danger because they believed living out God's story for them was more important than anything that could harm their physical bodies.

I want that. Even when the world may look at me and think the way I live my life is crazy and doesn't make sense and that I'm more than a little "out there". I want God's story for me more than I want my own comfort. More than I want safety and security. More than I want the American dream. More than I want to be liked.  More than I want the things that make me happy. My happiness and joy is found in living out the story God is writing with my life.

This trip to Ethiopia is just another chapter in my story, but I have this unshakable sense that it will be a defining one. I have a high anticipation of how God is going to show up...I'm not just excited about the trip - I am expectant and hungry for what God will do and how He will reveal Himself. I just want more of Him. I want people there to experience Him in profound and real ways that leave them no room for doubt. Heck, I want that for myself!!

So, I'm embracing my story - the one that has already been written (despite some of its ugliness and darkness) and the continued story that I have yet to experience. God is good, guys. Even when our circumstances are not, God is. And He's worth everything. It's all trash apart from Him.

Praying that we not only embrace the story God is writing with our lives, but that we pursue it, that we seek it, that we run after it with all that we are.

Psalm 107
Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love!

1 comment:

  1. Amy...I'll be praying for you as you head to ET. I'm so glad God has let our stories touch so that we can encourage each other from time to time to live it all out for Him! Were you able to pick up a copy of The Gift of Pain? What an incredible book! Love you, girl...go share Jesus, as I know you will.