Not Interested in Being Independent
Does the title confuse you? I'm a recent college graduate, ready to start life on my own. I'm at a stage in my life where I get to embrace my independence and tackle the world to make my dreams come true. Yet I'm not interested in that? Correct.
Inspiration for this first official post comes from Matthew 14:22-33:
"And Peter answered Him, 'Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.' He said 'Come.' So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus."
In this support-raising situation, I've stepped out of the boat much like Peter. I had asked God a while back to make it clear if He was calling me to this ministry. I believe He has done this more and more over time. Just like Jesus called Peter out to take a step of faith, I must take a step of faith out of my "boat" where I'm comfortable, and I must be vulnerable and completely trust Christ in whatever happens during the process.
In verse 29, we see that Peter did have success. He walked to Jesus. I similarly came out strong at the beginning of raising support. As expected though, I've hit rough times. Times where, even though I wouldn't readily admit this, I may be having doubt. Not doubt in the sense of feeling like I made a mistake or that I'm no longer called to do this - that has certainly NEVER gone away - but doubt that comes as a result of discouragement. Discouragement that comes from things I would initially describe as "letdowns," where I had expected one thing and something else totally different happened. I must remember, even though my desire is that my heart will always be lined up with God's heart, that
1. I'm still sinful and "fleshly" so I'm inevitably going to make wrong choices (and there's grace for that), but
2. Even though I'm SO certain of this and truly believe that I do share God's heart for this ministry & lost college students, that doesn't mean I'll get all of the details correct in between. Even if the end result is the same - that God's Will is lined up with my desires - that doesn't mean my heart for the process along the way will be lined up with what He wills.
I'd love this whole process to go as smoothly as possible: to gain my team of ministry partners in record time and have no fear or wonder as to what is going to happen next. But would that adequately allow me to grow in my faith and dependence on Christ during this time? Honest answer? No.
"But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, 'Lord, save me!' Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying 'Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?'"
Verse 30 changes things for Peter when he sees the wind and becomes scared. He doubts and begins to sink. In my situation, especially with a tiny bit less than a month left, I've experienced fears. These questions of "Lord, where is it going to come from? Where are the people who are going to share in my vision for this ministry and who are meant to be on my team?"
I think these feelings and fears about all of the uncertainties are normal. However, may I NEVER, EVER EVER, remove my eyes from being fixed on Christ. I love that in this passage, it says that as soon as Peter said "Lord, save me," Jesus immediately reached out his hand and "took hold of him." Then Jesus asked why Peter doubted in the first place.
Jesus is also causing me to refocus on these things. Even though there have been times of fear and discouragement, I've also experienced moments where He has so evidently proved Himself and His faithfulness. Those are the times that make me ask myself, "why did I even fear or doubt?" Yet, when a hard time rolls around again, I find myself (much like Peter) doubting God.
"And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, 'Truly You are the Son of God.'"
The passage ends with the disciples worshipping Christ and saying, "Truly You are the Son of God." Like I said, I keep having those moments too, where He reveals and proves Himself to me time & time again.
It's not going to go smoothly. It's just not. But when I fix my eyes on Him, especially in those times of doubt, I trust that He will not hesitate to immediately rescue me as well, all while showing me how faithful, loving, gracious & merciful He is (among other things).
That is why I wouldn't change this process.
Yes it's hard, but I get to be in a place where I have no other choice BUT to be fully dependent on Jesus, and in an area where it's the hardest to be dependent: finances.
Henri Nouwen in The Spirituality of Fundraising puts it this way:
"Money conversations are a greater taboo than conversations about sex or religion ... The reason for the taboo is that money has something to do with that intimate place in our heart where we need security..."
Because of this, we fear dependence.
Nouwen goes on to say,
"The pressure in our culture to secure our own future and to control our lives as much as possible does not find support in the Bible. Jesus knows our need for security. He is concerned that because our security is such a deep human need, we do not misplace our trust in things or people that cannot offer us real security."
Matthew 6:19-21 and Luke 16:13 back this up.
Yes, it's scary! Are you kidding me?! I'm essentially called to do the very opposite of what my culture is all about. Get a job and lots of money! Make sure you're secure! Look out for number one! The American Dream! Have we ever thought about the fact that our culture is basically in line with our human nature? Just worry about yourself. Don't worry about serving others. Individualism. This is not supported in the Bible.
And AGAIN, yes, this can be terrifying. But with this new stage in life, I can say that I have a job where I have the opportunity to be completely dependent on Christ. Dependent? What?! We're not supposed to do that!
No. I'm learning to embrace it. Because in this process, Jesus is drawing me closer to Himself and I get to experience Him more genuinely and intimately. And BEYOND that, I get to invite others to PARTNER with me and do this WITH me. Crazy things happen when you have a perspective change, right?
May I always be fixed on Him.