Your adornment must not be merely external–braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:3-4
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12
See the vision for this series and other testimonies here.
Growing up in a strong Christian home, my parents spoke truth to me through verses in the Bible. One that I vividly remember memorizing at my young age was Psalm 37:4 which says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” During my early teenage years, I believed that if I did the right thing (never tell a lie, always obey my parents, engage in the conversations during Sunday school, etc.), then God would see that I was, in fact, a good person, and He would grant me all the requests that I ever wished for when blowing out the candles on my birthday cake each year as if He were a genie in a bottle from a Disney movie. A few years later, I finally came to the conclusion that “delighting yourself in the Lord” means finding all of your true pleasure, satisfaction, happiness, joy, (all of the things we relentless search to find within this world), solely in Him. And, Him alone. Even after this, I still continued with my same way of life. Doing the good deeds, being a good person but still searching for fulfillment of my desires. I couldn’t understand why God wouldn’t just go on and trust me enough to reveal His plans to me, so I could get on with my life. (O, ye of little faith!) I remember yelling at the sky, “Just send me a sign!” Each time, He would only reply with one word: “Wait.”
To pass the waiting time, I filled my life with pre-made plans of how I wanted it all to go. Like a typical girl, I daydreamed about the job I wanted, what I wanted my wedding to look like, the place I wanted to live, the names I wanted for my children, even down to the letter I wanted my future last name to start with… (Okay, crazy. I know.) Things took a drastically new turn on my second week of college during my third English 1101 class. My teacher asked me to consider adding English as a minor because she could already see the love I had for the discipline. I shrugged her comment off and just simply took it as a compliment. A few weeks later, she approached me again. This time, she said, “If you don’t at least add a minor of English, I am going to fail you for the semester. I can’t stand to watch someone waste their talent, and not try to do something about it.” An entire year later, I finally decided, after much consideration, to change my major to English. Upon changing my major, my prayers also began changing. I started to spend less time begging God, and more time thanking Him. I started leaning more on the faith I had in His goodness, rather than searching this world to find that reassurance.
I heard The Message version of 1 Corinthians 7:17 when I was at a Bible study in high school, the verse resurfaced itself, and once again became my life motto: “And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there.”
I soon became intrigued by the idea of journalism. I spent a significant amount of time reading articles in magazines and websites, and paying explicit attention to the name written under the title next to that one little word, “By.” Now, 3 more months later, I’ve started a blog, researched potential job opportunities for the future, visited New York City, and discovered so much more of life that had once been blocked by the small-minded plans that I had already made for my life. If you had told me this time last year that within one year’s time I was going to have changed my major, reoriented my entire life plan, and have a sudden craving for the city life, I probably would have blankly stared at you, pointed at myself, and said, “Who? Me?”
Now, I’m writing more for myself, learning more about myself, living with an open mind, and finding strength in the deepest, darkest parts of my heart that I never even knew existed. I’ve finally learned to let go, and place every aspect of my life at the feet of Jesus.
I wrote this in an email last week: “If you don’t follow your dreams, there is nothing to life. I believe dreams are instilled in us by the Holy Spirit as God’s way of revealing to us what His perfect plan is for our lives. Like I’ve said, I refuse to be consumed by normality. Living a normal life is not what God calls us to do as Christians. Risking it all, but putting full and complete trust (and faith!) in Him is how He wants us to live our lives. The goals I have for my life truly would be impossible (and unattainable) without His guidance. Leaning on my own understanding will lead me nowhere. As Christians, we are on duty every day. Every square foot of this earth is a mission field. I am not sure if I am technically called to be a writer, but I do know it is a talent that God has blessed me with, and I am called to be on mission every day, and use my gifts and talents to bring glory to His name.”
I crave the kind of faith that allows me to trust that God will give me every desire of my heart when delighting myself solely in the love, righteousness, forgiveness, and joy that only He can give. It only takes an amount of faith that is the size of a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20).
Oh Lord, create in me a longing to find the courage to give to you every part of me. Only then should I ever know the goodness you desire to provide.