God hit the reset button on my life the summer I was 22. I wasn’t happy; I made unhealthy choices; I felt entitled. I had backed myself into a corner, so I did something I hadn’t done in years – I prayed for God’s guidance.
Two days later, Pam Coghlan, Incarnation’s Youth Minister, called me in Alabama asking if I would fly to Texas and then get on a bus with teenagers traveling to Jonathan Creek for a Bible Camp. I knew Pam’s sister from another camp I volunteer at each year and felt like this was an opportunity God had placed before me. Before I knew it, I was getting a passport to fly to Guatemala with the youth group and then packing my belongings because I accepted an offer to work full-time with the kids of Incarnation. In the matter of a month, I went from not even talking to God to relying on Him completely. This was my chance to dig deep and figure out what God is asking of me.
Not knowing anyone in Dallas gave me space and time to listen to God – something I hadn’t ever thought of before. There was fulfillment and contentment from this experience with God. When I was homesick, I would feel his hand on my back guiding me forward. I decided to be honest and tell God when I am fearful, angry, or anxious and didn’t worry about praying the right way. The Nicene Creed and prayer of confession from Incarnation’s worship services were also significant in developing a comfort in and a discipline of prayer. Prayer calms my mind and gives me peace that replaces the burdens I bring to God.
To be God-centered rather than self-centered is hard. I think that is why God gave us Jesus – to humanize His experience so we can conform to His image. We know in our darkest times, God is with us to show us the way. Too often though, people do not see a need to lean on Him when things are good. I use to be one of those people, but not anymore.
The ministry life at Incarnation has helped me restart my faith. It is not just God’s eyes that are on me. The innocence and genuine nature of the kids I work with have inspired me to live by the words ‘glory be to God.’ They have the will and desire to be led by God. Now, I find myself trying to be the best that I can be and look for gratitude in the small things. I am thankful every day for the chance to be here, with these kids, in this place, serving God.
Do you live without fear?