Tuesday, July 14, 2015

burn the ship(s)

Aloha friends!

I hope that you're all having a wonderful Tuesday. I have had every intention of posting at least weekly updates while here in Kona but somehow I blinked and it's already been two weeks. And, goodness, what a breath of fresh air these few weeks have been.

YWAM has been the BEST thing that I could have ever decided to do for myself during this time in my life. I was so over Alabama in general and still having such an internal struggle with Nashville falling through. I came to Kona to get away, in a sense, and get myself together.

If you have been a reader here for any length of time, you know the basic story of how I came to know the Lord. I was saved when I was 5, baptized a few weeks later and never looked back. I never turned to partying or drinking or sex to find fulfillment in my life because I was always fulfilled by the Lord. I didn't need any of the "worldly" stuff that others seemed to turn to continually. I'm thankful for that. I'm thankful that I don't have some magnificent turn away from evil and towards the Lord story. I let that hinder my walk with Christ for a while because I thought I couldn't make a difference in others lives because my life simply was too boring. Too normal. Too "Christian-y" for anyone to want to listen. But, goodness, was I wrong.

That is a lie straight from the enemy to think that my (or your story) doesn't matter. Maybe you were the type A Christian like me. Maybe you use to be a prostitute or a drug dealer before you met the Lord. Maybe you've never done anything "bad" but you're living safely and not really impacting either. I want to challenge you to be more brave. To tell your story--because it matters. It matters a lot. 

I've learned to really value my time here in Kona. I have to wake up at 4:45 everyday and most days I'm not done with what we are doing until after dinner time. There IS downtime, too, though. I ran into Life Way a few weeks before leaving and just grabbed a couple of books that looked like they would be good to read. Yes, I know it's not okay to judge a book by it's cover, but I totally do it. And, you know what? About 89% of the time, I'm a pretty good judge, too. :) 

"Let's All Be Brave" is easily the most compelling, challenging and rewarding book I've ever read besides the Bible. I read the entire book in less than 2 hours. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to read what Annie (the author) was going to say next. Let me just tell you--I learned that I am NOT brave. Sure, lots of people have been so encouraging and sweet and emailing me about moving here for a few months--but I'm not brave. Not entirely. I'm working on it. Annie is from a small town in Georgia, moved to Nashville to pursue her dreams, moved to Scotland to minister for a while and is now back in Nashville. Oh, and she's friends with Hilary from Lady A and Instagrammed a Sam Hunt video. So, she's a winner in my eyes without ever meeting her. Anyways....the book pours out her struggles, her insecurities and her weaknesses. BUT, it also pours out her strong points and victories. I know that I "push" artists to listen to from time to time on here but I don't think I've ever felt such a need to rely to y'all to READ a book. GO BUY THIS BOOK. It's amazing.

Reading through the pages I realized how small of a role I've been letting myself play in my own life. I've been letting God play a small role, too. I've been learning since arriving here that there is a HUGE world out here beyond Montevallo, Alabama and my gracious--it's a beautiful thing. I have had such blinders on to my little community, to my comfortable & nice life that I haven't been living to my full potential. And not that I'm there yet. Or not that I'll ever be--because I don't think any of us ever reach our full potential.

Annie mentioned a Steven Curtis Chapman song called "Burn the Ships." It's a narrative song about a Spanish fleet setting sail in the 1500's and how once they arrive to the destination they end up BURNING THE SHIPS. That's the ultimate "no turning back" moment. 

[We've come this far, burn the ships]

And, it just kind of hit me. That lyric more than any other lyric in the song. How many ships do you need to burn in your life? How many ships do I need to burn?

-I need to burn the ship of insecurity.
-I need to burn the ship of "needing" material things.
-I need to burn the ship of broken hearts because certain things don't work out.

The ships can be literal things you need to burn. The ships can be figurative things as well. And, you know how you burn those ships? You get brave. And you just do it. 

I'm not saying that I've burned the ships in my life that I need to burn yet. I don't know how long that will take. It'll probably take a lot more than 12 hours after reading a book encouraging me to do so--that's for sure. I am saying that I know recognize the need to burn certain ships in my life. I think that the first step is admitting (aka realizing) right?
I've fallen so much more in love with the Lord since I've arrived here a few weeks ago. Every one here has a burning desire to take the gospel of Christ to the Nations. That's such a refreshing thing to experience. I'm learning how to be a better disciple of the Lord. I'm learning how to be a missionary everywhere I go. That may mean I'll end up in Africa for the rest of my life. That may mean that I end up in Nashville like I've always dreamed. I do think that Nashville is still on the horizon for me. I don't think that the Lord would put such a dream in my heart and then not see it through. All I am saying is that I want to be brave. Maybe being in Nashville or Birmingham or Montevallo is me being brave--in a safe way. Another thing I've learned since being here, though, is that life is short. I don't want to be brave in a safe way. I want to be able to answer the Lord with confidence when I die that I gave my all, that I went where he called me, that I was the missionary that he wanted. I want to burn the ships that are going to hinder this from happening. I want people to see the love of Christ in me.

So, my long winded update and summary is simply this. I want to challenge each one of you to be brave, too. I want you to burn the ships you need to burn. Break up with that guy. Walk away from the friends that are holding you back. Book that trip. Call your parents. Say that "I'm sorry." Don't be brave in a safe way. 

I may be 5,000 miles away from everyone and everything I know but I'm never more than a email away to pray for anyone who needs it. I hope you have the best, BRAVEST week you've ever experienced.


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