When you cry out to the Father in desperation for more of Him,
when you vow that you want whatever He has at any cost,
when you say, "I'm yours. You can have me,"
when you pledge your obedience and faithfulness,
when you lay your life down,
when you hand him a blank check,
He hears. He sees. He knows.
But, God is a god of process.
He loves the journey.
Because it's in the journey that we are made; that's where we begin to know him, and our hearts become like his.
So, you might not see the plan right away.
If you're me, you might take a leap of faith, and then spend three years praying that same prayer: I'm yours. You can have me. Call me and I'll follow.
But, during those three years he'll be shaping you, molding you, presenting you with little moments to be faithful and obedient. He'll be teaching you, and preparing you, breaking down walls and building you new again. But, most of all he'll be proving himself worthy of your trust and affection. He'll be revealing his Father heart to you, and wooing you with his furious love.
Before the calling, comes the knowing Him,
because He's far more concerned with your heart, than what you can do for Him.
So, he'll shape you and draw you close, and then all of a sudden, he'll ask you a few hard questions: Did you really mean what you said? Is your life really mine? Will you really get out of the boat? Do you really want all that I have for you?
And if you've come to know him at all, you'll answer the same way I did with a resounding: "YES! Whatever the cost, I am yours. "
And then things get real:
"What about your health, Lauren? Are you willing to lay down time and energy to take better care of yourself? I think you should start training for a half-marathon trail run."
A daily commitment to running for hours on end? I. Hate. Running. Who does he think I am? What good will that do?
My yes got a little smaller, "Yes, God. I don't see the point, and I hate running, but I'll do it."
"What about your singleness, Lauren? Can I have that? I know how much you treasure it, but I've got something better."
Shoot. Right to the thing I hold most dear.
My yes got smaller still, "Yes, God. I know you have only good in mind for me. You'll have to do a miracle in my heart, but I'll trust you even with that."
"And finally, what about your summer plans and all your money? People might oppose it and won't understand, but I want you to go to India by yourself to volunteer in a hospital and leprosy clinic."
Oy. God, these things are hard.
My yes was soft and quiet, "Yes, God."
The majority of people will tuck tail and run in the face of hard things,
but I'm learning that it's in the midst of those things that our greatest and sweetest rewards can be found.
It's in the running of miles upon miles that I've learned about commitment, and how to stick with something when I'm tired, hurt, or burnt out. I've broken through mental barriers that held me back from so many things, learned invaluable life lessons, and realized who my greatest encouragers in life are.
It's in the dating of an incredible man that I've learned to conquer roughly 10,000 fears. In this I've been sanctified, challenged, humbled, and have come to know God more fully than before. I have had more fun, more laughs, more experiences, more joy, and more goodness because of our choice to pursue relationship in admiration of each other and obedience to the Lord.
And it's in the saying yes to a summer overseas, even when my bank account, practical mind, and all logic scream, "No!", that I've already learned about the Lord's provision, my misguided poverty mindset, and once again, who my biggest encouragers in life are.
There are gems hidden in hard places, and when we get out of the boat in obedience, he'll lead us straight to them.
But, first we have to know Him, because we'll never get out of the boat if we don't.
Once you know Him you'll realize that the boat is boring, not as safe as it appears, and pales in comparison to the exciting life of walking on water, chasing after more of Him.
No matter the cost-pride, image, money, reputation, people, things, jobs, plans, homes, or, the big one for me, dignity-it will be hard, but saying yes to Jesus is such a joy, so freeing, and so. so. worth. it.
Stay tuned for updates from India!
P.S. If you accidentally stumbled on this blog in search of Havilah Cunnington's bible study called I Do Hard Things, you can find it here. It looks great.