I had the opportunity to go to Winter Conference with Cru over break in Fort Worth, Texas. And while I, an Arkansas native, was raised to hate Texas, I had a great time. One of the things they talk about a lot is Cru summer projects. And by that time, I already knew I was going back to Czech, so every time they had a student who committed to a summer project talking about the challenges, I was listening with open ears. Surely I can get something out of this even if my summer mission isn’t with Cru. They always would ask the question, “what was the biggest fear you had about going on a summer project?” and I would think to myself, “oh, I already know the answer to this one.” But they never gave the same one as me. Answers including stepping out of comfort zones, leaving family, being good enough, etc. were given, and I was absolutely shocked that no one had my answer: money.
How, as a bunch of college students, were they not scared about the money? I couldn’t believe no one said that! For a long time, I debated even applying to Josiah Venture, not because I didn’t think I wanted to go or that I wasn’t good enough, but because I’m a poor college student. So many of my friends in the past have said they wish they could do summer missions, but the money just isn’t there. It’s a giant stress on my life, and as a girl in college with two older siblings in graduate school, I found myself telling God “no” instead of listening to what he had to say.
So, I gave God all sorts of excuses. Eventually, I made a deal with God, which is so funny because I knew I wouldn’t win. I said if I apply and I get the internship, then that means God’s gonna provide for me. Well, you can guess what happened next.
After talking to several of my close friends about it, they all pretty much said the same thing: God always provides. I gave excuse after excuse, and all my friends told me that the issue wasn’t financial: the issue was my heart. And they were so right, as much as I hate to admit it. We all have things we struggle to trust God with, whether it’s a job, a relationship, a class, a friendship, a family issue, or money. I didn’t even realize it myself, but the issue wasn’t that I was scared to raise the money on my own. I know good and well that I can’t. The issue is that I was letting the enemy tell me that God can’t. The enemy loves to pick at our insecurities, and if he can get me to think that God isn’t in control and God can’t help me, that prevents me from going. And I am NOT going to let that happen.
So how do you deal with this? How does one deal with trusting things in our lives to God that are hard to let go of? It’s an easy answer, but a difficult practice: you just do. You pray constantly, you ask God to change your heart, and remind yourself that God is bigger, greater, far more vast and infinitely good than we can even wrap our heads around. Even now, I have to fight that little voice from the enemy telling me that all my fundraising projects won’t work. That no one’s going to buy t-shirts, paintings, and greeting cards from me because they just don’t want to, or because my painting isn’t as good as other people, or because I don’t know enough people, etc etc etc. It’s lies. It’s all lies that are being used to try and sway me from using the gifts God has given me to raise this money. It’s a hard thing to do, but there are two steps to trusting God with the impossible: the first is to pray for a change of heart, and the second is to ignore that little voice. “Be still and know that he is God” is the verse that comes to mind.
I didn’t write this post to make people feel like they should support me because I’m stressed. No, I wrote this post because it’s a part of my journey. I want my blog to catalog not only the victories, but the struggles as well. And my biggest heart struggle is trusting that God will provide. With something that’s already such a stressful part of a college student’s life, it’s hard for me to trust that God will provide what is so hard to come by. And the enemy loves to attack me on it. I can’t tell you how many times a day I have to combat the thoughts of how this was my most expensive semester for textbooks that I’ve ever had, or that I had to cut back my babysitting days and there’s no way God can provide if I’m struggling financially. But those thoughts are lies. I know that we serve a good good God and he will not abandon us or leave us. He will always give us what we need in his good time. For a girl who is always stressed about money, it’s so easy to forget how big and powerful my God is.
This week I’m in the process of opening up an online shop which will sell t-shirts, paintings, and greeting cards. All the proceeds of the paintings and the cards go to the trip, and half the proceeds from the t-shirts goes to the trip (the other half goes to the cost of making the shirt). It’s so hard to shut out the voice of the enemy telling me, “you can’t.” So here I am, publicly proclaiming, “no. I can’t. But my God can.”
I’ll wrap this up by asking for prayer. Pray that I do not get discouraged in my fundraising, that I am reminded daily that God is bigger than my resources. Pray that I am able to come up with fun ways to raise the money, and pray that I stay strong in the knowledge that nothing in this world is mine, or yours, but it all belongs to him and he will use it for his good. I’ll leave you with a verse that I’m taking to heart during this process.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28