Previously, I discussed why I was stepping away from the world of social media. Now, I follow that up with stepping away of a different kind.
Having released myself of a few distractions (not just social media), and committing to fill my mind with the things of the Lord on a more regular basis, I fully believe God had been planning to do a great work in and through me. I was given the opportunity through my school to go on a missions trip over this previous Easter vacation. I haven’t been on a trip of this nature since 1996, so I knew that I’d be stretched in my thinking, world view, and faith. Between March 29 and April 6, our team of 16 students and 4 adults went down to the country of Belize.
For too long, I allowed myself to get comfortable in my American bubble. There were plenty of opportunities to go on other mission trips, but I always found excuses not to go. I allowed other non-essential things to get in the way of living out God’s calling on all of our lives (Matthew 28:19-20). But there’s something interesting about mission trips. You plan, prep, create, get crafty, organize games, raise funds, plan skits, etc., yet the true work that is completed is in the hearts of those you meet, and strangely enough, your own. The biggest lesson I walked away from Belize with is this: In order for God’s abundant joy and peace to overwhelm you, you MUST remove the clutter from your life!
We did a lot of our ministering in and around the town of Dangriga (probably one of the poorest communities in Belize). To see how much the people in this town live without, yet how much joy lies within was amazing! The old saying rang very loud and clear, “You can’t buy love.” And to that I would add happiness. Our school has developed a great relationship with one of the local pastors and his family in the neighboring town of Pomona. We visited their house a couple of times. From the American perspective, if their home was located in America, it would immediately be condemned, boarded up, and bull-dozed. They’ve got very little and 10-11 people living in the house. The parents have to make daily decisions on which of their children will eat that day. Sometimes going a few days without food. But this is what’s amazing. In the absence of “stuff”, this family lives what it says in Nehemiah 8:10, “…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
As I needed to step away from social media and other things to clear my life and mind of certain distractions, God also had it in His plan to have me step away from the life I knew to find what His joy really looks like. When we get to a place in our lives when we feel as if we have nothing, it’s at that point when God will do some of His most amazing work. It’s the paradox of Christianity. We must live without, in order to experience the fullness of His riches. We must be brought low, in order for the Lord to lift us on high.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9
It’s funny. I had the full intention of going down to minister and bless those we came in contact with. And my prayer is that those we ministered to feel the love of Christ long after we’ve gone. My prayer is that the gentleman I had the pleasure of leading to the Lord will continue to walk steadfastly and be encouraged by fellow believers. Along with those, my prayer is that I will not fall back in to the bubble of American contentment. My desire is to continue in this process of stepping away, in order to draw closer to the Lord.
What do you need to step away from? Social media? Certain friends that bring you down? Alcohol? Drugs? Complacency? May I encourage you to take the step of faith that you need to in your life. Get in to God’s Word and allow Him to take you where He wants you to go. It might be out of your comfort zone. It may even lead you out of the country. But I can guarantee you, whatever direction the Lord takes you, it’ll lead directly to His heart.
Rak Chazak!! God bless you!!