He is so amazing. Have you ever noticed how even when you're not devoting yourself to Him in the way that you should, He'll still show you something incredible or give you an unbelievable opportunity to talk about Him, share about Him, or encourage someone else?
And then you leave thinking, "God, why did you just choose me for that? I suck! I'm not doing what I should be doing, not spending the time in your Word that I need to be, but still you chose me for that conversation."
That happened to me this week. I sat in a coffee shop and ran into someone I hadn't talked to in four years and barely knew back then. All of a sudden, we're talking about Mexico. My eyes are welling up and they are telling me they are covered in chills. We're talking missions and God and how full He makes us when we are being obedient to Him. And then I'm driving home thinking, "thank you God. That even when you don't need me one little bit, you still let me be a part of THIS."
A common phrase at Influence this past weekend was "All the Things". It was used for, well, all the things -- and it has been rattling around in my brain while trying to put all the things God revealed to me into words.
Let me put it like this...
If you didn't already know: God is big.
He's bigger than big.
He made THAT!
You see, God doesn't need me to show Himself.
Does that make sense?
He can do it all on His own.
When you look at the photo above, God is obvious. His beauty is evident. And His power is undeniable.
But in spite of all that, He invites me -- He invites us -- to fall in step behind Him and allows us to show that glory and that beauty as well through our lives.
I learned many things at Influence. To put them all into a single post would be impossible. But it's the things that God has shown me since the conference that solidify and clarify the things I learned in that weekend.
Barrett Ward, from Fashionable (which I will posting about separately later), led the session that I believe impacted me most. They were all amazing -- both the strategy and life sessions -- and God taught me so much, but Barrett's session got my skin all kinds of tingly... in a reallllly good way.
In his session, Barrett led us to figure out and list our passions and purpose through some really insightful questions. As I looked over my answers, I saw a lot of repeating themes. As I put a label to the things I love, I realized that, while maybe I never verbally quantified my purpose, I've known it all along. And I do think it's pretty evident.
The best question he asked is this (and it's a pretty simple question):
What gets you excited?
He then followed up with a list of questions to get more detailed, but that's the question that stuck with me. What makes your eyes go teary and your skin cover in chill bumps when you talk about it? What's the thing that you're so passionate about, so excited about, that when you take a breath you realize you've monopolized the conversation with your zeal?
For me, it's missions. I could talk about Mexico for 25 hours a day. (see what I did there?). Missions is my passion.
So, what's my purpose? What has God gifted me with? What do I feel spurred on to do? And you know what? My passion and my purpose kind of feel like the same thing. But they aren't, exactly.
My passion is for missions.
My purpose is to make missionaries.
Don't mis-hear me. God makes missionaries.
But I feel that he has given me the passion, and in turn the purpose, of encouraging or maybe even squeezing the missionary out of people.
So, how do you know if God has made you a missionary?
Matt 28 says that Jesus came and told His disciples (if you're a follower of Christ, this means you!) to "Therefore, go and make disciples (other followers of Christ) of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit."
Are you a Christian? Do you have a personal relationship with God through His son Jesus Christ?
Then guess what? You are a missionary!
Before you think I'm telling you it's time to move off to the bush of Africa (which, by the way, maybe you should), let me be clear:
Being a missionary can best be seen in the example of Paul, who's missionary journeys are chronicled in Acts. What did Paul do? He told people about Christ. He encouraged and taught new believers. He served the church. And, he was willing to go.
I think willingness is the key. If God asked you, would you give up all that you had to follow Him? Really think about it. Measure out what that would mean for you, for your family.
- Maybe that means moving, changing jobs, or taking a financial risk to do what He's calling you to do.
- Maybe it's sharing your faith on your blog at the risk of losing a few followers.
- Or maybe, it's doing something that makes NO SENSE TO YOU AT ALL. That's usually when God works best :) -- hello Noah!
One thing I heard mentioned or asked about repeatedly in Barrett session was this desire in the women to go and do and dream but... (fill in the blank).
I so badly wanted to stand up and proclaim: there is not but in Jesus!
... ok so that sounds kinda funny and I would have probably gotten a few laughs, but I mean it!
If we all did what "makes sense to us"... when would we ever do anything in Jesus' name? Everything we did would be in our name.
We're tiny. We're little.
Much like this little stone I found in while we were in Colorado a few a weeks ago.
It's not worth any money, and it's even a little bit dirty. Something that most would throw by the way side. Nothing spectacular. But I slipped into my pocket anyways. To me, it was special.
Maybe you don't feel like you have much worthy. Maybe you even feel a little bit dirty, or worry that you don't matter. Well let me tell you: To Jesus, YOU are special. YOU are a treasure that He felt so full of worth, He was willing to die for it.
"You is kind. You is smart. You is important."
- The Help
- The Help
And God has a purpose for your passion.
And that, my friends, is just one of the amazing things God reminded me of this weekend.