Tons and tons and tons of conflict going on lately. I feel like I’ve done nothing but wrestle with God lately. I’ve got a lot goin’ on spiritually speaking and it’s.. well.. a stressor, for sure. I wish this would have come earlier in the summer. The last thing I need is stress going into the school year. Last time I checked, music provided enough stress on my life. Throwing spiritual issues into the mix won’t help at all.
I’m in conflict about a lot right now, but China has been, by far, the most conflicting aspect of my life this summer. I’m struggling with it for a lot of different reasons, but fear tops them all. I’m terrified to go over there because of how Christians are treated. Granted, persecution is what refines us and what purifies us, but holy smokes.. Clearly we see why I’m a little unnerved about it. What continues to come to mind along with China is Italy. Most of you are aware that the University Chorale will be traveling to Italy this upcoming May for roughly two weeks. We will be doing a lot of random “street singing ministry,” but we will also be doing lots of touring for our own personal benefit. This trip is over $3,000, nearly $4,000 My dad made a deal with me that if I paid for half, he’d pay for the other half. Half would almost be $2,000. Here’s my problem: God didn’t call me to go to Italy, he called me to go to China. What’s the problem with this, seeing as how this is a school trip? If I’m fitting the bill, I can just as easily pay for a 1-2 week missions trip to China in January or December of 2010 for $2,800. If I can only pay for one, then I need to pay for China. I’m sorry, but I just cannot justify going on a trip that’s so much about myself when there are people who need the Gospel. The trip I found is an outreach to college students. Atheist students, but they are open to the Gospel. I really think this is a good first-trip for me. I’m reaching people my own age, and I have a year and a half to prepare. My biggest set-back will sadly be my own parents. They are in no way open to the idea of China. I hate to tell them, but.. I don’t care. If I’m fitting the bill, the whole bill, then I’m going. If Dad wants to threaten to stop paying for my tuition, well, fine. I won’t be back to IWU after that semester because there’s no way I can pay for it on my own. Hello, state school. But whatever, that’s getting way ahead of myself. Back to now. I’ve told them that I have every intention of student-teaching in China (if I’m still in that field…yeah.) for half of my teaching time, and they’re, well, completely against it. They don’t understand that I’m going to follow the call of God on my life way before I’ll follow their selfish desire to keep me here. And when I say selfish, don’t misunderstand me.. I know they want me safe, but I wasn’t called to be ‘safe’ in my walk with Christ; I was called to be bold (2 Timothy 1:7). I’m done with living this life for me. I’m so sick of it. Americans are the most selfish human beings on earth and dangit, I’m done! I’ve been all worried about the car Dad wants to get & I’ve been begging for another convertible, preferably a Mustang convertible. UM, HELLO. That’s done & over with. I don’t care what he gets me. If it gets me from A to B, great. I know it’s going to be a new model, because that’s why he’s wanting to get rid of my current car: it isn’t new enough. And yet I’m sitting here complaining because the roof won’t come off the car he wants to get me. Yeah, that’s done. Secondly, do we notice I’m complaining about getting a car that’s being FREELY GIVEN to me??!?! I’m ashamed! I’m absolutely ashamed! I’m so worried about keeping up with many of my friends at school who’s families have more money & all that jazz that I’ve totally lost site of what’s most important. I’m disgusted with myself. Disgusted. I went shopping TWO days this past week. TWO!!!! Do I dare justify this? Well, I was trying to get nicer clothes so I fit in better with a lot of people at school. I really don’t feel like I fit in with the Chorale crowd at all. At. All. And hey, I don’t buy anything unless it’s on sale, so when I walked away from Maurice’s with over $300 in clothes and only paid about $60-70 in all, I’m doing fine, right? Well, it looks fine. No. It isn’t fine. I’m being selfish. I have clothes in my closet, and I’m more worried about the impression I’m making on other people than I am on God and the Kingdom. I sound like I’m knocking Chorale and I’m not. Ask anyone; I’m totally in love with being a part of the group. I give everything I have because God gave me the talent and ability to be able to. It’s just that I look around at a lot of people and I’m sitting here thinking, “Hoooly crap. Not worthy.” I’m trying to override that feeling with WHY I’m there. But it’s things like clothes, cars, and everything else worldly that are seriously hindering the Kingdom. We as Christians have become obsessed and that’s disgusting, repulsive, and totally uncalled for. Let me put this bluntly:
Life is not about you. Get over it.
I’m not talking to one single non-Christian because they haven’t “dedicated” their lives to Christ. I’m talking to every single Christian in America, with myself being at the very tip-top of the list. How in the world can ANYONE do ANY sort of work for the Kingdom when our minds are so dead-set on keeping up with Jones’? Don’t think you’re part of that? That’s why you’re concerned about what others think when they come over to your house, right? That’s why we have to make it publicly known what we’re doing IN church and FOR the church, right? So others know that we’re doing good deeds, right? And that’s why even though we’re being “good people” and helping out with VBS, we don’t feel the need to tithe, because we’re being good people, right? No. False. Completely false. Tithing has been a little painful this summer. Good. Time to kick it up a notch and not just give 10%. It isn’t sacrificial if it doesn’t hurt. We aren’t trying to keep up, but that’s why we still find a need to try and impress someone else with our job, right? We have to be in the most, doing the most, we have to BE the most, because .. well .. -gasp- not because we’re trying to keep up with each other! No! That could NEVER be it! COME ON. Yeah, I’m being harsh right now. I’m saying all of this to myself far before I say it to anyone else, but if you’re thinking I’m a jerk for saying all of this, chances are I must be right. You wouldn’t hate me for it if it didn’t sting a little. Sorry, but in case you’ve never met me, I don’t really give much of a care to whether or not people get fuzzy-feel-good feelings when they read my opinion. I don’t sugarcoat, so if you want cavities, go elsewhere.
Anyway. This is just the beginning of all the bashing I’ve been doing on myself lately, but it’s much needed and very good for me. I need to be refined. I’ve been praying for God to come along & smack me upside the head this summer. I haven’t had anyone get in my face spiritually-speaking in quite a while. I have certain friends who get in my face about other things I need, but ever since Ashly left school at the end of the year, I haven’t really had anyone getting in my face. Well, prayers answered. I’ve gotten nothing but serious spiritual kicks in the pants from church, bible study, and visiting with others as of late. It’s very much needed. And I’ve found that I’m on the right path to finding the answers I’m looking for.
Okay.. Donnelley’s Duty calls.
Be a fool for Christ.