Wow, life is strange. I feel so much right now, and it seems like none of it should go together harmoniously, but it does. The Lord is writing music in my life; teaching me how to write my own again, maybe. I used to think that I’d been neglecting songwriting, but when I was talking with a dear friend last week and she asked me about it, I realized my daily poetry has rhythm most of the time. Music has been coming out of me still. We can’t ignore our design, friends. No matter how much it scares us to release.
He’s been teaching me that in so many ways, not just in that conversation with my friend. I took my sixth trip to Generation Unleashed this year. It was my last trip as a staff member for this youth group, so I tried to be open to every element of it that could become special and lasting. And there were so many beautiful little moments that I treasure closely in my heart; so many significant and simply sweet words were shared, both by the speakers and within our group.
Judah Smith was the speaker the night I fully believed in God’s love for me at fifteen years old, so getting to hear him speak again felt very full-circle. This year he spoke of soul-homes. Just like our physical state needs a home, our soul needs that place of rest and comfort, too. He explained that God gave us His own breath (Gen. 2:7), and that when we bless Him with that breath, our soul goes home. In that home, we simply get to be with Him, to listen to Him. And going to that soul-home to be with Him is what matters. We have to let our souls go home every day; we have to praise Him with the breath He is letting us borrow in order to do that. The Lord and I have been talking about home for a few months now, and this message was a very clear one from Him that above all else, my home will always be with Him in our soul-connection. I have that home with Him. You do, too. Go there. That’s what matters in this life, friend.
Dylan Jones spoke of carrying burdens. He used the story of David fighting Goliath, particularly when Saul has David try on his armor and David removes it all, saying, “I am not used to it” (1 Samuel 17:31-40). He shared that David was not used to relying on his own strength to fight battles, and that often we carry weights we were never meant to because we hope they will help us. The key to endurance and to victory is laying down those things. Sometimes there isn’t something wrong with me; sometimes, I’m carrying something I’m not supposed to. It could be sin, which He is ready to take from me (1 John 1:9), but other things can be weights, too. I don’t need to pick up those deeds or duties, even if they are admirable. I just need to pick up the foundational things– unconditional love, faith, grace. Dear friend, we were never designed to carry weight of any kind. His burden is light, and He is offering to trade with us. Let go.
Dylan also spoke at one of the additional sessions I attended, and I’ll just share some notes that were important to me:
Jesus doesn’t start something He’s unwilling to finish.
Anxiety and insecurity are symptoms of following the wrong thing.
Your sole responsibility is to keep following Him, regardless of mistakes.
Chris Durso was the next speaker, and he shared about the two crosses we can bear. He said that Jesus already bore our cross of sin, so when He tells us to pick up our cross and follow Him, that isn’t the cross He means. The cross He asks us to carry is one of purpose. He enables us to carry it and goes with us. We argue with Him about what we’ve been given, but if it’s there for us, we can accept it; we are able. So many of us are still carrying our sin crosses, when we should be carrying our purposes instead. The cross Jesus took for us is screaming life at us; “Live!” it says, because death was defeated on it. I am terrified of my purpose-cross. Absolutely terrified. But I have to carry it, and this message convinced me deeply of that.
Chris spoke at the next session I attended, too, on Numbers 13:26-33. He shared about “giants” in life and how to defeat them. I wait for backup so often, thinking I can’t act until something happens first, but the Lord is telling me that I am enough. And these giant obstacles are giant opportunities for God to work. To handle these obstacles, we have to talk to Him about them. If it is promised to me, it is coming my way; it is not dependent on me. When we jump ahead, we become terrified because we weren’t ready to see it yet. We also need to talk back to our obstacles, telling them about our God. We have the power of life and death in our tongues; we need to speak life over ourselves. Giants fail when faith steps in. God has never failed before– why would He start with me? The promised land is His to give, and friend, He is giving it to you and me. I felt this message deep in my stomach, with dread and conviction and awe. I’m facing some pretty big giants, and I am so scared to act in any way; I am scared they will beat me and leave me in sorrow and defeat. But the Lord promises me: This land is mine to give, and I am giving it to YOU. I can’t escape this message no matter how much I’d sometimes like to.
All of these messages are in the back of my mind every single day. They are inescapable, because the Lord is pursuing me and these are His words. I thank Him for that pursuit and for giving me purpose, even when it is terrifying and overwhelming. And I’d like to let you know:
He’s doing the same thing with you. Listen to Him. And trust Him.