There have been so many thoughts swarming around in my mind these past few weeks here. Thankfully, the Lord has been surfacing one to my mind all day today that has been a constant source of comfort and encouragement to me:
"The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name's sake."
It's my second semester here at Moody Bible Institute and, yet, the challenges have not gone away. I didn't expect them to nor do I think that they ever will go away, for each season of life contains its share of joys and challenges. It's all a part of growing and maturing in the Lord and I want to be able to accept the challenges with patience and perseverance and a steadfastness in the Lord.
Last semester, I was faced with the challenge of settling in to this big city and of finding my place (or my next classroom, for that matter!) among all of the people who were strangers to me. I faced fears that were sometimes illegitimate and other times realistic. I went through my first semester freshman breakdown and sometimes I would cry when I realized just how far away God had taken me from those I love.
This semester, I realize the privilege that it is to have been brought to a place like this in such a time as this. I now have people - family - who I love and cherish here. I now know my way around the city (mostly) and can find all of my classrooms without getting lost in the tunnels. Those aren't my fears or my challenges anymore. But now, I face the continual realization that I am growing up. I am in a place that is preparing me for ministry. This ministry isn't a dream far in the future anymore. No, I am seeing my dreams unfold right before my eyes. It's exciting. It's scary. It's a challenge to be pruned, shaped, molded, and refined into who the Lord wants me to be. It's hard to live my life with open palms and see what the Lord will do with my relinquished plans and dreams. It isn't easy to grow up.
Yesterday, I was out adventuring in the city and ended up in the very building where I had a life-changing conversation a year ago with a man who I love, who will forever be my role model, my inspiration, and my example of a life of wisdom and godliness. I will forever be grateful to be able to call that man my dad.
We were sitting at dinner, trying to take in the surroundings outside of the window. Neither of us had ever been in this big city before and I was not quite sure what to think of it. I was scared. It wasn't a fear of impending doom or of terror. It was a fear that made my heart drop, a fear of knowing that the Lord was asking me to do something that I had never wanted to do and would have never asked for. It was all a part of living my life with open palms; it was a part of growing up, of realizing that the Lord is my King and I am His servant.
My dad said to me, "Molly, if you are not willing to go now, you are never going to be willing to go." He knows me sometimes better than I think I know myself. I had always spoken of my dreams of being a full-time missionary, of adventuring overseas to some part of the world that was unknown to me, to do whatever would be the hardest to do. I wanted to do the biggest and the hardest possible thing. Perhaps that's my adventerous spirit... but it had always just been a dream. I never imagined that the Lord would actually want me to go to a big city hundreds of miles away from those I loved and everything I knew to be familiar. To me, that's harder than going to some foreign country overseas. But my dad was right. This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where I decide, once and for all, whether the Lord is enough; whether I am going to decide to pursue Him with my life and fashion my pursuits and my desires and my plans around Him and His Kingdom or around my own selfish desires, whether I am going to live my life with open palms.
I cried. I got angry. I fought God. I doubted. I planned to go to a different college, closer to home. I held tightly to my own plans. I cried some more. I planned to tell Moody I would not be attending in the fall. I couldn't get it off my heart, out of my mind. I cried again, fought again, doubted some more. I opened my palms and I went. Somehow I'm now sitting in a dorm room at Moody Bible Institute, a year after that conversation with my dad.
Still, I'm constantly tempted to live my life with closed palms. Still, I doubt and am tempted to believe that the Lord is not enough. If only I had this... If only I had that... then my life would be complete. That is not what God's Word tells me. He tells me, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing" (Psalm 23:1). If the Lord is my Shepherd, then I lack nothing.
So what is holding me back from living my life with open palms? Fears? Doubts? "Messed-up" plans? Belief that I need something more to be content?
God's Word tells me to not fear. Jesus is the Truth. He guides me along the right paths for His name's sake. He is my portion. He is enough. I am now in need for nothing more.
Now is the time to let go. This is where the rubber meets the road. This is a crucial time in my life, when I must decide once and for all Who I am going to live for - myself or for the Lord. Now is the time when I must decide whether I am going to live my life with open palms, whether I am going to reach out to my Savior and embrace His life for me. His Word tells me He is enough.
So, Lord, give me faith to open my palms to You, embracing You and Your plans in surrender... knowing that in You, I lack nothing.