“He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30)
It’s crazy because this verse sounds so simple and yet it’s something I struggle to do daily. Living our day to day lives, we allow so much to consume our thoughts and our actions. We make lists and try to pencil in time for God during our days. We allow others to shape who we are instead of seeking God’s approval.
Coming across this verse has changed my life. I am nowhere near perfect, but this verse gives me a goal to strive for. It gives me a simple picture of how to live out a Christ-centered life.
I have lived most of my life as a surface Christian. I was the girl who went to church, memorized her verses, and even wore a Christian t-shirt in public on occasion. I thought I knew everything I needed to know about God and that I had it all together. I was heading to an incredible college with an honors diploma in hand, the perfect boyfriend, and ideals of achieving what I was destined for. After college started my world quickly changed. God began working on my heart from that moment on. I started finding people that I could trust and new friends that presented God to me in a whole new way. The relationship I thought was perfect proved to be exactly the opposite. God gave me a way out of that. Things began falling into place to lead me where I am today in my walk with Christ.
This summer has been a summer of firsts for me.
•First time falling out a whitewater raft
•First time running a 5k
•First time giving my FULL testimony
•First time playing paintball
•First welts/battle wounds
•First real job
•First time making a piece of furniture from scraps and nature
•First time canoeing through a swamp
•First time running up a mountain
While I’ve been able to check things off my bucketlist, this summer has proved to be incredible and exceptionally difficult at the same time. It started off with an amazing tour to Charleston, SC with an incredibly talented group of singers.
I learned so much from these friends and can truly say I look to them as family now. Six tour stops and endless hours of laughter made for the perfect start to my summer.
I didn’t do much from may til mid June. I did start my job with Vector marketing and I couldn’t write about summer without mentioning the people I spent most of my week with.
As much as I hate what I did, talking for hours on a phone, I absolutely love the people I worked with. I wouldn’t have stayed if they hadn’t made it worth staying. I can honestly say I will miss them this fall.
Mid June, I left for Copperhill, Tennessee for Eagle Ranch with Clough UMC youth group and was there Monday-Saturday. We spent three of those days on site doing mission work that included painting a house that had years of cigarette smoke tar on the walls, fixing a roof and contributing to the finishing of a basement.
We also got to enjoy a little paintball and whitewater rafting. But what I will take away the most is the experience we shared as a group around the campfire our last night there. I could feel Gods presence surrounding the entire group and camp. Watching the teens give up their sins to God and throwing them in the fire was hands down my absolute favorite moment of not only our trip, but of my WHOLE SUMMER.
When I returned to Ohio I spent a few days home only to leave again to serve on my third chrysalis team! I could go on about the incredible things God did! The weekend was truly amazing and as always I got as much out of it as the girls I got to serve did.
As I stated earlier, this summer was amazing, but proved to be difficult as well. At the beginning I was dealing with a mother who had been let go of her second job in the past year, deciding on how I was going to make an income for the next few months, being separated from a strong church family, learning how to run for a 5k I signed up for on a whim, and people rejecting me because I’ve changed too much for them. I was the closest to God I’ve ever been this summer, but I was also the farthest I’ve ever been in a long time. There were days when I honestly couldn’t tell you if I believed God could love someone like me and struggled to feel his presence in my life. I can’t say I am back at the high level that I once was at, but God is slowly bringing me back. I’ve learned to be patient and He WILL provide the answers to your prayers. My mom got a job and will start this fall as Norwood View Elementary’s new music teacher! I ended up working for vector and loved the people I was working with. I found encouraging friends here in Cincy, but also have friends from all over that have helped me as well. I ran my first 5k July 20th. While I didn’t run the entire 3.1 miles, I ran more than I ever could in my entire life! Lastly, I’ve learned that I don’t need to seek others approval, only God’s.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10 NIV)”
John 3:30 really was what I’ve learned this summer. When I had less of God in my life there was more room for sin and the bad in my life, but the more I sought out The Lord the less room there was for me to fall. It was a journey, but I’ve learned so much from all the experiences I’ve had. The good an the bad ones and I praise God for the journey he has taken me on this summer.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39 NIV)