Devotional Journey—Day 12

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I can definitely relate to Kirsten's beautiful narrative today. In fact, this story is really just a continuation of what I wrote about on Day 2 of our Journey. If you'll remember, I confessed to you that I was a perfectionist and ball of nerves when it came to academic achievement. I'm not like that anymore, and here's the brief story of how that came about:

I attended a reputable and challenging Christian college and spent my freshman year miserably battling insomnia, anxiety attacks, and general sadness and disappointment. I did get my straight A's, and yet was deeply unfulfilled. I was doing exactly what it seemed my life was building to, and yet had never felt more lost, and never had God been so silent.

God had to teach me to ditch the perfectionism the hard way. After buckets of tears I decided not to return to school for a while, and had to face family and friends who clearly viewed me as a "dropout" and a waste of potential. People at church were the worst. "You'll never go back now," they told me. Through this experience, God showed me (because I was too stubborn to learn any other way) that he loved me the same, that my identity was as his daughter, that he had thrilling plans for me.

Despite uncertainty about what went so wrong at college, and what in the world to do next, I felt more in line with God's will than I ever had at school. I got a job and prayed faithfully about my next steps, and most of all about what God would have me do about the passions that seemed to be flying around inside me. I wanted to do something about international justice and evangelism. I wanted to learn so much more about the Bible, theology, and other cultures. But how?

Several months (and miracles) later, I was in Western Australia, beginning a six-month Discipleship Training School which focused on exactly the passions I just mentioned. I didn't know anybody, had no idea what to expect, but had never felt more in line with God's true purpose for my life. Those six months ended up being the most challenging of my life, and also the most precious. Peace and fulfillment came with the knowledge that I was in the safest place on earth ? within God's will. We truly serve a faithful God.

By the way, after returning to the States, I did go back to finish college. A small, unimportant school near my home, where I met my husband, slept well, and got my fair share of B's. Praise the Lord!

Do you remember feeling frustrated or depressed when you weren't responding to your God-given passions? How do you feel about the notion that God has work he's planned specifically for you to do for him? How did the Holy Spirit open your heart to your God-given passions?

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