Why? So That…

I had an interesting experience this week.

I interviewed for a job.

Not to change jobs, but more to add something to my already rather full plate.  But even though my plate is already quite full, when an opportunity comes up that has been on my mind for quite some time, I would be foolish not to go for it.

As I applied, I put it all in God’s hands.  Truth be told, from the moment that this particular position came to mind, I have left it in God’s hands.  Because, even though this would be a really cool thing, I know that if it isn’t in God’s plan for my life, then it will not happen.  And I will be ok with that.

To be honest, knowing that I’m doing my part to be willing, and leaving the rest up to God has given me a sense of ease and peace throughout the entire process.

So here’s the deal:

I suck at interviews.

Seriously.

Historically, I just have not been capable of presenting myself in the best way possible.  I get nervous, and even more awkward than normal.  And it’s just a flop.

I walk away feeling dejected, because deep down, I know that I just blew it.

So, to say that a great deal of prayer happened before this interview is an understatement.

My prayers basically went something like this:

God, give me the words.

And guess what?

He did!

But that’s not even close to the best part.  Because, I walked away from the interview knowing that I wasn’t the best candidate.  Not that I wouldn’t be amazing.  But I know that I am not the best candidate that they are interviewing.  I’m far from the most qualified.  I don’t have the experience.

There is a 99.99% chance that I will not be getting this job.

But I walked out of that interview with a huge amount of satisfaction about my part of the interview.

And we’re finally closing in on why this was such an amazing experience…I promise.

The person who interviewed me is someone I have known nearly my entire life.  She was one of my teachers growing up.  And I have worked with her, and for her now for almost 3 years.  But even with such a long history, she didn’t know me all that well.

She laughed at the fact that she asks everyone the same questions, to keep the playing field even.  She asked me to tell her about myself.  And as soon as I started talking about myself, and some of the things that I did after high school, her jaw hit the floor.  So in asking the question that she felt foolish asking, she found out a lot more about me.  In a really good way.  She didn’t realize that I had moved half way across the country.  Or why I made the decision to move back home.

She definitely didn’t realize that one of my most memorable moments growing up came during one of her classes.

But here is the really cool thing…

We talked about my motivation for applying for this job.

Which led to my motivation for doing many of the things that I do.

And that specific motivation has been on my mind a lot lately.

Why do I do the things that I do?

What is the outcome that I hope to get from doing the thing that I do?

To the point where I have written the following on my desk calendar at school:

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I did this so every single time I look at this, my own personal motivations come to mind.

Why?

Well it certainly isn’t money.  As I stated in my interview, if money were my greatest motivation, I would go down the street and work at McDonald’s because I would make more money.

Would a larger salary be nice?  Yes, yes it would.  To add a little more cushion to bank account.  So I wouldn’t have to rely on my parents for some help and support.  Yes, that would be fantastic.

But I do love my job.

So what is my motivation?  Besides the fact that this is where God has placed me for right now.

The “why” that I bring to work every day, the “why” that I take with me to youth group every week, is that I want to be able to give the kiddos that I work with something that I didn’t have growing up.

Yes, I had amazing parents.  I had youth group.  I had people that care about me.

What I didn’t have was the self-confidence in myself.  Nor did I have a firm understanding of who God was.  Or who I was to God.

So that…

So what is my expected outcome?  What is my goal?  What purpose could I possibly have in doing the things that I do?

I want these kids to be able to stand firm in their faith.  I want them to turn to God when times get tough.  Not to turn their back on their faith when life gets real, and things get hard.

I made bad, really stupid mistakes growing up.  I made bad, really stupid mistakes as an adult, too.

I want better for the people around me.  So they don’t go through the same struggles that I went through.

Because I truly believe that even though used the free will that God gave me to not just turn my back on Him and run away.  I lashed out.  I swore up and down countless times that there couldn’t possibly be a God.

I was dumb.  I was selfish.

Even though I did a lot of things that God isn’t thrilled about, I believe that He can turn all of those mistakes around, and use all of them for something positive.

And it isn’t just that he can use all of those stupid mistakes.

He is using them.

 

Life is an Adventure

Youth group: last night.  12 teens, 6 adults, sitting around my friends living room.  Awkward looks across the room. How is this going to go? Am I really prepared to do this?  

Of course I am.  

I love youth group.  

Stressful as they may be to work with at times, and yesterday was definitely a stressful day, I love working with teenagers.  

And the series that we are starting with is so much fun.  Life is an adventure.  

So here are the basics of it:

There seems to be this formula for being a Christian that we all think we have to follow to make it to heaven one day.  But look for more unique, or beyond the normal ways of spending time with God.

When asked what they thought of when asked how to spend time with God, we got a whole list of church answers.  You know what I’m talking about. Read my Bible. Pray. Go to church.  

