It was February. I was filling out an application that I knew would completely push me outside my comfort zone. This was before corona. Before the mandated lock down. Before the riots. Before the heat of the election. 2020 was just starting and I was excitedly anticipating what God would have in store for the coming year. And I can say without a shadow of a doubt, that God has never left us throughout everything that has happened. None of this came as a surprise to Him, and I am a firm believer that He has something amazing planned on the other side of this.
Anyways, I knew with turning in this application, I was going to be submitting myself to a type of vulnerability that I had avoided in the past. However, even with the unknowns and uncertainty of it all, I believed that this was the next step in my faith that God wanted me to take. He wanted me to trust Him and allow myself to be led my Him.
That next step was applying to a Discipleship Program that my church engages in every year. My sister graduated from the program in May. At the time, and for many months after, I felt the need to fill her shoes. I was walking in her footsteps and feeling like that was an impossible task. They loved her and I felt the need to try to hit that standard. Despite that though, I was determined to not let the fear of not being good enough stop me from what I believed to be God’s call on my life, or at least the next step of it.
I applied in February, had an initial group interview over zoom (thanks Corona), had two in person interviews with an essay thrown in there and I finally recieved a much anticipated acceptance in August. Everything was quickly set into motion. I was excited for what these next nine months would hold.
So many people have asked me “What exactly is it that you are doing?” And that excites me because that opens a door for me to explain what God is doing and how good He truly is. But I figured I would actually sit down and talk intimately about what this program means to me and what I am learning through the process.
This was and continues to be huge for me. Figuring out and cementing myself in who God says I am and who He has called me to be. I am not determined by what society says. My worth is not found in how much money I have, what car I drive, or what job I work at. I have struggled to believe the truth about who God says I am versus the lies that sometimes just scream at you. This program has blessed me in more ways than one, but the intentionality and how they pour into the students in really getting us to understand what God says about us, is invaluable. Especially to me. There is so much personal growth both spiritually and mentally when your identity is cemented in Christ and not the world. That is something that I continually learn on a daily basis through this program.
Building relationships is one of the things they try to implement in every area of what we do. We were never meant to do this life alone. We were never meant to walk this journey on our own accord. We were made for community. God created us that way. That was something that I was missing for a long time. I did not realize the importance of what it meant to have healthy, genuine relationships with people that you trust. Once I entered into this program, we are immediately thrown into basically a week of not being able to get away from each other. 😉 We left for our retreat on Wednesday and came back on Sunday. We left as strangers, we came back as family. All I can say, is that was a complete God thing. I do not know how in the world I made some of the best friendships I’ve had in my life over such a short amount of time. A huge shout out to all my discipleship peeps!
Whether it is with friends, family, pastors, strangers, or co-workers, sometimes the best way to start a relationship is to say “Hello.” Start a conversation. You will know if God is wanting you to invest time into this relationship, or to walk away for your own health and theirs.
I can not stress enough how my worship style to the Lord has changed and flourished. They are so intentional with trying to get us out of normal pattern of worship and help encourage us to try something that we may not have done before. They have opened my eyes to an abundance of different ways to worship the Lord. Whether through art, music, dancing, prayer, memorization, whatever it may be, I realized that the Lord just wants us to come as we are. He wants us to come to Him with a heart filled with a humble surrender of our own will and align with His will for our lives. It does not matter what we are doing, as long as we have the purest of intentions as we look to seek His heart and worship Him with our whole beings, putting off any and all distractions of this world. This program has opened my eyes to what pure and honorable worship feels and looks like. It is not about putting on a show. It is about forgetting what is going on around you and worshiping our Father for who He truly is, the perfect Son of God. He hears us. He wants us. He chose us. Through worship, we can connect to the heart of the Father and experience His greatness in such a grand and new way. When you experience the Holy Spirit in that way, it will be enough to knock you off your feet in awe and remembrance of our Heavenly Creator.
This group is a gift I feel too blessed to have. I am fully expectant to see how God is going to develop these relationships as the program goes on and well after it is over. ❤