Several weeks ago, at a Thursday night “Ohana Night” (basically a Thursday night service we have weekly at YWAM Kona) the speaker mentioned that he wakes up every morning and asks God “What does my obedience look like today?” Because, as God tells us over and over again, He prefers obedience to any kind of showy or lavish service to Him.
1 Samuel 15: 22 (ESV)
22 And Samuel said,
“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
and to listen than the fat of rams.”
Sometimes, what we think might be a really great thing for God isn’t actually what He has in store for us. And in trying too hard to fit our own ideas into His plan, we can actually miss some of His ideas. No bueno. So I really liked this idea of asking God for my obedience every day, and I started doing it. And for about a week, God’s idea of obedience was, “Let me love you.” That’s it. Let me love you. Let the Creator of the heavens and earth, my Daddy, my Friend, love on me? Well, if you insist. And those days were amazing. I mean, actually they were kind of crappy in worldly terms – I was having a rough week – but the way God spoke to me and blessed me in little ways when I was actually paying attention to it and looking for His love was so tender.
Since then, my obedience has looked like many things, but every once in a while He’ll still throw in a day when He just says, “Let me love you.” I love those days, because it means He has something special in store for me. Not huge necessarily, or mind-blowing. Just special. Unique to me. Yesterday was one of those days.
I need to preface this story by telling another one. A week ago, right after arriving in Hilo, we decided we needed to do something outreach-y and went out evangelizing. We went out in little groups and headed to a nearby strip mall looking to talk to people, speak the Word, whatever doors opened up. And guys, it was straight-up traumatizing. I was instantly back in Michigan, 2012, wandering around the mall, awkwardly trying to start conversations and spending the entire time just trying to think about how I could work God in, feeling embarrassed and even slightly guilty for foisting myself on people, desperately seeking some kind of healing or miracle or deliverance story I could tell later so I could SEE GOD WORK ALREADY. I was very obviously going about it all wrong. And I even realized it at the time and did change some things, but last weekend, I was suddenly that girl again. Awkward and nervous, distracted, and all the while in the back of my mind thinking, “God, where are you? Where’s my testimony? Why don’t I get to have the cool conversation or pray for someone or see a healing or…” That hour or two of evangelism sent me into a funk that lasted several days of bringing myself back to the fact that I have changed, that God is God, that evangelism is about LOVING PEOPLE, not trying to force feed them truth. God (and my team, they were actually really helpful) walked me through it, reminding me that He created me, and my very best outreach tool is ME. He just needs me to be me. That being said, it’s not about me. It’s about them. And Him. By yesterday, I was back in a good place, and God told me it was a “let Me love you” day. Yessss.
We got to go to Pahoa for the first time yesterday. It’s the town closest to the volcano disaster, where a large majority of displaced people are sheltering for the moment. It’s a crazy place in general (REEEALLY hippy, new age, all that), and even crazier now with all of these displaced Puna residents encamped around. You can’t enter the town without seeing the effects of the volcano EVERYWHERE. Every person there has been affected in some way. Either a victim directly, knows a victim, is serving the victims in some way, or even all of the above. It’s insanity, and it definitely looks a bit distraught. It should be hopeless, but it isn’t. Actually, in a way it’s kind of beautiful because the community has RALLIED in a huge way. Everyone has a heart to serve in some capacity. Tiny houses are going up in droves all over the area for displaced families. A giant “hub” has popped up, entirely community run, where anyone can donate anything (toiletries, bedding, clothes, expertise, you name it) and anyone can pick up what they need for free. It’s pretty amazing, and I’m really stoked to jump in and be part of it all.
But this is my “let Me love you” story. We went to Pahoa for our team leader, Kristina, to meet with a pastor there who has been helping A LOT with the volcano relief. While she was in her meeting, she left it up to the rest of us to decide what to do. We decided to go to a local coffee shop, then kind of get the feel of the place and people a bit, pray for the town, etc. Evangelism. **Foreboding music**
So we get to this coffee shop and several of us went inside to get drinks, while I and a couple others stayed outside and waited under the awning while it DOWNPOURED outside. About 5 minutes into us standing around waiting for half our team (who are now clearly having an in-depth conversation with the barista, as we do), a guy drove up in an official-looking truck. I noticed him right off the bat because he had a cute dog and his truck had a fire station sticker on it. He probably knew a lot about what was going on in the area! This was confirmed a moment later when a lady he apparently knew came out of the coffee shop and started talking to him about his new dog. Turns out the dog was a rescue from one of the evacuated neighborhoods. This guy was one of the people who escorts people back to their homes, and has been working keeping roads cleared of falling trees for the civil defense office. Legit. I determined to comment on his dog as soon as the lady left. She eventually did, and I mentioned that his dog was cute, and he invited me to pet the dog, etc. etc. Well, he went inside to get a coffee and left the window down on his car so I could keep playing with the puppy, but the dog kept trying to escape so he came back, grabbed him out of the car, and asked if I would hold him while he got his coffee (small dog). What? Hold your adorable dog for you? I don’t think that will be a problem sir! So I snuggled his dog while he got coffee and it COMPLETELY opened up the conversation. Started talking with him then a couple others joined in. We got his whole life story, the story of his miraculous healing from a nasty fall last year, and we got the SKINNY on the volcano situation. Once he heard we were there to help out, he started filling us in on every single person to talk to, giving us numbers, giving us advice on how to go about things, you name it. It was obvious God was working. And all He asked me to do was snuggle with a cute puppy. I got my puppy fix and a good story.
Just let Him love you. God’s really really teaching me that these days. It’s not about how much I can do. It’s not about being super ultra holy and if I walk out in faith enough times, I level up and finally get to graduate to cool stuff. It’s about walking with my Father and letting Him love me. I get to be His friend. Then sometimes, I get to share that love that we share with someone else. That’s called evangelism. And it’s not about me doing. It’s about me resting. It’s about me being loved, and then loving out of that.
Sorry for the novella. Let Him love you!
P.S. The photo is of the lava glow from a couple nights ago. It. Is. Crazy. Yeah. Starting to get very real, this outreach.