Being a mentor to students has been one of the greatest privileges of my life. There is no greater blessing than having a front row seat to the journey from awkward and insecure middle schooler to graceful and confident young woman. I’m so honored to call so many of these ladies friends and to be a part, even if ever so small, of their story. Today I’m pleased to turn the blog over to one of these young women, Hali. I shared part of her story a few weeks ago in a blog entitled Hali’s Story: Obedience, Pursuit of Passion, and God’s Calling. Today you get to hear her version, with a little update on what has occurred since. Though the story begins with pain and confusion, it ends with hope and assurance and it is a story we all need to hear. So, here’s Hali’s Story: 2.0! ~Karen
Moving backwards…inadequate…lacking skill…behind…disappointment…failure…shame. Words…these words specifically, are words that have been circling through my thoughts for the past couple of weeks along with the emotions that come with them. I’m an achiever, through and through. But recently I withdrew from school…again…which has made me feel like anything but a success.
Most people don’t know that I’ve been enrolled in three different colleges since graduating from high school three years ago. As a senior in high school I was planning on being a physical therapist or a physician, but the door to the school I wanted to attend closed. Next I thought nursing was what God was calling me into, but it only took one semester to realize it wasn’t my passion either. Most recently I enrolled in a ministry program, which made perfect sense. After a year with YWAM and two years working at a church, it seemed to be the perfect choice, but it didn’t come to fruition either. I now faced another closed door with no obvious open windows.
Growing up I was pretty good at a variety of things. I was a varsity athlete and a good student. I was fortunate to succeed in a lot of what I pursued. So my natural thought coming out of high school was that I would go to college, then graduate school and live life for Jesus in the midst of a fulfilling and successful career. But that was my plan, not God’s. He had something different in mind, something that would refine me and challenge what I was finding my worth and value in. You see, I like to do things well, and I like to excel in everything I do. Those aren’t necessarily bad things. But it becomes problematic when I start to place my worth in my achievements. My plan was to succeed according to worldly standards. But God had different things in store. As a matter of fact three times now God has had different things in store.
God has different things in store…those words, as awesome as they seem, are hard for me to swallow. All around me people are doing what seems to be “something” with their lives. My peers are graduating college this year (if they haven’t already), going to graduate school, finding a “real” job and succeeding. Everyone seems to be doing what most people do when they are 22 – embarking on the beginning of a journey towards significance and doing things that will make a difference.
I observe these things, and it irks me inside. I begin to compare my life with everyone else’s, and I feel behind or like I’m doing something wrong. When I look at myself, I see a failure. I see someone in a constant state of limbo. I see someone who went from having a lot of potential when they were younger to someone who HAS to do something to prove they are worth anything at all. Bottom line, I’ve got a problem people, and it may be a problem that some of you have as well. I’ve believed lies, and I’ve let them into my thoughts and heart. Here’s the thing though, these lies bring confusion instead of peace, sorrow instead of joy, despair instead of hope, and doubt instead of faith.
But these lies have no right to plant themselves in us, they have no right to cause us pain, not when we are sons and daughters of the Most High. No way! Psalm 139 tells us that God knit us together in our mother’s womb, He knew us before we were born, His thoughts about us are precious, He is with us where ever we may go. Jeremiah 29:11-13 says He has good plans for us, that when we pray He will listen. He hears us and He sees us. We are approved by Him, there is no greater thing in life than to be His son or daughter. And if that is all I ever am, that is enough. The LORD will work out the details in our lives. My story is not MY story for MY glory or satisfaction, it is HIS story for HIS glory.
In Matthew 14 the disciples are caught in a storm, and Jesus comes to them walking on water. Peter tells Jesus to call for him to come if it is truly him, so Jesus calls Peter out of the boat. Peter, with faith and courage, gets out of the boat and he walks on water (so sick) towards Jesus. But the second he takes his eyes off of Jesus, he starts to sink. Jesus says to Peter in verse 31b (paraphrased) “You have so little faith, why did you doubt me?”
“Why did you doubt me?” Why do I doubt Him? Why do I focus on the storm around me instead of my Savior in front of me? Why do I put my worth and value in worldly things when I have a Father who loves me enough to send his Son to the earth to die for my sins? I’m a broken human being, I’m a sinner, but I am not a failure and I do not have to cower or succumb to the lies that are thrown at me…and neither do you.
My worth is not measured by a degree, my worth is measured by my King. If following Him means giving up achieving the ways I think I need to achieve then I’m going to come to terms with it (no matter how long the journey and with the help of the Holy Spirit I am sure). I’m learning to lay down comparing myself to the world and those around me. I’m learning to lay down achieving for worldly approval. I’m learning to lay down my fear so I can learn to better focus on Jesus and walk on water with him in faith like Peter did for those brief moments. It sucks sometimes and it hurts sometimes, but dang it will be worth it in the end. I don’t have to force open a closed door or crawl through a broken window. I just have to faithfully follow where the Holy Spirit leads me and trust He has the key to any door that I’m called to walk through.
So what do you need to lay down that is causing you to focus on the storm and not Jesus? What lies are you believing right now? Where are you comparing where you don’t need to be?
Hali is keeping her eyes faithfully on Jesus while following where the Holy Spirit leads, trusting the right door will open in time. She’s a rock star EMT, loves farm life, is my personal Su chef, and prefers “love punches” to hugs to show affection. Thanks for sharing your heart Hali!