I sat in church yesterday, on my last Sunday in Austin, and worshipped to the song Captain by Hillsong United. I love Hillsong and have heard most of their music, but had somehow not heard the precious words of this song. Tears streaming down my face, lost in the beautiful lyrics, I was amazed that Hillsong had seemingly written a song for me and my life experience in July of 2015.
Through waters uncharted my soul will embark
I’ll follow Your voice straight into the dark
And if from the course You intend I depart
Speak to the sails of my wandering heart
Like the wind
Clear the skies before me
And I’ll glide this open sea
Like the stars
Will align my voyage
And remind me where I’ve been
And where I am going
Lost in the shallows amidst fear and fog
Your truth is the compass that points me back north
My soul’s trusted Lord
All my allegiance is rightfully Yours
In this tumultuous season of life change, and at the risk of oversimplifying the vibrant and complex personal relationship that I have Jesus Christ, I can only affirm this: that in response to the love and grace that Jesus overwhelms me with every day, I will forever follow Him wherever He calls me. My prayer for my time on earth is to follow the Lord so completely and live a life so covered in His grace that people I encounter would look at me and say, “Jesus must be real, because He’s alive in her, and I want to know Him.”
Because friends, when God asks you to do hard things, they’re hard things to do. Like scrapping your summer plans to work at a camp in the middle of nowhere. Like moving to Austin to start a job in marketing and live close to your then-boyfriend, only to lose one and break up with the other within months. Like falling in love with a community of people in Austin and one amazing person in Denton, and being asked to move away from one to start a life with the other.
But you know the thing about obedience? It isn’t based on how we feel. Being afraid to follow Christ doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. Worrying that your life will fall apart in Austin (and then watching it actually fall apart) doesn’t mean that moving was a mistake. Being convinced that breaking up with a boyfriend will mean singleness for life (but knowing God wants you to) doesn’t mean that you should go on dating. Wanting to stay in Austin, close to friends-who-are-family, but hearing Jesus say “Follow me to Denton…” doesn’t mean that staying put is the answer.
Obedience is acting in response to the promptings and direction of Jesus in my life. My feelings don’t often follow; they don’t have to. Out of holistic trust, confidence, and reverence for my Heavenly Father, I will do what He asks me to do and go where He sends me, even if I’m scared, upset, nervous, unwilling, hurt, afraid, worried, sad, or angry. I refuse to “follow my heart;” I’m too busy following His!
I will do hard things out of obedience. I will do uncomfortable things out of obedience. I will love difficult people out of obedience. I will show kindness when I want to curse and yell out of obedience. Obedience isn’t feeling like following God, it’s simply following God.
The best news ever? My God is a great-big God. He loves me with a love that satisfies and overwhelms, and he blesses me continuously. I feel Him with me when both I’m joyful and alive and when I’m withdrawn and worn. My Creator hears my little-big prayers…I pray for a puppy before my birthday…I pray for great friends who love Jesus in Austin…I pray for a job that I don’t hate…I pray for a husband who loves You more than he’ll ever love me…I pray for peace…I pray for my life to be an adventure…and He answers them, gently, consistently, and patiently.
So, as I begin to pack up my apartment-items here in Austin: my clothing, my dishes, my furniture, and my books, I will also pack up my heart-items. Hope for my future, joy in all circumstances, peace amidst chaos, confidence in God’s plan, and my relationship with Jesus and my friends that support me strong and hold me together when I’m falling apart.
I don’t leave Austin wholeheartedly joyful, though I am full of joy in anticipation of my wedding and marriage. I don’t leave Austin completely sad, though I am full also of sadness as I walk away from a job I love, a city that I love, and people whom I love.
I leave Austin in obedient response to Christ. I leave Austin fully confident that the Lord has a great plan for my life, for Riley’s life, and for our life together. I leave Austin knowing that I serve a God who answers prayers, who knows my heart, and who wants me to experience the fullness of His love.
Because, Jesus, my captain, my soul’s trusted Lord, all my allegiance is rightfully Yours.