Lately, my life has been overwhelming, dissolving, renewing and reshaping – and above all, chock full of learning. This series of posts is all about sharing that learning with you, and in return, I hope you share your life learning with me. (click here for intro post)
As I try to identify the first lesson in all of this, I find myself continually backing up in my story. What I intended as lesson one will now probably be lesson 4 or 27 – and maybe that’s because I’m still learning it. And while I could possibly back up to childhood with the lessons I’m learning, I will start with last year, and this clear moment of listening to the Spirit.
About a year ago, my friend Rudy, who runs a short-term missions organization called Bula, asked me to go on a trip with her to Ethiopia. She was scouting the location to take a team in the future, and connecting with a local organization that works with orphans and widows, called Bring Love In. She had been asked to do a bit of training with widowed women who are now moms to the orphans in “forever families.”
Rudy asked me to join her. I couldn’t recall her ever asking me directly to do a trip with her before, and that made me take note. I asked her several times how she thought I would be an asset, and she gave me vague-yet-encouraging answers about my skills with training and coaching, and just knew I would be helpful.
Unsettling… but hmmm.
You see, mission trips aren’t really “my thing.” I like the idea of going to other places and helping people, but I get a little leary of the helping-people-in-order-to-convert-them concept that can be prevalent in missions work. Rudy knows this about me, so I had to trust that she really believed this particular trip would be a fit. So I prayed.
And the Spirit whispered, “Go. See what happens. Learn.”
I like to think that I’ve listened to the Spirit many times in my life. I’ve quit jobs without new ones lined up; I’ve turned down jobs that didn’t feel right. I’ve gone back to school now a couple of times, feeling lead to learn something new.
And all of that has brought me to where I am today.
But it was all CONTROLLED. I listened, but I also calculated. I determined the risks, I weighed all the options. I did all the planning.
And this trip to Ethiopia, it wasn’t like that. It felt spontaneous. It felt unknown. I had no idea why I was going, only that I was supposed to go. I had no idea how God would use me, only that He would. And in that moment, I knew about listening.
Lesson 1: Listen to the Spirit
Listening to the Spirit requires that I stop my churning mind, my analyzing, and my planning. In the stillness I discern what is being requested of me. And even though I don’t know the outcome, I say Yes.
(clickable Facebook inspiration to share)
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