Big shout-out to the Peace of God on this night. I walked through today and took notice of the absurdity of the Christian faith. Here we are, packed up, prepared(ish), excited, and ready to head out... and our day is punctuated with intense prayer sessions, many tears, hugs, spontaneous requests, loud praise offerings... and calmness. To the outside observer, we have no reason to be calm. We have every reason to panic. We have every reason to get exasperated. We have every reason to freak out during the last-minute preparations and the glitches in our schedules. We have every reason to saturate our bodies with caffeine, and wait in nervous anticipation for our 3:00 AM departure.
Yet, here I am, in a beautifully unexpected peaceful eagerness. Five hours to go, and all that can cross my mind is the fact that we are being led by the Sovereign One. All I can mull over is the inspiring idea that we will soon be united with family we've never met. All I can ponder is the indescribable truth that the Most Worthy One uses the least worthy ones to accomplish His purpose. How can fear even enter this equation? How can our worries combat the capability of the Lord of Hosts?
After finishing up my commitments after school, I decided to go for a drive. As per usual, my wheels took me to the very edge of town. 9:00, the fields surrounding this town were perfectly black. I parked my car on the furthest road, and then walked out into the snowy field. I walked slowly... and as I looked up at the bluish-black bubble above me, I could do nothing but shiver. The total darkness that engulfed the whole land made the constellations a thousand times brighter than the view from the dorms. The silence was unbreakable, and it frightened me just a little bit. Staring into the Milky Way and the clusters of stars scattered from one horizon to the other, worship songs began to flood into my head. "God of Wonders beyond our Galaxy..." "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty..." "I'm overwhelmed, I'm overwhelmed by You..." and when I began to sing them aloud, the sound of my own voice felt as though it was simply being swallowed up by the night.
So I sung a little bit louder. Totally awestruck, I lifted my voice as loud as I could. Nobody would ever hear me. My soft voice stood no chance against the massive expanse of prairie, and the heights of the heavens. Already, talk about humbling.
I think so loudly. In my head, I mean. My thoughts are louder than my real voice. I'm constantly talking to myself, planning out my day, reminding myself of errands to run, replaying moments in my head, thinking back and thinking forward... and my head just never shuts up.
As I stood out there in the darkness, staring at stars burning trillions of kilometers away, a glimmer caught my eye. So small I could hardly keep my eye on it, there was a jet up in the black sky. Immediately my mind turned to the thought of the aircraft that I would be boarding with my team in just a few hours. I wondered about the passengers on the jet. I wondered about their destination. I wondered about their plans. And that's when I realized, I couldn't hear their plane.
From their point of view, probably all they were hearing was the rumbling of the engines and the sound of the jet slicing through the air. From their perspective, their trip must have felt truly engulfing. All-encompassing. Priority. But from my perspective, they were a moving, blinking speck that I mistook for a distant star. Even the hush of the breeze was louder than them, from my position. From where I stood, they were smaller than small. They were insignificant.
Yeah. Preachin' to myself, here.
What if the stress and worry that come with mission trips stem from a proud heart? What if the feeling of chaos and fear come from the crazy idea that we are necessary? Tonight, God flipped my mind backwards so that I could set off on the right foot. Standing in the middle of a field in the darkness of night, looking like a total fool, here's what He impressed upon my heart:
Karis, you're tiny. You're barely visible. You may scream and shout, but you make no sound on your own. You may write, speak, dance, and teach, but you are of no consequence by yourself. Your team may be filled with talented individuals, plans, ideas, hopes and dreams, but they mean nothing on their own. This trip belongs to me. This team is rightfully mine. I'm the Most Worthy God, and still I've chosen you to be the vessel for my love. Everything you want to pour out to the people in Colombia is a direct gift from me. Apart from me, you can do nothing. Without my inspiration, your journals will have no worth. Without my motivation, your service will be empty. Without my presence, you will return feeling dissatisfied, and hollow. In these last five yours, it's time to re-center. It's time to hand over the reigns, hand over the pen, and hand over your so-called "preparations." Get your eyes off the work of YOUR hands, and focus on BEING the work of MINE.
By the end of these twelve days, I want to have a journal filled with the evidence of God's mercy. By the end of these twelve days, I want to have documented every blessing, every miracle, every sorrow, every joy, every test of faith, and every Godly reward. The only problem is the volume of my own head! Am I forcing my expectations into reality? Am I pushing my own agenda this trip? Am I following God, or telling Him to follow me?
God, rip off the callous layer surrounding my heart. However painful that process may be, don't hold back. In my swollen state, minister to me with the healing powers of your Spirit. I want to encounter you in real-time. I don't want our encounters to be limited to my journaling sessions at the end of every day. I want to see you in the morning, when I'm eating, when I feel useless, when I'm ecstatic. I want to go offroad. I want the spontaneous to become the norm, and the surprising to become a daily occurence. Heck, I want you to wake me from my sleep!
I want to experience YOUR story, God. I want you to be the author, not me. I want to see your work in raw, unfiltered format. Give me yourself, and help me get rid of myself. I'm SO ready to get low. I'm SO ready to disappear, and to get a glimpse of what you can do when my own selfish heart isn't in the way of your plan.
There's nothing I want more than for your Spirit to fall afresh on me, and fill up my heart. I'm sorry there wasn't much room for you before. I'm sorry I took up the space with my own wants and needs. I'm sorry you got the far corner.
Starting now, I'm giving you centre stage. This is your show.
I'm so ready to stop being ready. I'm ready to turn down the volume of my own voice. I'm ready to turn off the sound in my brain. I'm ready to depart. I'm ready to depart from this town, this country, this continent... and this self-absorbed heart.
I'm hitting 'mute.' And I can't wait to see what happens.