It's almost time to head to bed, but I'm fighting my sleepy tendencies to share a little about the day. I just finished walking down by the lakefront on a beautiful Madison evening. After a full day of seminars on topics like InterVaristy's vision for the campus and how to tell stories well about God's transformational work through IV, we got to debrief the day with my small group, who I'm growing to love more with each session. We sat in the aura of the Wisconsin state capital building, talked, prayed, swatted mosquitoes, and even kicked a soccer ball on the plush capital lawn! (go USA tomorrow!!)
Yesterday was a little overwhelming. I showed up late, as you can read from earlier, and I missed the whole check-in/mingle phase. Thus, I walked right into the opening address and found my spot amongst 130+ people at my small group's table. Surprisingly I was initially uncomfortable sitting in silence at a table with eight strangers. I would normally relish this opportunity, but something was different within me. As I listened to Keith set the tone for what is slated to be a transformational ten-day experience, my pride immediately reared back at the idea of vulnerability, change and growth. I found myself trying to isolate myself, judge my small group members, and categorize my surroundings into understandable, familiar values.
It's amazing to see how the Lord can tear down even the strongest defenses we put up.
Very quickly I found comfort here. We finally got to break off into our small group for discussion, and felt so relieved to find out that we hadn't done introductions yet. From this initial sharing, I felt immediately warmer, and have not stopped growing in trust and love for the brothers and sisters in Christ with whom I'm sharing this conference.
Today I've come to realize where a lot of these feelings were coming from. I'm entering into a career where I'll be depending directly on God for my financial provision, through the donations of friends, family and churches. Now, it doesn't sound so bad when you put it like that, but can I just plainly tell you something? It's scary. This past week in community group we talked about letting go of control, and if you want a tangible example of this idea, try raising support. I'm not even very far into the process yet, but I can already feel the effects starting to work on me.
We've received so much wisdom today, I wish that I could share it all. I'll just say that there are people here with innumerable years of fund development experience, collectively, and tonight a few of them shared from their personal fears and even failures associated with the process. They also cast hope and vision through the beautiful moments in their fund development stories where the only thing they could do was praise God for His provision and goodness. It's scary, but it's exciting.
I'm excited to really depend on God. How incredible would that be? What would I even look like?
I'm excited to be free of the illusion that I've earned everything in my life.
I'm excited to have the opportunity to share my passion.
I'm excited to give people the chance to build something bigger than themselves.
I'm excited to see God transform lives--those on the campus, and those I get to meet with, who make the work on campus possible.
Although I'm overcoming many of the insecurities and myths that I've fallen into recently, I know that it will be a constant battle to keep these forces at bay once I get back home and hit the work again. I will need so much prayer in this area, along with others. I really can't do it on my own. If you're down, let me know. I'll keep you updated on how you can pray for me throughout this process.
I probably don't say it enough, but I want to be praying for you, too. Whether you're at summer camp, one of my family members, studying abroad overseas, working a local summer job, or even here at ONS with me, let me know what's going on and how to pray for you.