If it is one thing that millions don’t like hearing, it is “be patient” or “it’s gonna take a little while.” We don’t like being told that, we like things here and now and instantly. Think about it, we live in a world now where Amazon delivers the same day, movies and television shows that premiere on your TV and not in a theater. It is not a bad thing or is necessarily our fault that we now seek instant results or gratification. But one thing I have started to learn after a few years of trying to develop some healthy habits is that the good things in life take time to accomplish. You know the saying that you can’t build Rome in a day? Well, the same is true for changing your current circumstances. There is no instant solution for having everything you want in life. However, there are fun and satisfying ways to track change, and that is through monitoring your daily habits or routines. (more…)
In the first two parts (1 and 2) of this three part series I broke down the steps it took for me to leave the ordinary and become extraordinary. To be honest, this is just the beginning of me leaving the ordinary. These words are here merely to help you know how hard it is to actually let go. Sometimes we never fully let go when we think we had.
I knew training camp for the World Race was going to be hard, but I never really knew how hard. Not one inch of my character was left untouched. I thought the hard part of accepting my year as a missionary was over, but God was now ready for me to become more. Adventures in Missions, the organization I am going through, organized training camp very well. Sessions were carefully crafted to help break down our emotional and spiritual barriers. They do not mess around. If we are going to be living in 11 countries for 11 months we’ve got to learn fast.
The two sessions that helped me keep moving from ordinary to extraordinary were called “Healing and Forgiveness” and “Grieving the Seasons of our Lives.” The first session helped me to understand that I had asked for forgiveness in all areas of my life. It helped me to know that I was not holding back any anger, bitterness, or resentment. I was able to clarify and bless those who had offended me in the past and see them as human and sons and daughters of God. My heart was still heavy. Heavy because I realized that I could start focusing ahead. At the end of the session on healing and forgiveness we were told to look into the eyes of the person standing next to us and affirm them that “God loves you”. My heart began to fully accept healing because I realized how much God had accepted me for who I was. Tears started to well up in my eyes as a brother-in-Christ, Zach, grabbed me by the shoulders and repeatedly told me, “You are loved. You are loved by God. God loves you. You are his son.” Lip-quivering and all, I tried to say it back to him, but nothing came out. God was healing my heart. I was a mess, but I had no idea how much more he was about to break me.
The next day we had a session called “Grieving the Seasons of Our Lives.” This session piggy-backed on what all I had learned the day before. It was time for me to grieve. Why? When you grieve a lost season, it no longer has a foothold on you. If you don’t grieve it deadens the heart and we began to compartmentalize our hearts. Grieving seasons births resolve not to miss what God has for you in the next season of life. You have to understand that this is where my heart was, I had compartmentalized my faith. Emotional, physical, relational and sexual pain each had it’s own compartment. If one of the areas began to show up more than another, I would focus on a less painful area of my life to go to. I was never really trusting that God has covered it all and that he made me fully new. I had a shallow outlook on life. I was in denial.
That night, I prayed hard. I prayed God would do a work in me. I prayed that I could grieve my lost season in life. No, i did not re-live all my past sins, I did not focus on them, for God had forgiven me. But I needed to grieve them. Guys don’t grieve. We keep it in. I sat in one of the chairs in the chapel and leaned forward crossing my arms. With my forehead on my arms and eyes closed I asked God, “God I’m ready. Holy Spirit help me grieve my old season and move forward into this new season. Help me to pursue your will for my life. God do not let anything of my past hold me back any more!” I prayed this over and over. I asked God to make the Holy Spirit fully-known in my heart and to guide me into this next season. People walked by and prayed for me and finally when Zach, my squad leader and Brother-in-Christ sat down next to me, I began to grieve. He spoke words of affirmation into my heart and told me that I am worthy of God’s love. I am worthy in his eyes. That his plans are great for me this next year and to give this past season all to Him.
So I cried. I grieved. I let out the deepest and more freeing tears I have ever cried in my life. He was making me new. Through each deep sob and gasp for breath, God was releasing me into a whole new season of life. He has immeasurably more planned for me in this next year and now I was ready to pursue it. I had started moving from ordinary and embracing extraordinary.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
Part Two: Going All In
In my previous post I talked about how culture affects who we are and who the church is. I ended my post talking about how I had to make the most important decision of my life, stepping away from the influence of culture and into the influence of a mighty God. The only thing that separated me from a life of faith, trust, risk and obedience was one more step, the step of giving the first donation to my year of missions myself.
