I've spent the last 3 months living on this mountain. Moshi, Tanzania is on the bottom of this incredible mountain... Kilamanjaro of course. I've been eating with its people, drinking water from its springs and falling in love with its children. On the other hand... I've been living on this spiritual mountain. Eating only things of God in my life (no outside temptaions:tv, music, movies, etc...) drinking from this wellspring of life and beauty that I see in His creation from the minute i wake up to that huge Tanzanian sun to the moment I fall back asleep with an amzing view of every star to see from earth through my tiny bedroom window.
To go home i'll have to come down from the mountain but I won't have to come down from the mountain... that makes sense I hope. My attitude and heart have forever been completly changed. The Lord has completly uprooted my entire being... not like "I went on another week long missions trip to Mexico and saw some poor people, built a house then came home and went back to my same routine..." although ive been on some POWERFUL week longs to Mexico... but more so like being taken away from my comfort zone and everything and everyone I know... like right now i'm sitting on the computer in my hostel on the island of Zanzibar off the coast of the Indian Ocean with a naitonal sitting next to me watching The Breakfast club with Arabic subtitles... who does that?
I don't believe you will truly, completly appreciate your life for what it is until you come to a place where you are willing to change and grow and move forward and be stretched and be flexible... to give God all you are... all the time...
One of my biggest battles has been to lay down this sin nature... this flesh.... this being human if you will... :) selfish thinking- the me, mine, I mentality that I've perpetuated with selfcenteredness since I could make decisions... oh yes, i'm still selfish, but now aware in that attitude and pursuing change and growth daily.
This is my prayer for every person I know... and not even that... every person I dont know... but even more so every YOUNG person I know. Today i met a woman that said the more languages you learn before your 35, the more likely you are to become fluent in those languages... and let me tell you, being selfless, thinking of others higher than myslef and more than myself is a language nearly foreign to almost everyone I know... especially me. So my proposal is that we start young, people! e step outside of our flesh (ie: selfish thinking, shallowness and yes even foolishness at times)outside of our comfort zone and our own plans... let go and venture out!You will never I mean NEVER regret it! I can't imagine my life without these people... my circle of friends without these friends is incomplete.
Think about it... it's this bubble... this ocmfort zone... this safety net of having every second of our lives planned after highschool. Graduate, go to school, work your butt off, get a job, work your butt off, fail a class, take it agian, pick a life plan, change the life plan, work your butt off, graduate school, do the plan, tolerate the plan, change the plan, go back to school, work your butt off, fail some more classes and the cycle continues til we're 30 and/or too old to changh the plan again... and in the midst of it all... we stand in church every Sunday telling Him "I want to do what you want me to!!" HMM??? Of course much of this scenario can be inevitable even for those of us completly walking in obedience... life is full of things we don't really want to do but need to to get closer to what God has for us... but... what if? Just what if there was something bigger than everything we thought we knew??? Something more to life than just following the status quo of the 18-28 year old American. Suppose you gave God a period of time where He had your UNDIVIDED attention. What if we were truly missional in every area of our lives... walking servant minded... not "socially acclimated to our cultures image for youth" minded.
Let's say you took a semester/trimester or by gosh a year off of school (gasp! "A whole year?!?!? but then I'll graduate when I'm 24 instead of 23!!!" you may say... "hakuna matata" I say... "one less year of being a grownup in the real world"... lol... i know, someone slap me later) but let's justr pretend for one minute... you took this time and got away... NYC, Japan, Tanzania, the Philipines, Oahu, San Francisco, Puerto Rico... and the list of amazing places goes on. You go: you spend your time learing about a new culture and a new language, eating new food, meeting new friends from all around the world, adapting to new personalities, learning how to work on a team, learning to be humble and selfess, falling in love with a people you would have never imagined even knowing... hot summer nights in January...
Not going to the movies! talking on a cellphone!!! watching MTV or vh1 or having starbucks everymorning and In-n-out every weekend... listening to Sunday sermons 2 deep in translations... serving expecting nothing in return and loving most if not all of every moment. Meeting people with similar vision, passion, and heart for ministry as you but nothing else besides that similar and walking away with a best friend... Diving into the word of God during our spare time!!!??? Spare time? Yes, it's awesome. And last but not least... seeing the good the bad and the ugly of your own heart and waking up every moring in pursuit of refinement, understanding the hear tof God more because when you're not in your bubble... your comfort zone... your "home church" with your homies.. the only way to look is up.
What if we really did "go out to the world"?. God shouldn't have to call us up on our night time minutes and tell us exactly when where and ow to go here or there... he's given us His word to obey, a heart to feel compassion, ears to hear a peoples cry, hands to work and serve with, and eyes to see the need, and feet to go! We have God senses... are we using them to the best of our ability? Are our eyes open? Or are we waiting for "One new message" with A-Z details... God never "called" me to Africa... but I asked for his eyes, ears and heart and He opened up the dorrs of oppurtunities to put my misisonal foot forward and go to the need.
mom shouldn't have to tell us to do the dishes... if we see dishes in the sink shouldn't we just do them? Hasn't she raised us up well enough to recognize and just do it?
I'm sure you can't imagine the "mountain" you'll be on when you enter into a realm of obedeince... yes, you'll still be human; selfish and prideful and daily battling to exit that flesh but yes you'll be transformed form the inside out and constantly refined by this awesome God and blessed by the oppurtinity to be on his frontlines.
...You must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the good news you will find true life...
and how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than the soul?