I learned a lot in San Francisco. A lot about God, a lot about myself and a lot of practical things. Here are a few:
This is something I’ve struggled with a lot in the past year but I think I would have to be blind to be unable to see His hand at work controlling all of this. From getting me to SF, to the weeks I was in the Kitchen, to the encounters I had on the streets. He IS in control.
He did mighty things, every week, regardless of how “well” I performed. I regularly felt like I was being held back so that I could simply sit and watch Him at work before. He doesn’t need me; he chooses me!
Philippians 2:4 “He humbled himself” rattled around my head for the majority of the time that I was there. It was amazing to relent control completely and admit that I am completely incapable.
I had to humble myself before people as well: keeping my mouth shut when something wasn’t being done the way I would do it or accepting (constructive) criticism without being childishly bitter. I had to unlearn the word “mine” – someone could take something straight out of my hand (a cup of juice for example) and I would be completely okay with it.
It is so hard but so worth it. It’s scary but brings glory to God. It’s risky but allows deeper relationship. Reveal your own heart and allow others to impact it.
There’s an element of it in encouraging others too but there is something beautiful about speaking truth into one another’s lives. It encourages positivity.
Knowing that God is in control, letting go of the little things, actively seeking to encourage others and gleaning more of God’s heart for other people led me to a more positive outlook in general.
I know now that there is such beauty in seemingly dark places. I know that the goodness of God can be seen in any circumstances. When you begin to rejoice in the smallest of things and see every good thing as coming from the Lord, you realise just how much there is to praise Him for. What right or reason do I have to be downcast when friends of mine are sleeping on the streets and are some of the most joyful people I’ve ever met, still worshiping and giving glory to God for what they do have?
“the joy of the Lord is your strength” – Nehemiah 8:10.
Ultimately all of this leads to a deep rooted joy in the Lord. And I think that that itself comes from a new depth of love for Him. Everything that I listed being thankful for and so much more leads me to be continually praising Him. As we were taxiing from the gate in the airplane, I wrote in my journal that even though I was heartbroken to leave, there was nothing left to do but worship God for an amazing summer. I am grateful. And I love Him more because I have a better understanding of Him and can see His love in His goodness to me. God is joyful! He rejoices over His creation. He is glad to give us the good things we desire. He loves to surprise us. We are filled with His joy.
There are some more things which I want to give individual posts to so that I can expand more but I think this is a good start.