One of my least favorite characters in the Bible growing up was Jonah. I couldn’t imagine why someone would choose to run away from God because they didn’t trust him. Then again, I was about 13 and thought that I would always be in God’s will. Go ahead and laugh, I was incredibly naive. Read Jonah 1&2 real quick, just to freshen your memory.
When I was younger, I’d like to look back on my life and say that I was following God’s plan for me pretty well. I hated little kids. Like I really could not stand them. One of my youth group friends told me about CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship) and I was hesitant so they brought me with them to the winter retreat for the teens that work with CEF in my state over the summer. That weekend was a ton of fun- better than any youth group retreat and like a short version of a Christian summer camp I had been to the previous three years in the Adirondacks. So I prayed about it and even though I was sure that I hated kids, I raised the funds I would need for the two-week intensive training camp and went.
Those first two weeks of training camp were difficult, lots of tests and studying, but the friendships and memories made over the same twot, weeks are still warm in my heart. That first summer of doing 5-Day Clubs was amazing. I went from a young teenaged girl who refused to babysit to one of the teachers who’s lap was overflowing with kids. I fell in love with reaching out to kids for Jesus. I did CEF for about six years, and even started a weekly Good News Club in the local elementary school.
My fifth year of CEF was the summer following my high school graduation. I went off to college after clubs were done and felt God tugging on my heart to pray about a more long-term mission with CEF in Bulgaria. Over that year of college, I went on a Spring Break missions trip with the Christian group on campus and thought, maybe another year of regular CEF would be what would be best. I don’t think I could go out of country with no friends and make a difference. That summer was my last year of CEF. I was on the older end of the teen summer missionaries, but it was a pretty good summer. Once more, I felt Bulgaria tugging at my heart and this time, I did nothing. I ran even further away from God’s dream for me because I didn’t even do CEF. I did no ministry or outreach at all.
I follow CEF now on Facebook, and still know a bunch of the adults who work for it in my state. I miss it. I’m going to let you know something, since I stopped doing CEF at all and since I stopped trusting where God wanted me to be, I’ve been chillin’ in a whale’s stomach, and it stinks. The past year for me has been a year of God carrying me a lot and helping me through storms as I have been coming back to Him and trusting Him. I have a tug at my heart again to go somewhere and serve God. Possibly out of country, possibly with CEF, honestly, I am not sure on the details yet. All I know for certain is that sometime in 2018, I will be on some sort of missions program.
I am not running away. Instead, I have a year and a half-ish to pray. Praying that I will stand close to God and glued to Him as I await more details. I don’t want to get spit out of a whale only to hide from my potential in Christ all over again.
What about you? Ever get swallowed whole by fear? By the world? Try to run and hide from God? He’ll find you. Pray about it, why do you think you need to run away from God? Ask Him to help you narrow that down and then give what ever is holding you back to Him. Learn from my mistakes. Learn from Jonah’s mistakes.
Playlist for today:
-Lion and the Lamb (Big Daddy Weave)
-Here I am Send Me (Delirious?)
-Like a Match (TobyMac)
-Completely (Among the Thirsty)
-We Are Yours (I Am They)
-All Eyes on You (OBB)
-Start a Fire (Unspoken)