- Al Michaels
I have a small capacity. My Spirit is willing, but, boy, is my flesh weak. This week we have gone door to door in different neighborhoods inviting people to our VBS and other activities, telling people about the church, and sharing the love of Jesus with them. I've done this many, many times before and I really do love meeting people and being relational with them. But far too many times I find myself glancing at the clock, longing to be back in the air conditioning with my friends just chilling. My feet hurt from walking, the sun is sucking out all my energy, I feel gross and weak.
And then there are too many awkward encounters with people who are more than uninterested, too many houses with "no fliers signs" that make me feel unwelcome and a burden, too many shut doors that we never see opened so we just leave a flier and keep walking. I wanna give up. I wanna give in to the rejection and disappointment. I ask if something is wrong with me? Am I not doing it right? Am I not praying enough? Am I not spiritual enough?
But The Lord whispers, "I'm still here." He's never left my side. I'm not doing this alone. He is guiding me with grace. He brings me to a man who offers me water because I forgot to grab some before I left and am so in need of some. He reminds me of my partners, the body who are right there with me. And I remind myself that I have to say "yes" to the seemingly small things, the things that seem like they were in vain, the things that aren't glamorous and are sometimes not fun. I have to say yes to those because it is worth it when just one person finds what they need through us and through this church. Because there is a dying world out there that needs Jesus. And because this is what he commanded us to do. If this is his command then I have to believe that this is what brings me the most life and it's gonna be FUN! Life with Jesus is fun. When you partner with God in transforming lives there is no boredness or unfulfilled dreams or no purpose.
So Lord, expand my capacity. Lord, restore my body. Lord, give me a love that burns for the people in these houses. Lord, help me receive your grace when I want to give up. Lord, give me a heavenly perspective. Lord, give me eyes to see. Because my spirit is willing but my flesh is weak.
I used to hate to travel. I had a fear of traveling. I was afraid of planes and did not like long road trips. I was afraid of other countries and hated leaving my home. I was afraid I wouldn't like the food or the weather or anything about wherever I was going. I thought that that was just who I was.
This might have to do with the fact that I was young or that I had been in the same place my whole life. But I was set in my ways of wanting to stay in one place and didn't care of the world outside of Texas.
Last summer I went to India. India was never a place I ever thought I go. It was not a nation or people that was laid on my heart by God or anything. But, the opportunity was presented to me to go and I felt incredible peace and longing to go. It was kinda weird honestly. I had never felt such a sense to go somewhere when it didn't make any sense to go and wasn't even my church that was going. (Well, it kinda was. But... that's a different story.) I am surprised I didn't talk myself out of it. Because I was scared beyond belief. I was in India for almost 3 weeks. It cost a lot of money to go. I had never had indian food before. I didn't know anything about the culture. But I wouldn't trade that trip for the world. I fell in love with a people and a place that without God would just be a place on a map or a picture on a wall. And it got me thinking that God takes us farther than we would ever thought we would go and to people we would have not met otherwise. What an exciting privilege. What an adventure. Life with Jesus is better than any life out there. Because we get to meet so many people of so many different race and cultures. We get to see so much of the world that our Lord created. We get to be unified with people all across the world because of the Holy Spirit.
After that trip I realized I was made for adventure. I want to see the world. I was made to want to go farther than I ever thought I could. I was made to want to see things and meet people I never would have if I stayed put. I think that that is the same for most christians. I think something stirs inside of us when we dream with God. When we look out at the ocean and see it's vastness and something inside of us says "I want to go." Our lives will look different of course. Not everyone is going to go to the jungles of Asia. But I believe God calls every christian on an adventure. He calls us on a journey of risky faith where we HAVE to trust him with our very lives. And the part inside of us that craves risk and something bigger than ourselves comes alive. Because when we live in the will of God we get to do the most exciting things on earth. We get to see the dead come to life. We get to see freedom, healing, restoration and redemption.
I have also always had this sense of a desire for greatness inside of me. Most of that is my fallen nature that wants to point to myself instead of to Jesus. There is a small, pure portion of that that is God-given. I think. I don't want to just live my life and die. I want to do big things. I want to see things. I want to be a part of the greater story. I want to be a part of something bigger than myself. I don't know what that is going to look like in my life but my prayer is that I will kick fear in the face every day of my life and just go. My motto in life is "just go for it" (or as we said in India "gopher it"). Sometimes you have to just go. Because when I start to think is when fear takes over and I am paralyzed. There were so many reasons that I probably shouldn't have gone to India or it wasn't "the right timing" or whatever. But I just put my name on the list to ensure I could no longer back out. And it was the most exciting thing I've done.
I disobey because I'm afraid. I don't want to be afraid. I don't want to disobey. Whether it's sharing the gospel to the person who sits next to me or simply starting a conversation with them to preaching to tribes in the jungles-- I want a heart of obedience. I want to be a RISK-TAKER. I want to leave behind a "comfortable life". I want to love deeply and richly. I want to fight for people. I want to share my story and I want to hear the stories of others.
At the end of the day I have to remember it is about Jesus. His will above mine. And to him be the glory and the honor and power forever. I want a life that points to Jesus. I want a life that makes Jesus great. But, I want adventure. I want to see what is out there. I want to step out of the boat and walk on water.