Back home from college for Thanksgiving, and so ready to get some rest from the continuous onslaught of work and activity I’m presented with at Olivet Nazarene University. With all the work God’s been doing in me and around me, I was certain that going back home would feel like a missionary journey where I could tell everyone about the amazing things He’s done and what His work in me and through me has looked like. At least, that’s what I was ready for…
To my surprise, I returned home to a significant feeling of lack. Lack of drive, lack of passion, lack of strength. It felt like I completely reverted back to when I was first leaving for Olivet, and I was eager to find out why.
Up until this point, I’d been on fire in my pursuit for Christ and seeking His face. Day and night, I’ve been obsessed with knowing more of Him and showing others what I learn. The amount of ministry the Lord had been doing on campus was incredible to say the least. So when I arrived home to a feeling of complacency and mediocrity, I was disturbed.
Why am I telling you this? Because as I was praying on Tuesday afternoon, it hit me. He told me why all of this was transpiring, and I was glad beyond words that He’d revealed it to me. And here it is: I need to use this time back home to take a step back and examine the truest and most raw parts of my character, without the interference of public image and distractions. And in the midst of it, I realized something else while reading Marios Ellinas’ Warrior Material and Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling: It’s an attitude of praise and gratitude that turns any situation, any adverse circumstance, any trial, into a training ground that we can gain immense blessing from.
Ok, allow me to explain….
In Warrior Material, Marios Ellinas talks about the various virtues a Kingdom-Worker for Christ needs. He uses the analogy of a dehumidifier to describe the effects that gratitude and thanksgiving to the Lord can have on the atmosphere when things aren’t exactly…favorable. Just as a dehumidifier sucks the excess moisture from the room so that it’s easier to breathe, a heart that’s thankful in all things sucks the heaviness and sting from the atmosphere, making room for a new perspective. Every moment is a training opportunity if we’re willing to learn and be opened to His teaching. So what was I to learn from this seemingly lackluster faith I had returned home to? What good could come from this? In Jesus Calling, November 21’s devotional sees Sarah Young speaking from the perspective of Jesus Himself, telling us that a stance of thankfulness and humble acceptance from Heaven opens the way for Him to move and freely act in us and through us in any difficult time. I realized that this wasn’t a shortcoming, or something to beat myself up over…It’s a season of growth to prepare me for what’s ahead.
So, that’s my thanksgiving story. I came home to my pet dying, my faith weakening, and my family making me feel as though I should’ve stayed in Illinois this time around. And yet, I realized that it’s all for my good, because He loves me. My story will continue… What about yours? What’s that situation that you’re not happy with? What do you wish was different? Do you think that maybe if you stopped to ask your Father what you should do, you’d get an answer? I think you will, because I know what Jesus has promised you, promised me…promised us.
Happy Thanksgiving you guys, and thanks for reading!
2 Corinthians 4:17 says “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!”. 1 Thessalonians 1:16-18 says “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 says “‘And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”