What if I would have said no?

Have you ever had an experience that you look back on, and freak out at the thought of what you could have done? 

I’ve been living in Oklahoma for about three months now, which feels both very weird and normal to say. Today, I opened up my Day One journal app and read some of the things I had written in the past. I realized that a good chunk of my total entries, especially for most of 2013, chronicled the journey of where I am now. The funny thing is seeing things I wrote that seemed random at the time were, in fact, intertwined beautifully. 

On December 14, 2013, I wrote this: 

Fear is what will crumble you if you let it. Fear will rob you of so many opportunities if you let it.

Looking back, I had so much fear and doubt before moving here to Oklahoma. But now that I’m here, I can’t help but ask myself, What if I would have said no? I hate to think about the opportunities I would have missed out on and the regret I would have. And I’m so glad I said yes.

So that begs the question: What is it that you may be about to say no to that you should being say yes to?

Worship + Unbelief

I hear the phrase “true worship” a lot. I’m not really sure how exactly that is defined, or who comes up with the measuring scale of what is “true” worship or not, so that’s always bothered me.

Currently, one of my favorite worship songs is “Close” by Hillsong Young & Free. Part of the lyrics in the bridge always have stuck out to me:

“My sole devotion, my only focus … to worship You.”

When we sing it at church, that’s the part where I find myself getting excited, raising my hands, and singing loud. If I’m being honest though, it kind of makes me feel like a phony. Not many of us can honestly say that our sole devotion and only focus is to worship Jesus.

So does that make us liars? Impostors? Hypocrites?

I think worship is something we do out of hope, not necessarily our current reality. Sometimes wanting to want the things of God is a huge step. Wanting to believe is a big deal.

We don’t like to talk about that in church or with our friends, because I think as Christians we’re afraid of gray areas. We feel that everything must be black and white, as if there’s no room for doubt or disbelief.

In Mark 9, a man brings his demon-possessed son to Jesus, and this is what happens:

21 “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father. He replied, “Since he was a little boy. 22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” 23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” 24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:21-24 (NLT)

I think that sometimes when we sing and lift our hands during a worship song, we’re not doing it simply because it’s true, but because we want it to be true. We do believe, but we need help with our unbelief, just like the father of the demon possessed boy.

You don’t need to believe fully to worship whole-heartedly. In fact, our doubt often begins to disappear when we decide to worship in spite of it.

Mistakes

I’ve learned that if there’s ever a part of your life that you moved on from, chances are that eventually you will look back at things you wish you would have done differently. You don’t really see these things while you’re in that season of your life, but afterwords.

Things you wish you would have said, things you shouldn’t have. Things you should have done, things you shouldn’t have. Times you fought pointless battles, and other times where you didn’t fight hard enough.

The beauty of God’s grace is that it doesn’t simply forgive us, but changes us. It doesn’t just give us mercy, but makes us new people. Grace gives far more than is deserved.

That is why I don’t believe you should forget about your mistakes. Sure, you learn from your mistakes. But even more importantly, when your past mistakes collide with your present reality you truly begin to understand grace. And when we truly begin to understand the grace given to us, we can begin being apart of changing the world.

Future / Past

“And You, You are my first, You are my last. You are my future and my past” — John Mark McMillan, Future / Past

I think there’s a reason why God doesn’t let us know the future. We would probably never leave our homes or just run around screaming in panic the entire time. Still, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when thinking about the future. What? Who? When? How? Where? There’s immense beauty in putting your hope, faith, and trust in a Being far, far, greater than yourself. The One who knows the future, the past, and everything in between. Unfortunately, it seems as though there are many Christians who are putting their trust in themselves, their accomplishments, friends, family, jobs, and money. Alpha (A) and Omega (Ω)are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. I love how this is how Jesus is described in Revelation 22:13. There always was Jesus, and there always will be Jesus. He’s the past, and the future. There is no other Being, person, or object that has always been, and always will be. And the good news is that He invites us to call him Father, to trust him. Sometimes, we have to trust God not only with our futures, but with our pasts, knowing and hoping that he will weave them together in more beautiful ways then we could ever imagine.

One Month

Today, it’s been exactly one month since I moved to Oklahoma. 

In Summer 2013, I began to feel restless. Not because of any situation, person, place, or thing — but because I believe God was beginning to prepare my heart for something He was about to do. It was over that time that God began to whisper to me that there was something new and different He had planned for me. Mind you, at this time, I was working at a church I thought I would be at for a long time. It was a church that has an incredibly special place in my heart. People I met there became lifelong friends.

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail

Keep in mind, God never told me anything specific. Just that there was something “different.” Did that mean I would be staying and having a different role? Leaving and working somewhere else? Going back to school? Moving? I didn’t know the answer to that.

Around the end of August, I was on the LifeChurch.tv website, for a reason I still don’t remember to this day. At some point I noticed a jobs listing page on their website, and curiosity got the better of me. And then I saw a job opening that looked perfect for me. So I panicked. I closed out of the website and went on doing whatever I was before that. A few days went by, and something nagged at me about it. So, I went back and applied for the position. Could this be “it”? Is this what God was speaking to me about? Or is it something different?

Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

If you know me, then you probably know how all of that turned out. I now work on the Creative Media team at LifeChurch.tv, and live in Edmond, Oklahoma. I can say with complete honesty that it was the best decision of my life.

I don’t know how many people will read this post, but I have a little bit of advice for whoever does: keep your hands open. It’s tempting to be afraid and tighten your fists to that gentle whisper that’s speaking to you. But when you close your hands, what you have is, well, all you have. But when you open your hands, and keep them open, God will use that incredibly. For you, it might be something different. It might be starting a new small group you know God wants you to. Or maybe to invite a friend or relative to church. Possibly, God is even telling you to stay where you are. If you’re crazy, God might even take you across the country to a new city with a new job, new church, and new people. I can guarantee that you won’t regret it.

Spirit lead me where my trust
is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me

— “Oceans” by Hillsong United