Control: To exercise direction; to dominate; to command.
When I think of a follower of Jesus, these are some of the last things that come to mind. A follower can be defined as “someone that moves or travels behind something or someone.” I consider myself a follower of Jesus; however, too often I find myself trying to take the lead. This is where the desire to be in control becomes a potential danger in my life.
It’s easy to sit back and reflect on verses that talk about God’s will for our lives and trusting in Him (Proverbs 3:5-6, Jeremiah 29:11 just to name a couple familiar ones). Unfortunately, though, it’s not always as easy to put them into practice. It’s refreshing and peaceful knowing that He cares for us and that He has a plan for us. But sometimes when things seem tough, unknown, or even scary, the temptation to take control and act like I know what’s best comes at me in full force.
I wish I could say that every time this happens, I turn to God’s word and prayer. I really do wish that were true. To be honest, it’s not always that simple. To be even more honest, I’m thankful for the lessons I learned the hard way. Serving in Honduras on the mission field, learning a new language, living in a new culture and facing new challenges has allowed me to experience a season of life that is been jam-packed with moments where I’ve been forced to make a decision. A decision to trust in the Lord that He has a perfect plan, or to take matters into my own hands and take the lead.
In a relationship with Jesus, there are many moments that require surrender. There’s the initial surrender when you realize you need Him and that you owe Him your life and surrender it all to Him. But then there are also all of those moments throughout your walk. The moments like Noah had when he followed the Lord’s voice and built the ark while everyone around him ridiculed and laughed at him. The moments like Daniel had when he decided to continuously praise God while being thrown into a lion’s den. The moments like Joseph had remaining faithful when he was falsely accused and thrown into prison.
Yet even in the moments where I fail and I make the decision to try to take the lead, God graciously holds me tight with His loving arms. He uses these moments to bring His Word to life in ways that are indescribable.
To learn more about how ROOM empowers children and communities, please visit our website.
This week’s ROOM contributor is Johana Doblado. Johana works as our Scarlet Project Director in Honduras. As the climate of the country has changed, she has had to show her ability to ebb and flow with the needs made evident. The only characteristic that can make that type of flexibility possible is the one she describes in today’s post. We are so thankful for you, Jo!
There is a verse that has been etched into my heart and mind ever since I was a little girl. Growing up in a Christian home and also going to a Christian school, I saw this verse practically everywhere. It is a simple for a child to learn, but carries such a powerful message that I am reminded of every day, and more so today than ever. The verse is Acts 20:35b, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
As I sit here and reflect on the end of 2016 and the start of 2017 the logical question hits me: What will 2017 bring or, moreover, what will it bring me? This is how we usually start our reflection of a new year–a year of much needed fresh starts, wiping the slate clean and starting again, of new goals and dreams, new structures and routines. It is also a time of looking back at 2016 and seeing the good we want to carry with us and the bad we will learn from and the mistakes we will avoid making again.
However, with this verse fresh in my mind, it forces me to refocus that question as I gear up to do my own reflection of the year that I’m leaving behind and the year that is looming ahead of me, and as I refocus I rephrase the question to What can I give in 2017? What more can I do? And by this I don’t necessarily mean money; I mean time, effort and love. I aim give things that actually matter, things that don’t have a price tag but that have so much more value in the life of the people.
I realize that I am surrounded by all kinds of amazing people who have one thing in common: a desire to give through time-investment and love. I grew up watching someone like this: my mother. She was always giving; she gave what she had to give and sometimes even what she shouldn’t have given. She was constantly giving of what the Lord had placed in her hands. She always wanted to be a blessing to others, and because of this, I truly believe that is why she was always blessed. Another person who showed me this while growing up was a missionary I know, Pam. She moved to Honduras when she was in her early twenties, not knowing the language but knowing one thing: she knew she had to give, and boy did she!
I had a lifetime of watching these women give and be a blessing to others.
This weekend as we rang in the new year with a celebration with ROOM Foster Families. I was once again awestruck at the myriad of role models I have today. At the age of 33, I am still learning this very simple and short verse, “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” As I looked around at the various families we have the privilege of walking alongside, I see more than ever what a blessing it is to give. I see each family making the choice of giving every single day. None of our families are rich in money and wealth, but they are rich where it counts the most… in love, a love that is rooted in the Father above. A love that gives and will keep on giving in the lives of every child that is growing up in the center of one of our families. It is amazing to realize that now more than ever I have many, many role models to look up to.
So if you are able, join me in refocusing our look into 2017, and asking ourselves: How can we become the blessing that others receive in 2017?
For more information about ROOM foster families in Honduras, or to learn how you can “give more” as Johanna describes, please visit www.makeroom.org.