Hope and Brokenness

For many years I listened to the world. It told me to put myself over others. That my value came from those who loved me, how much money I had, or what I did for a living. For years, I thought if I had a high GPA, lots of friends, and was involved in clubs and other activities that this would all some how fill me. And it did…for a while. My senior year of college I put a lot of hope in graduating with a high GPA, being the president of multiple clubs, and having a large friend group. I placed value in perfection, and was always trying to achieve it, though that was impossible. When I graduated, I thought I would have this great job, maybe get a PhD, and all of this would eventually lead to an incredible and successful career. But after graduation, I found my friends moving far away, my diploma was just a piece of paper, and that great career I was supposed to be starting looked more like my childhood bedroom. As the things I used to fill me for so long faded away, I couldn’t understand why I had so much in my life to be proud of, but felt so incredibly empty.

This past year has been one of the hardest in my walk with God. There have been many tears, nights of my heart longing for something more, and moments of restlessness and anger. When I graduated I could not understand why God brought me back home. I was angry and a little jealous of others who seemed to have all their dreams come true. While it felt like every choice I tried to make, God seemed say “not right now.” I began to grow restless and anxious, afraid His answer for my dreams would always be no.

The decision to apply for this internship was a great leap of faith for me. It was something I really wanted, but was afraid of what it would mean if I actually got it, or worse didn’t get it. Traveling to Africa was something I longed to do for years. I felt called to serve others, and after praying I thought maybe this was where God was leading me for the year. I was reluctant throughout the whole interview process. I was afraid to get my hopes up. This was something I wanted to be apart of so desperately, but what if the answer was no again. As more and more pieces seemed to fall into place, I grew anxious waiting. I fretted for months. When I finally got the news that I was chosen to be an intern, I didn’t think it was real. Besides telling my parents, I waited a few days to tell others just to make sure they hadn’t made a mistake. But the answer wasn’t the no I had feared, it was a yes; finally a yes!

This year has come with many hard, but necessary, lessons about God and who He is. God needed to bring me home and wreck all of my post-graduation plans. He had to take away all of the things I was putting before Him, because there was no other way I would listen. I wasn’t ready for Him to send me where He wanted me to go. In order for Him to do that, He first had to break me and show me that I needed Him more than anything else this world had to offer. All those long nights of tears begging for God to give me something more were well worth it. I began to quit looking for fullness in achievements, friends, and other worldly things. I slowly began to understand that I will never be perfect, and that’s ok. This year I have been forced to come face to face with my own brokenness and realize that ultimately I’m not the one in control. This has been a hard lesson for someone who likes to always have a plan. But ultimately, I have come to realize that His plans will always be better than anything I could ever dream up. And, following His plans comes with an unexplainable peace and fullness that I will never find anywhere else. Had I followed my chosen path, I probably would not be going to Africa to help fight for the rights of women and show them God’s love. Which is something at one time I could have only dreamed about.

I love the song “Broken Things” by Matthew West. I think it describes a beautiful picture of our relationship with God. It’s true: I’m broken, you’re broken, we’re all broken. And the funny thing is, we have nothing to really offer the God of the universe that He doesn’t already have. No talent He hasn’t already breathed into us. Nothing! But the beauty of it is…He doesn’t care. He chooses to use us for His glory in all of our imperfection and brokenness. All we have to say is “I’m yours!” And the moment we do, we are filled with His light from within. The road this year has been incredibly long and hard at times, but I can’t even begin to explain to you the excitement I hold for this journey I’m about to start. I don’t know what God has in store for me, but I do know what ever it is: I’m His!

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