Three years ago, during my junior year of college, I attended Cru’s Christmas Conference (IndyCC) for the first time. Every year, college students from Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana gather in Indianapolis for a 5-day conference with speakers, worship, seminars, outreach, community, a New Year’s Eve dance party. That first year I attended, in 2011, the theme was “God is >” – God is Greater Than our past, our present, our future, our fears, our doubts, our worries, our shame…fill in the blank, and God is greater than it. They talked a lot that year about God’s heart for the nations – for His deep desire for every nation to know Him, and for all of His children to be part of His plan to reach the nations. On New Year’s Eve, before the huge dance party and before the countdown to midnight and before worshiping in the New Year together, they gave students the opportunity to pray through and consider the challenge they had presented earlier – to commit your first year after graduation to doing intentional ministry.
I had thought about and even prayed about the challenge after they first gave it, and had come to the conclusion that even if I were to make this commitment, I didn’t need to write on the slip of paper they’d given, and I certainly didn’t need to go forward and put it on the clothesline they had set up for everyone making the commitment to pin to. If I made the commitment, which I still wasn’t sure about, it would just be between me and God. I didn’t need the piece of paper, and I knew God didn’t need the piece of paper to know my heart.
I was wrong.
It wasn’t that the commitment would be more certain, or secure, or cause less doubt or insecurity, or even mean more by putting it out there for more than me to know. But it did mean something. Just like the beauty of baptism is an OUTWARD sign of an INWARD change, going up front to put that slip of paper on that clothesline was a testimony of the work God was doing in my heart. It was an OUTWARD sign of the INWARD nudge He was nudging me with. It had been years since 13-year-old me had been confident of a calling to full-time mission work; it had been years of making my own plans and dreaming my own dreams, losing sight of the bigger picture God was calling me to be a part of.
And so, sitting in the middle of a row of chairs, snot and tears coming down my face, I knew God was challenging me to do something out of my comfort zone, not just by giving my first year after graduation to Him, but by standing firm and being confident of that calling by making a public commitment to it.
Fast forward to 2 years ago, when the above picture was taken, and I was celebrating my “Decisionaversary.” I still didn’t know for sure where I was going after I graduated in a few short months, but I remained confident that the Lord would lead me.
Fast forward to 1 year ago, where I got to once again celebrate my Decisionaversary in the same spot I first made the commitment, but this time I could celebrate the 4 months I had just spent in the Dominican Republic, living out that commitment. And I could celebrate how far the Lord had taken me, and how good He had been to me, and how utterly faithful He is with His promises, and what He would continue to show me when I returned to the DR after the first of the year.
And here I am, another year later, celebrating once again the call the Lord placed on my life, and my decision to follow it. And I’m also celebrating His continued call on my life and the prayer prayed just this summer to follow His leading into full-time mission work. 10 years since young me prayed the same prayer, since she said she would go to Ecuador or Africa or wherever God wanted her to go. 10 years since I’ve been truly confident when someone asks me “what I want to be when I grow up.”
Does that confidence mean all the doubts, all the insecurities, all the worries, all the questions and looks that people give me, will go away and it will all be rainbows and unicorns since I know this is what God wants me to be doing during this time in my life? I wish the answer was yes, but it’s not. NO, everything isn’t easy, and I’m sure I’ll continue to struggle through the process. But, I WILL remain CONFIDENT in this: I will see the GOODNESS of the Lord. I will continue to be confident in His plan for me, in His desire for me to be part of His kingdom work, wherever I am – whether home, anywhere in the US, back in the DR, or somewhere else in the world. I will remain confident of His love for me, His desire for me to know Him more, His plans and purposes for me, and my ability to live life in His strength and through His Spirit.
I couldn’t be more grateful for Jesus. I couldn’t be more grateful for another year spent seeking His heart and His will for me. I couldn’t be more grateful for all the people He placed in my life this year to guide me, challenge me, encourage me, and support me.
Happy Decisionaversary to me, and Happy New Year to everyone – may it be a year filled with seeking Truth, chasing joy, facing challenges with bravery, living in community, and desiring to live in line with God’s will.