But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand. Isaiah 64:8
Have you ever had trouble letting go?
Have you been involved in work, ministry, or a certain lifestyle, and you feel like God is calling you to new things?
I think everyone in ministry struggles with this, and most in life in general as well.
I’ve only known Northern Uganda as my home and calling for the past 11 years. That’s a long time.Nearly a third of my life. I spent my 20’s and early 30’s there, fully expecting to eventually be buried there in one of the villages that is close to my heart.
And that might still be the case.
But this time in the US has lasted longer than I thought, longer than I would have hoped. My heart has ached to get back to Kitgum; and yet, I feel like God is leading me into something new. Not that I am no longer called to be a missionary, not that I am no longer meant to do Kingdom work with the people that I dearly love in a place that is more of a home now than anywhere else in the world. But I feel like there are going to be some shifts ahead. I don’t know exactly what they will be yet, but I feel the change coming on.
To be honest, it frightens me.
I have struggled with asking myself- If I am not a missionary for Africa for God in Kitgum, then who am I?
But the truth is that I am who I am no matter where I live or what I do. I am a child of God, deeply loved. Fully known.
As Tauren Wells says in his beautiful song:
“I'm fully known and loved by You
You won't let go no matter what I do
And it's not one or the other
It's hard truth and ridiculous grace
To be known fully known and loved by You
I'm fully known and loved by You”
(If you haven't heard this song, check it out!! The whole thing is amazing.)
I couldn’t say it better. No matter what I do, I am fully known and loved by the God of the Universe. I feel like during this time, the Lord is trying to get this point across to me. Or maybe, drill it into me. I can’t get away from it. (You know when He’s trying to tell you something, and you’re not necessarily paying the best attention, He keeps at it? It’s one of those moments for me. :) )
As I stay in touch with the staff on the ground in Kitgum, I hear about the blessings and struggles, and I so want to be right there in the center of it all, side by side with my comrades and getting my hands and knees dirty with the red earth.
When they ask me “the” question: “When are you coming back exactly?”, and I don’t have a definite answer, I swallow hard to fight the emotions and I hear the questioning and doubt in their silence.
The truth, the beautiful truth, is that it’s God’s work. I don’t need to be there for Him to move mightily. The wonderful people He has raised up are very competent and fully equipped for the good works He has placed before them. Maybe this is their chance to step up further and realize that they can do all things through Christ who strengthens them. Maybe this is my chance to let go and trust God to do His thing. Maybe this is all just a season of deeper trust and fuller dependence upon a God who never fails.
No matter what the future holds, I have to let go of my own ideas and trust God to work out His plan. I am willing to do whatever He desires for me to do. As hard as that would be if everything I’ve known there was far away (and I don’t know that it will be), I know that it will be good. I know that my God is good and Has my life in His hands. He has your life in His hands too, as long as you are trusting in Him and submitting to His Lordship.
We get so caught up in the details sometimes, and the plans we have made, only to have them flipped around. If we are leaning on our own ideas for our lives, we will no doubt fall when those paper-thin walls come crashing down with the slightest breeze of unexpected interruptions.
So this day, and this week, moment by moment, I let go of my ideas and I ask Him to lead me. I encourage you to do the same. The longer we fight to hold onto our own ideas, the longer we will be waiting to take hold of that which He has for us. And what He has is always better. Maybe not easier, but better. And worth it. I don't want to miss that! What about you?
It's time to let go of the wheel and let the Potter mold us.
I would love to know your thoughts, insights and struggles in this area. Please comment below to get this conversation going!