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.