“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).
So, a couple of months ago I blogged about my 90 Days Experience.
I recommend reading it, go ahead, I’ll wait.
Okay, it’s pretty vague, right? Well, I can tell you a bit more now because the 90 Days are up! That’s right folks, I’m heading back to church, baby!
So, let me tell you some history.
I moved to Chicago nearly three years ago to help plant a church in Logan Square. Church planting is tough. They say it is, not because it makes you sound more righteous, but because it’s true. And this church plant has been extremely difficult. There’s been a lot of dying and growing, all of which hurt.
I hit a breaking point this year for a number of reasons. I had to ask God the question of whether I wanted to stay at this church or if I was free to move on to another church. So, I asked seven people to pray and fast for seven days and report back any and everything they heard. Well, I learned then that God was asking me to take 90 Days off, which I thought was ridiculous because that’s a very long time! But I followed.
You see, when I first became a Christian my goal was simply to follow God’s Will wherever it led me. Sure it’s hard at times, but it’s what I was created for: to serve and to worship God. So at the beginning of this 90 Day, I told God to transform my will to His. If I am to stay at this church, heal my heart and help me to submit. If I am to go, help me to follow and let me leave well.
This season was all about submission. Submitting to God, submitting to my pastors, and submitting to the counsel of friends. I didn’t know what the decision would be. I knew whatever it was it would be God’s Will and I am satisfied and secure in that truth.
So, without getting into the details and whatnot (and if you want to know, you can ask me — I accept coffee dates), I learned that God wanted me to stay at this church and that He still has much work to do in me at this place.
The death of my will is a beautiful thing, something worth celebrating, because this death brings life — this suffering leads to endurance, which leads to character, which leads to hope. I can confidently say that these 90 Days were made up of joy and hope, even among the weeds of seeing my heart for what it is, because none of it was in vain. God truly redeems all things. And I have grown more into the likeness of Christ, and God gave me my desire — His will as mine.
And hey, I made some cool art and I think I may continue on the 90 Days of Response project.