Flash back to this past September. As I sat in front of my computer screen, my heart began to pace faster and my tongue felt dry. “Just do it, Trent”, I said in my head, “what do you have left to lose? You will be okay. You are young. You have so much ahead of you.” I looked back at my past few years and saw all the blessings and good things that came my way. But I began to look forward and see what all God was ready to give me if only I was willing. The donation page for my World Race trip was opened and ready for my information.
“What about your job? What about your loans? What about your 401k? What about your house? What about finding a woman and settling down?” These thoughts popped in and out of my head as my shaky hand headed for my wallet. “Trust Him, Trent. Trust that God knows what he is doing and that no matter what happens he will provide for you.”
Oh this feeling. The anxiety and rush of emotions was something we don’t feel to often these days in America. Risk? What’s that? Trust? Who needs it? Faith? When did I last use it? My world was so bland. My world was so gray and my life was ready for color and adventure. No more rainy days. No more muffled sounds. I needed life to abundance and love to the fullest.
“Do it. Do it Trent. Go all in!”
My hands began to type in all my credit card information and before I knew it I was at the final submit button. I looked down, wide-eyed and mouth slightly ajar. My finger twitched as it hovered over the “enter” button. “I’ve got you, boy.” I blinked. God whispered. I took a gulp and clicked the mouse.
It is finished.
I sat back in the chair, hands covering my face. What had I gotten myself into? What was going to happen? Where do I go from here? I had no idea. But one thing I knew for sure. I had never felt so alive. I was diving in. I was letting go. But I had no idea how much I was about to really give up. I had been obedient, but God was asking for more.
Part Three: This Week!
Summer is in full swing and while most ordinary citizens are basking in the sun and sipping their virgin margaritas, I am giving it all up. Working for summer beach camps has been my life for the past four years and five summers. You may not think that is normal, but for me it is my job. It all began almost a year ago when I was packing up and finalizing details of last summer’s beach camps. In me I felt a subtle discontent. Something was awry and became more unsettling. As August began to pass I found my heart longing for an escape from the ordinary and average and a pursuit of something extraordinary. What happened was a happenstance glance into a friend’s Facebook photo album. My pal, Kyle Dennard, left America behind for a year to explore the globe with the World Race. He too has a stirring of the heart to just get up and go. That same feeling echoed in my heart, “leave it all behind Trent and go.”
The Millennial Generation does not have the best reputation. We are understandably known as “Generation Me”. We have been raised to be comfortable, self-consumed, prideful, arrogant, and narrow-minded. In fact, articles have been posted recently on CNN, Fox News, and NBCNews.com about how it is not our fault that we are who we are. Here is the thing, we are at fault for who we are. It is a combined effort. Culture has blinded us to the truth that we are essentially emotionless robots who receive sensation from materialistic things. Brand names like Starbucks, Candy Rush, Snapchat, Facebook, Walking Dead, Instagram and Vine all feed into our egotistical self. They all exist to give us a temporary sense of fulfillment. They bring us in and toss us out and make us come back wanting more. Picture yourself sitting in Vegas in front of a slot machine constantly inserting coins into the machine. That is the American life.
The Christian Church has not been immune to this. Unfortunately many churches have entrapped themselves as well to culture. Some churches use flashy production to stimulate the mind. Some churches misuse the Holy Spirit and mistake it for an adrenaline rush. Some churches use tradition and “fire and brimstone” and forget about saving grace. Some churches have become too accepting and allow people living an immoral lifestyle to shepherd a whole flock. Like the rest of American culture, the church too has started to sit in front of slot machines trying to find God in the next pull. But God is not American and God does not change who he is for who our culture says he should be.
So, back to last August, I began to listen to the voice inside and began to ask those I love and trust their honest opinions and thoughts. Not one hesitated to say that The World Race was exactly the right thing for me to do. So in obedience to the urging of the Holy Spirit, I began the application process for the World Race. The turn-around was quick and such a God thing. Before I knew it I was the first guy added to the U Squad for September 2013 departure. The only thing that separated me from a life of faith, trust, risk and obedience was one more step, give the first donation myself.
Part Two coming shortly.
Please consider supporting my year in missions by supporting me financially on the World Race. Give now by credit card HERE. For more information on my involvement with the World Race and what I am doing click HERE.