Don’t get me wrong, I do think those things are important.  Because they are. But they are far from the only ways to spend time with God.  

Several people opened up last night that they struggle with reading the Bible.  They just simply struggle with being able to comprehend what it actually means, or the message that it is trying to convey.  I get it. Been there myself. Some days, I still am there myself.  Because when it gets into Deuteronomy and it keeps listing the rules over and over and over and OVER again, my eyes start to cross, and I simply start to wander off into la la land.  

It happens.

Don’t tell me you’ve never experienced it.

But there are strategies to help focus more, and to understand what the Bible is actually talking about.  For one, I started reading a Life Application Study Bible. So beyond actually reading what the Bible says, super smart people also tell us what’s actually going on, why it is important, and how you can apply principles that were established thousands of years ago, to life today.  For example, in my Old Testament reading I am currently in Exodus, and it’s the part where Moses is explaining all of the rituals that God commanded them to have in order to worship Him.  

The first few times I read this, I thought it was absurd.  And I didn’t understand it. And I got frustrated. But there was one comment in my Bible that has helped me tremendously.  People living at that time didn’t know how to worship.

Did you catch that?

Worshiping God was a completely brand new concept.  

So looking at this, reading this, from the perspective that I have, where people have worshiped God for thousands of years, we kind of know what to do.  

But back in the day, no one had any idea of what to do, or how to worship.  What they weren’t supposed to do, or wear, or anything.  

So knowing that one teeny, tiny piece of information makes complete sense.  So now I’m reading with that lens in place, and it is far less ridiculous.  

If you go back to the beginning of what I was writing in this post, you should recall that our discussion last night centered around the non-formulaic ways to spend time with God.  And then I brought up Exodus, and the very strict formula they were given to worship God. So why did things change? 

Easy.

Jesus.

Jesus changed everything.  

Jesus made this relationship possible. His life, his death, his sacrifice, made my life possible.

So…adventures.

The last big adventure I went on was near the end of summer, and I went on a short trip with 2 of my girlfriends from college, to celebrate our 20th anniversary.  Which just seems ludicrous. Because there is no possible way that I started college 20 years ago. Except, we did. So when we started planning this trip, and the location that we chose, it was mentioned that ziplining was available.  

My mom has even stated that she wanted to try ziplining sometime.

So I mentioned that I had never went, and I needed to check it off my bucket list.

I’m an idiot.

Because guess what?

I hate heights.  Like, really hate them.  A lot. Just thinking about it gives me heart palpitations.  And I might cry. Or pee my pants a little.

Ok, maybe not.  

So first of all, let me tell you one thing.  When we actually made the plans to go ziplining, I started praying.  A lot. Because I honestly wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make it.  So I prayed, and prayed, and prayed. Before, during, and after.  

If life, and my relationship with God, is an adventure, I think my experience ziplining describes it quite perfectly.  When I was standing on the platform, getting hooked up to the line, I was terrified. Absolutely terrified. I was scared to take that leap the very first time.  Because I had no idea what to expect. Am I really about to trust a harness and a little strip of cord to support me and carry me to the next platform? What is it going to feel like?  Am I going to vomit? I had no idea what to expect.  

For those of you who are tentative about beginning a relationship with God, you may feel much like I did standing on that platform.

But I lept.  And it was amazing.  

I landed on the next platform, that happened to be up a tree.  So we’re all standing on the platform, and it’s swaying a little.  And I really think that I might puke. I am completely freaking out yet again.  And then it was my turn to zip once again. I stood up to get attached to the line.  And I couldn’t lift my feet. I thought they were going to have to push me. But then I had the realization that being stuck up the tree was my problem.  That is what was making me nervous. I knew that as soon as I lifted my feet, and trusted the line and the harness and our guides, I would be perfectly fine.

And.  I. Was.  

Maybe you’re exactly where I was up in that tree.  You’ve began your relationship with God, but you’ve landed on the platform, which isn’t a bad place to be.  But you’re afraid to move forward. You’re afraid to take the leap, because you just aren’t sure of what is going to happen.  Things turned out fine the first time, but what if the next time, they don’t. What if it isn’t going to feel the same? What if it’s worse?  

Well, guess what?  I had 7 lines to zip.  And every single time I had to lift my feet and jump, it kept getting easier and easier.  

By the end, I wasn’t holding on with a death grip.  I was relaxing, and going with the flow. I even let myself flip upside down, because I trusted that I would be ok.

Your relationship with God is and adventure.  It can and it will be scary sometimes.  But in the end, it is so totally and completely worth it.

Personally, I can’t wait to go ziplining again.

Yes, you can be nervous.  But take the leap. I promise, it’s worth it.  

Live the adventure.

Love the adventure.