Saturday, December 18, 2010

Final Thoughts on Lecture Phase.

So I'm at the airport waiting for my flight home to Dallas for Christmas. Gate 17, to be exact. I'm sitting here with all my stuff, but I'm completely alone. Yeah, there are other passengers around...but its not the same, we all know it. How many times are we just alone in a crowd of people.

I'm reflecting back on the fact that Lecture Phase...the first 3 months of my Discipleship Training Program, is complete. I've heard so many awesome teachings in regards to hearing God's voice, forgiveness, God's character, lordship, maturing in Christ, and much more. But the most awesome thing about DTS is that it is a Live/Learn environment. You hear the teaching, but it means nothing til you apply it to your life. That's why Paul says its not those that hear the law that are obedient, but those who have the law written on their hearts.

Probably the number one life lesson I've learned in DTS...and by learned, I mean taught and applied, is that its about your HEART. Its not about the Do's and Don'ts. Legalism isn't just "all R-rated movies are bad," Legalism is thinking that by doing A, B, and C, you are fulfilling your religious obligation. Legalism lacks relationship. I never thought of myself as legalistic...but I was so wrong. I looked at everyone as having an expectation of me...and I just had to fulfill my duty as a Christian, as a leader, as a friend, as a daughter...and then I was good. I lacked the heart. Now I see that its ALL about your heart.

Out of the wellspring of your heart, the mouth speaks. Its all about the yearning and motivation. God isn't about a check list in forming a relationship with you. God speaks actively. He doesn't just withhold himself from you because you haven't read your Bible that day. My mind has just expanded so much on God's character. Honestly. When bad stuff in life happens, you can ALWAYS go back to God's character and find the truth in the situation.

I'm broken hearted to leave some of these dear friends of mine. Some of them I'll see when I go to South Africa, but most of them are going to either Jordan or India, and I won't see them until March when I return from outreach. You spend all day every day with these people. Even my friends I have had for years haven't spent that much time with me. Oh the lessons I've learned from living with people, and having to look at the person behind the action. Yes, the dishes were left dirty in the sink all night, but the person was exhausted and sick. You learn to apply grace where it is needed.

Coming out of this part of DTS, I am so at peace about who I am in Christ. I'm slightly overwhelmed by the enormity of my calling in life, but I'm learning to take it one step at a time, led by the voice of God. I'm learning its really okay to not have a 5 year plan, or even a year out. Its okay to just be lead by the spirit in life. So many wrong views of myself and of God and others were corrected during this time. I feel like I really couldn't go out and do the work with AIDS patients and orphans in South Africa if I hadn't been through this first part. The training develops me as a person. I'm being filled up so I can pour out. Giving out of the overflow.

Yes, I do feel called to full time overseas missions. I don't know the steps to take to get there yet, but I'm fully trusting God on this one. He knows exactly where I should be, and he's faithful to speak. DTS is just good for life. Whether or not you plan on going on the mission field, I recommend it. You learn who God is, and how to live out a life worthy of the gospel. To LIVE LIFE TO THE FULL. That's my biggest desire coming out of this. God, let me live life to the full.

Honestly, this period of time in my life has been MONUMENTAL in my development as a person, as a leader, as a Christian, and as a missionary. Thank you so much for supporting me in this. Honestly, its been the biggest blessing to have so many people back me in prayer and finances for this whole thing.
I pray, my life would be testimony enough of the change God has done in my heart.

I love you all very much.
I'm looking forward to seeing Dallas in a couple hours :]

<3 Rachel Olson.

Friday, December 3, 2010

God holds me to my word.

Sometimes the most important lessons you will ever learn happen through pain and sacrifice. Right now I feel more humbled than I ever have in my entire life. I've gone through extreme emotional highs and lows during this DTS. I've felt blessed beyond measure, and excited about the potential of my future, and at my absolute worst crying over every simple comment.

Through this all, God has shown me that its easy for me to turn to other people to be my rock and my safeplace. To feel confused and to ask someone with wisdom, rather than just ask God himself. I believed God could comfort me and give me peace, but I would rather have a tangible presence solve all the problems in the world. God has shown me that it is okay to just cry in his presence. To be real with him and let him know that I'm mad, or I'm upset, or I feel helpless and hopeless...but I can still be obedient in the midst of my frustration. If I tell God what I think--he can correct my views and really solve the problem. He's the one with all the answers.

My heart feels like I have nothing left in me. I've learned that true humility requires sacrifice. The laying down of "rights" and desires in order that God may be glorified. God's best can't be the best unless its done God's his timing.
I realize I try to control God. I try to control others based on what my feelings are. I can't control everything. When things are outside of my control I get angry, I feel depressed, I get so frustrated and I work myself up. I can't change people's opinions just because I can justify things in my own mind. All I can really do is trust God to show himself strong through people and circumstances. I can't just make stuff happen. I have to prove it. I have to be diligent and stand by my word and my convictions. What good am I if I can't be obedient. God just really showed me that I've never really done something I just didn't want to do without being forced to do it.

Think about it--how many times have you really gone against your own will and flesh? I'm sitting here just praying to God that my own will hasn't been all wrong. That I haven't been ignoring the voice of God about this whole thing. Yes, I know I've missed the mark--but you keep on going. You trust in God to speak to you despite your will being pulled apart. Its funny that in my first week of DTS, I asked God to break my will...but never until now have I really felt it just fall to pieces.

The cards are on the table.
God is good. He holds me to my word. He tests my submission, obedience, willingness, and pride because He wants me to grow closer to him...
So I just gotta learn to fall into his arms instead of pull away.

-Rachel Olson