Monday, March 25, 2013

My First Big Adventure!

College can be considered an adventure, but I think it was a safe adventure. I already knew what to expect being a student for 10+ years of my life and having a professor as a dad. But post-graduation, I have no knowledge system or true experience to glean from, so I consider this to be my next adventure!

I am off to Orlando, Florida!
Talk about going the farthest place possible from friends and family.

I have felt a tug at my heart to intern with Cru, but this year I really had to rely on God to show me exactly where He might desire me to go. I went to Winter Conference (a conference where hundreds of college students from the region gather and worship and learn about all the different things they could pursue in Cru) seeking an answer to this question and all I got was "Yes, I want you to intern." That really didn't answer my question, "where do you want me to go?"

So through prayer and guidance I felt like campus ministry was not right for me yet. TU Cru has been a blessing and struggle in that I have tried to make it my ministry, my mark on campus. And time and again God has reminded me that it is not mine, it needs to grow and be for God, not for my own pride. So while working with OSU would be insightful and allow me to work with students at TU, I knew it would be heartbreaking not to be closer and not as involved as when I was a student. So campus ministry was out, that left Regional Headquarters or International Headquarters.

I visited Austin, TX Regional Headquarters and was surprised at all of the people and the opportunities that I could pursue. When I left, I had no attachment to Orlando and kept an open mind for the next visit, thinking Austin might be the surprise choice (surprise in that in August I would have said Orlando all the way).

By the time I got to Orlando I actually had some negative emotions going back, especially where Summer Project was concerned. It hurt so much to be back and to realize my project friends were not there. That that time had come and pass, and that no matter what I did, it was in the past as a reminder and cornerstone for my faith, a season of life. By Friday (I got there Thursday afternoon) I was convinced that God must not want me back in Orlando, but I was also confused and did not feel like He had answered that question I had been asking Him all along, "Where God?" But He sat someone down right next to me at lunch and it just clicked. The potential job, the atmosphere, everything just felt right and I felt such peace.

So through application and interviews I found out I was accepted to work in Orlando, Florida at Lake Hart, Campus Crusade for Christ's International Headquarters. I could not be more excited and scared at the same time! I am going to move halfway across the country and live in Florida (I know, going to the one place hotter than Texas!) work in an office where I have no technical skills (majoring in Sociology and Psychology, it only gets you so far in a work force without a Masters) and just a bucketful of faith to lead me and guide me in this adventure! Like I prayed for last summer, God is putting me in a  place outside of my comfort zone (though with a little cushioning, I have worked at Lake Hart for 2 months! That gives me a slight edge, maybe?) yet growing me and challenging me along the way. I am so excited for this adventure, it is going to be emotional, wonderful, exciting, difficult, and joyous along the way! God is always in control, and I have to keep reminding myself of that throughout this journey, I don't need to be the pilot, just an active member of the crew!

I Don't Want to Grow Up

I suddenly feel great nostalgia today. Entering Tulsa after a bliss-filled spring break the song "I Won't Grow Up" from Peter Pan came on. I smiled and softly sang along thinking "I can relate to Peter." When I hit my late teens I realized that I was no longer a child. I couldn't play as I use to and have my parents say "You can do _____ when you are an adult," because soon enough I was able to do everything my parents said I could not do as a child. Neverland has been on my mind as of late, the idea of never growing up. Everything is ahead of you, falling in love, getting a job, going to college, it is a far distant dream when you are a child. My sister put a picture up of the three of us siblings as children, and while I laughed and made a comment about it, I noticed the other comments were "Oh, where did these cuties go?" And I often think that myself. Where did that time go? How fast time is! I reflect more on that as I draw near to graduating college. I dread it and cannot wait for it to come! I want to graduate, I am tired of college and all the schoolwork required of me that will soon be forgotten and unknown by others. But I dread it because all of those dreams I had as a child are becoming a reality, I have lost my chance at Neverland so to speak. I see the future as a bit gloomy (future in general, not the the internship with Cru) because I cannot imagine the joys that will come because I only know the joys of a child.

I think there is something special about being a child, even Jesus saw that when his disciples scorned the children for wanting to come to him. Jesus was mad at the disciples because they still didn't get it, Jesus was put on this Earth to reach out to the forgotten, the rejected. I think I am having a disciple moment. I am just not getting it, I see the future from the viewpoint of a sinner, a human made of flesh living for the flesh.  Jesus is saying "Elise, You don't really know me, or you have forgotten" because the joy He can bring into my life in the future will likely be 10,000 times better than I can know or imagine. Neverland is a place for children, and we all know children tend to sin more than repent for those sins (I know from experience as a child never really understanding my actions) but we still love them. But we all do grow up, we die, it is a fact of life. Peter Pan never gets to experience love, or to hold his child in his arms for the first time, or to grow wise and learn what the deepest love did for humanity through Jesus Christ.

Sure, the future is unknown and not like childhood, but that doesn't mean it is dull and boring, it can be a new adventure, a Foreverland, living for the Kingdom, in the Kingdom with the King at my side to join every adventure He gives me. Neverland will never happen because we can never be children forever (or if we try it doesn't fit because we have grown and moved on) but Christ offers us an opportunity to go somewhere beautiful, to Foreverland, that is Heaven. "To die would be an awfully great adventure," I think Peter got this right, and since I have died for Christ, my adventure is already started and still going on from now until my physical body dies and I truly enter into Foreverland.

I don't want to grow up, I want to grow in Christ.