During my personal retreat last month I sensed three words or themes for my upcoming year - to explore, belong and create. Little did I know I'd have the opportunity to do all three in the last few weeks! Shortly after that short but sweet weekend in East Texas, I signed up for an exploratory trip to Peru with two of my dear friends. And it was wild, to say the least.
Oftentimes when we surrender our own plans and ideas and open ourselves up to listen and wait, we find doors opening that we never could have opened or even identified on our own. So when I was invited to join a team in Peru this summer, I jumped and wholeheartedly said yes to another adventure of a lifetime. To me, this trip represents a convergence of my interests, future plans, passions, and current projects.
During our trip we traveled to three cities: Lima, Cusco, and Arequipa, all of which were beautiful in their own way. We listened (oftentimes through blurred eyes) to story after story of people who have chosen to lay their lives down in hopes of reaching and loving others, especially those who do not yet have a voice of their own. If you're interested in hearing more about this trip and ways you can be a part of bringing Light to a region desperately in need of Hope, sign up for my newsletter below.
To reference one of my lessons learned in year 25, I'm more confident than ever that although I may pursue my own options and plans, surrender is the best choice. This is much easier said than done to a motivated dreamer meets go-getter, but striving in my own strength typically doesn't create the results I want (not to mention leaves me tired, anxious and confused).
What you may not know, is this invitation came shortly after several other doors closed and I was left wondering why I was doing what I was doing and where I was going next. I had no choice but to surrender or give way to bitterness, refusing to let go of my tight grip on my own plans.
I'm thankful I serve a creative and generous God who seeks to open doors and lead me on adventures better than any I could have dreamed up myself. During the month of February I challenged myself to begin each morning with five minutes of thankfulness and it changed something in me. When we begin our days with thankfulness, it shifts the atmosphere, attitude and heart. Through thankfulness, my little heart surrendered, my hands loosened their tight grip, and I began looking forward with hope and expectation as I watched God start to bring clarity and open doors.
If you've found yourself standing at series of doors knocking till your hands hurt or discouragement starts to set in, step back for a moment, wait and listen. Offer up your own plans, desires, dreams, ect with open hands and proceed with a gentle openness. You may find another door was just waiting around the corner.