The end of the summer. Close friends have left already to head back to their respective campuses, eager to start the upcoming semester and move into dorms and apartments. Others have just finished back to school shopping, with color coordinating school supplies and the newest style of Toms. Still others are soaking up their last bit of adventure at the beach or amusement parks or out with friends before the fun ends and classes begin once me.
What am I doing as the summer draws to a close?
Readers, I’m panicking about this upcoming semester.
Anyone who has read some of my earlier posts from March, April, or May knows that I’m hit hard on that secular campus. I’m hit hard and hit low and bruised deep.
I’ve had too many conversations with my friends about going back to school that end in a quick, short “just stop freaking out and trust that it’ll be fine.”
Trust who, God?
“Yeah, Anna, now stop freaking out. You’re fine” (my friends were never ones to mince words).
Why am I at this college? Why am I the one who gets tossed into the fire? Why do I have to be the one who has to be the witness, the prophet?
Why me indeed, readers?
The other day, I stumbled upon a list I wrote a while back of songs I should download from iTunes. I browsed through the list and got hooked on this song by Hillsong United, embedded below.
Lyrics are here.
It starts out as a profession of trust in He who keeps us from drowning.
It starts out as an understanding in His sovereignty and power.
But, readers, it is also more than that.
“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior” follows as the bridge, completely morphing the message of this song.
We aren’t just supposed to cling to God in the storm – don’t just ask God to guide us through it, ask Him to guide us into it.
Guide us into the storm.
Lead me, let me, take me – these are the words of a missionary at peace with his calling.
When we ask God to place us into the ocean rather than take us out of it, our life will radically change.
When we give ourselves a goal, our attitudes will radically change.
Guide us into war, not just out of it.
When we acknowledge not just the idea that we’re stuck in a situation and need to make the best of it, but that we should desire to be in a situation where we can make it better – that is when your faith will be made stronger and deeper.
A friend of mine once traveled Europe for a semester, and wrote a quote on her shoes to remind her of why she was traveling. “I wrote ‘Take me where love is needed,’ because I was being all symbolic and sentimental and I wanted those unbelievably comfortable shoes to take my feet to the places where I was called to be. I wanted to live out Mother Theresa’s call for us to be Christ’s hands and feet on this earth. As it turns out, those shoes taught me a lesson that I should have realized before I even wrote that message on them. Love is needed everywhere” (read her words).
Love is needed everywhere.
Do I need to travel to a foreign country to be a missionary, or can I be a missionary at peace here?
Love is needed everywhere.
How good of a missionary can I be if I don’t want to be one?
Love is needed everywhere.
And when we bring love, we receive it.
When we give, we grow, readers.
When we give of ourselves, when we keep giving until we are empty – we become full.
“When we love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt. Only love.”
When we ask God to take us where our trust is without borders – we are asking God to put our trust to the test.
When we ask God to take us where our trust is without borders, to go wherever we’re needed and called – we need to remember that we are asking for a situation that will try our trust in Him.
“My son, Lord, my only son?”
When Abraham’s faith was tested, he answered.
We should be saying “My only son, Lord, here!”
Granted, I don’t have a son. But my point still stands, readers – I need to give everything to receive everything.
And you will be tested, whether you ask for it or not.
The first line of the song – “You call me out upon the waters, the great unknown, where feet may fail.”
May? Where feet will fail.
But the song continues – “In oceans deep, my faith will stand.”
You will be tested.
But isn’t it better to embrace the test, to rise up to answer it, to let ourselves bloom in it, than to cower before it and begrudgingly fulfill it?
You may fall, but your faith will stand.
You will fail. But it is in failing that we really win – because it is in failing that we discover the One who never fails, and the One who never fails us.
Readers, I’m terrified for the upcoming semester.
I’m starting to wonder if I’ll be needed at this college much longer. (Hell, I’m hoping I’m not.)
But until I have the call to move, until I have the answer to all my questions, I need to be a missionary where I am.
Spirit, take us where our trust is without borders.
Where our trust knows no bounds.
Dang it, I never thought the name of this blog would come back to haunt me when I picked it – but readers, truly…our trust should no know bounds.
Our faith will never be boundless until our trust is.
So ask to be placed in a situation that will stretch your trust, stretch your faith – because only in dying can we be born again, only in suffering can we be redeemed, only in emptying ourselves can we be filled.
But I’m still scared.
A friend posts “Put aside all anxious thoughts and be at peace.” A quote by Francis de Sales, a man who definitely knew what he was talking about.
Yesterday, the priest gave a homily about peace – the world offers a peace that is sickly tolerance (you do your thing, I’ll do mine, and let’s leave each other alone). But God’s peace is above that, and when He sent His Son, He didn’t send Him to bring the world’s peace or to bring the world peace, He sent Him to bring the world to peace. Does that make sense?
The world will never be at peace! I’ll say that right now, and you need to remember that. The world will never be at peace. But we can bring the world to peace.
He sent His Son to set the world ablaze.
Fire hurts. It burns, it rages, it destroys.
That’s what we’re called to walk into.
The same priest who gave the homily yesterday gave a homily on Memorial Day that I still remember, saying – “Blessed are the peaceful? No! Blessed are the peacemakers. And if we have to go to war to bring the people to peace, we will go to war!”
Memorial Day – the beginning of summer. Yesterday’s Mass, the end of summer. A summer sandwiched with commands to fight for His peace.
The song ends “I will call upon Your Name/Keep my eyes above the waves/My soul will rest in Your embrace/I am Yours and You are mine.”
My soul will rest.
Not “my soul is resting.”
No, my soul will rest.
I will rest after I have done my job.
I will rest after I have battled.
I will rest knowing I have won – we have won – He has won.
Readers, I am terrified.
But if I weren’t terrified, would I truly be a soldier?
Being courageous or brave is not the lack of fear.
It is the overcoming of fear. Doing the job in spite of the fear.
“No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.” 2 Timothy.
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” Ephesians.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua.
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians.
I encourage you all to download one of these, or any other quote from Hillsong United’s Oceans, and put it somewhere that you will see it. I found all these on pinterest, and I can’t get enough of them. I’ll pray for you, readers, as I always do, and you pray for me – for it only in forgetting ourselves and thinking of others that we can find ourselves.
Now – to war!