Stubborn Child

January 11, 2011

The other day I was talking to God when He chuckled and told me I’ve been a stubborn child.  It was one of those, “You could have had things a lot easier for yourself if only… ” types of laughs.  The days surrounding the New Year were particularly tumultuous in my inner-world for this very reason.  Stubborn.  For the last two and a half years I have been stubborn about wanting to live in Redding, CA.  In fact, my attitude was pretty bad.

This is a good place for a rewind.  Two and a half years ago I lived in Kansas City.  I had fun friends, was going to school, helping with a church plant, leading Bible studies, had a decent job and was paying the bills.  And then God.  That September I packed up my Jeep and moved halfway across the country to Redding, California, to go to ministry school.  I was planning on going for one year and moving back to Kansas City.

And then first year wrapped up and I thought, “Second year sounds like it is going to be really good.  Maybe I’ll stay if I get accepted.”  Which I did.  I wasn’t at all anticipating doing the third year internship until last February.  I helped with an evangelism conference.  It ended on a Friday and over the weekend I thought, “Maybe I would stay to intern if Chris (the outreach pastor) asked me to stay.  But that won’t happen”.  I ate those words two days later.  So I stayed.  Then, before Christmas, Chris asked me to stay for the 2011-2012 school year to help oversee the small army of interns he is recruiting for next year.  “Awwwww, dang it!  I have plans,” I thought, “I’m moving to Miami!”  Though, I’ll admit that before Chris asked me I had this horrible premonition that I was going to be staying in Redding longer than I thought.  For the record, Redding is a small-ish town, and I’m a city girl.  I want to be in a CITY where there are colorful people and concerts and museums and cool restaurants and coffee shops.  God and I wrestled about it.  I told him all my grand ideas on why I should move away and do what I want.  Then three things happened that changed my perspective:

1. The four of us current interns and Chris had a dreaming session about next year.  I looked at that list and I looked at my dreams and realized that I would be doing a whole lot of things I love and want to be doing for the rest of my life.  I would be pastoring people, helping organize the expanding outreach department, doing some admin work, working on various media projects, and traveling with teams to churches to preach and train people.

2.  I was driving to meet a friend at night.  As I drove on the “freeway” (see, I am a Californian now) at night, approaching downtown Redding, I realized that it was quite pretty with the lights and the river and what not.

3. Heidi Baker spoke at church a week ago.  She talked about how you only get fruit from things that are planted.  She asked us to consider what we need to sow to see fruit.  I think she was talking about sowing into different ministries, but God told me, “You need to plant yourself in Redding.”  I realized that there are things I haven’t received at Bethel because I hadn’t “put roots down”.  Plants get nourishment through their roots after all.  So I am officially planted in Redding until God says, “Go.”  It could be a few months or a few years.  But I’m here.  And I’m changing my attitude.  For two and a half years Redding has been home in the sense that I have an address here.  But now I’m getting used to it really being home.  In fact, when I get some money, I might even get a California driver’s license.  Also, God has been gracious and joined me with friends over the last few years who are also called to stay in Redding, for a while at least.  It helps to know that all of my comrades aren’t going to abandon me after this school year.

4.  I went to a party this past weekend and realized that many of the people there are about to be invited to intern with Chris next year (thus the people I’ll be working with).  I looked around and realized that they are amazing and I really love each one of them.  I know I have a lot to offer them, but, honestly, there’s quite a bit I want to learn from them too.

At that same party I had a conversation with a guy and he was talking about people whose biggest aim is to come to the school of ministry and eventually get asked to be on staff, like Bethel is the ultimate goal in ministry.  In summary, he said that where we end up in this life doesn’t really matter.  Every accomplishment we have we are going to throw at the feet of Jesus anyway and spend all eternity with the most beautiful man ever.  When he said that I kind of chuckled, because I’m the one who wants to leave, and God keeps telling me to stay.  But I did realize that it doesn’t matter if I’m in Redding or Miami because it’s all about Jesus.  Sometimes I need to be reminded of that.


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