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The Intersection of faith and preference:
It’s not a dropped pin on a map, the crosshairs of latitude and longitude, or a destination accessible on any navigation app. You wouldn’t stop there on a road trip and probably wouldn’t book it as a venue for an event. It’s not even a place, really.
The intersection of faith and preference is more of an emotional state, an awaited decision, a resolve. It’s the conflicted divide of flesh and spirit. It’s where I found myself on October 4, 2018.
The mentor of my World Race squad had just asked me to join her leadership team as an alumni squad leader (ASQL) in 2019. The intersection of faith and preference was the position of my heart as I counted the cost of returning to the mission field for six months beginning in January of 2019 to lead a squad of 33 first time World Racers.
The intersection of faith and preference has been the posture of my heart since that day. See, here’s the thing. Squad leading was not on my radar. At all. Not even a little bit! I had no desire to leave the country again and was proud of the growth and health I’d established in my life since moving to Gainesville, GA in March. I’d again grown accustomed to the comforts of America and had fallen in love with my home, my community, and my life of ministry; my life of ministry here, in the U.S. Your girl is CONTENT here.
Your girl is also more than content and satisfied in close obedience to the Father. So I asked God what He thought about it.
I asked Him if He wanted me to squad lead.
He said yes.
I asked Him again (not so secretly hoping for a different answer).
He said yes again.
And again and again and again.
Doing the World Race again wrenched my heart and induced nervous, panicky laughter in me. The fear came before the hope.
What will people at home think?
How am I supposed to lead a squad of 33 people?
Am I even equipped and ready to lead a squad of 33 people?
What if none of those 33 people like me?
What will I do when I become uncomfortable?
What if I lose all of the progress and growth I’ve gained in the past year?
What if I fail as a squad leader and disappoint everyone?
Worse than anything else:
What if I become so uncomfortable and so unhealthy that I revert back to who I was when I launched for my Race in 2017? Who I was on my Race in the midst of so much hurt?
What if I resemble that level of brokenness?
What if I feel that level of brokenness?
…Am I going be ok?
Then I realized that almost every single one of my fears centered around… me.
They all came back to me, my life, my wellness. Not the Kingdom’s.
In case you’re keeping track, that’s the “preference” portion of my last month and a half. My wants and strong opposition to squad leading (moooostly rooted in fear) have made obedience to the Lord extremely difficult and oftentimes painful. Saying “yes” to squad leading opens me up to almost certain failure, discomfort, lack of control, and potential rejection by a new group of people. In case you don’t know me well, I don’t super love any of those things.
Here’s where that preference intersects and collides with my faith:
THE LORD IS SO GOOD.
I KNOW that He’s trustworthy.
I KNOW He loves me and is for me.
How could I not be obedient to the Lord- my Father, my Helper, and my Friend?
I know I heard Him tell me “yes” and I began to wrestle deeply with my preference. Since then, my spirit has begun to win over my flesh and this is where I’m currently resting:
There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to squad lead.
There’s a bigger part of me that wants the Father so much more.
When my spirit triumphs over my flesh, I want rightness and perfect relationship with Him to abound more than physical comfort. I want the closeness of His presence instantly and fully accessible more than I want the instant gratification of my desires. I want His glory and Name to become so much more profoundly renowned than my own. I want people all over the world to know the sweetness of Jesus and the abundance man was originally created for. I want broken hearts to be made whole and chains of brokenness to fall off in the presence of His Spirit. I want an outlet and opportunity to give back to the Father everything He has first given me!So, I’m going. Because He is worth it. Because He is good. Because He is trustworthy. Because He has never failed me. Because He loved me first. Because He gave to me first. Because everything I have is His anyway. Because earth has nothing I desire beside Him. Because He is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
When I consider the character of God, how could I not bow in submission and humbly give him everything I have? Everything I am?
Praise God that at the intersection of faith and preference, my faith is winning. My God is winning. Praise God that He loves me and cares about what I want; He cares about what hurts me and what is painful. Praise God even more that He’s willing to walk me through that pain anyway because he knows of its Heavenly benefit.
I’ll follow that God anywhere, and in January I’ll follow Him to Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Myanmar, Thailand, and Malaysia.
On December 20th, I will pack everything I have in Georgia and drive it back to Texas. I’ll be home for about a week, return to Gainesville on December 30th, and leave the United States on January 6, 2019.
It’s happening. Again.
I’m being obedient to the most faithful and loving God I’ve ever known. Again.
It might just be the best, worst, most wonderful, grossest, smelliest, hardest, most rewarding “thing” I have ever done and surely the fullness of God will go before and behind me.
I am challenged, grieving, and hopeful. I am clinging to the Lord and utterly dependent on His support. Sweetly, I am finding Him every time I come to the end of myself.
Who knew that at the intersection of faith and preference, faith could triumph so meekly and profoundly?
This is my new squad I’ll be leading, loving, and living with for six months!