ALIVE

“The glory of God is a man fully alive.” This quote by St. Irenaeus has thrown me over the edge of what just might be the tallest cliff I have ever jumped from. Right now I am at the edge of the cliff, but I know it is not for long. I am still standing here because the precise moment of my jump has not yet come. But I know it will happen, even if at that moment I get scared or want to walk away, it will happen and I will go free falling into the adventure of my life. The reason I know that my jump is inevitable is that all the preparation for this dream to be possible will not only pull me over the edge and get me started, but will also be the wings on which I will fly. I am going to London, England for the summer. I leave in three days. My heart beats faster and my mind races when I think about the chance that I have been given to launch out and have this opportunity. I am going to London to work and live. I don’t have a job right now and I don’t have a place to live for the summer. I am going by myself. When I step off the plane and walk out into the city, no one will know that I have arrived. I won’t recognize anyone and I will completely unfamiliar with the streets and the subway stations. I can’t wait. This summer had been a question mark in my mind through out most of the school year and at the beginning of the spring semester things started to fall into place, but not the way I thought they would. In the college class of my church I had learned about an opportunity to go to Asia and be on college campuses and share the gospel with people who wouldn’t be able to hear otherwise. I also was approached about working as a mentor to counselors at a great Christian summer camp. My youth group pastor back home even contacted me to ask if I would be interested in serving on the summer staff and heading up a couple of programs. I thought that I had narrowed the field to three great options and three great opportunities that would be in line with my stated goals for the summer. So I set out to discover which of the three choices I was to choose. I prayed about it, I talked it over with close friends and my parents looking for advice, I even made a cost benefit analysis sheet comparing and contrasting the pros and cons of each selection. When I came down to the one that I thought was the best chance for me to serve and have a unique experience also, I wasn’t really joyful. I knew that it was something that I could do and something that a lot of my friends had done before, but I wasn’t really even excited about it. But I thought to myself, if this is what I am suppose to do then I will get through it. So I told some people what I thought I wanted to do for the summer and they acknowledged it as a good thing. As I relayed the message to my girlfriend she had a keen observation. She told me that I didn’t really want to do that. She noted that when I am excited about something, there is no stopping me from telling everyone I know and that wasn’t the case this time. It was true. I was excited about having picked something, not what I picked. I was excited that I had made the decision, but not about what I had decided. I was enthusiastic about not having to decide anymore. So she posed the question to me that if I could do anything I wanted to do this summer what would it be. The first thought that made it to my lips was traveling to London. The moment that I verbalized it, I felt a weight fall off my shoulders and I felt the freedom to decide to do something other than the list that I had previously complied. I knew that the three things on my list were all amazing things and things that I had seen have a great impact on my friends lives, but the more and more I thought about it, the more and more I realized that I wouldn’t have been satisfied with one of those choices because my motivation and inspiration would have been to pick something and not centered on my true passions. John Piper says in his book Desiring God, “God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him.” When I began to let me imagination wander and started to step out in faith I began to trust the Lord even more. As I made my first phone calls to people who I thought might know someone in London, as I sent e-mails to people who did live in London, as I found opportunities there for the summer, I saw doors open that I didn’t even know were available to me. I came alive and had a renewed sense of purpose for the summer and I was able to step out and do the thing that made me come alive, the thing that got me all riled up inside, the thing that led me where I needed to be. I am leaving in three days for London. I will be gone for ten weeks. There is very little certainty to my usually nicely diagramed schedule. “The glory of God is a man fully alive.” I am alive. Alive with anticipation and awe at what the this trip is going to do in my life and all that it took to get me to this point and what all could happen in my life during this time in a new place away from everything that is comfortable. Alive with the excitement and little ping in your stomach as you reach the top of the biggest hill on the roller coaster and you are just waiting for the drop. Alive with a rush of blood to the head like when I went cliff jumping and had to count to five Mississippi before I hit the water. This overwhelming uncertainty has brought me the most overwhelming peace. It is tough to explain the confidence that I have.  But I guess that is what it truly means to be ALIVE. “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive. Go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive!” - Gil Baile