"Lord, I give up my own plans and purposes, all my own desires, hopes and ambitions, and I accept Thy will for my life. I give up myself, my life, my all, utterly to Thee, to be Thine forever. I hand over to Thy keeping all of my friendships; all the people whom I love are to take second place in my heart. Fill me now and seal me with Thy Spirit. Work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost for to me to live is Christ. Amen."
Betty Scott penned these words while studying in college. She later served as a missionary in China, was married to John Stam, and when she was twenty-eight was beheaded (along with John) by Communist soldiers. I guarantee when she wrote that prayer, she did not expect to be martyred. Yet her prayer was that God's whole will would be done in her life at any cost. She was willing to give up everything to follow Christ.
Are we able to pray that same prayer? Do we really want whatever God has for us even if it means dying for Him? Are we willing to put God first and everyone else second? Would we really give it all up to follow Him wherever He leads?
It's easy to read through the questions and say, "Oh yes, I would definitely do anything He called me to." But do we really stop to think what those questions mean and if put to the test, would we really stand strong? Or would we rebel and try to manipulate God's will to fit ours.
Ever since this past summer, these questions have been hanging over me and I've had trouble answering them. When I was young, I told everyone I wanted to be a missionary. Even before God saved me, I wanted to show God's love for others. Seems weird, right? But God was placing in my heart, even at that young age, a love to serve and help others. That never changed as I got older. When I was fifteen, God placed a huge burden on my heart for those in Africa. I wanted to go right away and serve, but He made me wait seven years before opening a door to Kenya. No matter what I did in those seven years, my goal was to one day serve in Africa. The reason I got into EMS was because I knew I could use those skills in Africa. The desire to serve there never faded or died, and because of that, I knew it was only a matter of time before I went.
I know I have said before how meaningful my summer was and how it taught me so much. I thought for sure when I returned though that I would have a clear direction as to where God was calling me; remain in the States or serve more long-term in Africa. There was nothing like that. I came back not knowing what to really do, but trying to trust God for whatever His will was. It was a difficult semester as I prayed desperately for God to give me an answer, and yet not (seemingly at the time) to get one. Little did I know that God was answering my prayers those last few months, by making me see who I really was.
I'm not sure when it really hit me, but it's come on gradually how much I put others before God. Most of you know how extremely close I am to my family. I love them so much and absolutely love spending time with them. I love each and every one for how unique and wonderful God has made them. My siblings are some of my best friends. My parents are Godly examples I can look up to and hope to be more like someday. I will admit the hardest part about my summer was being away from them and not knowing what was happening in their lives. Now, this isn't a bad thing and I'm so thankful that God has given me such a wonderful family to love, but I also realize it has made me not wanting God's will to take me from them. What scared me the most was knowing that God could very well call me to missions and I didn't want to think of giving up my family. Am I selfish or what? I was wanting my family to be first and God to be second. I wanted God's will to be done in my life, but I wasn't willing to give up everything for it. Without even realizing it, I was giving God a "list" of things He could not include in His will for me.
In a way, I was feeling like I would be giving up so much if I were to serve in Africa. I would have to give up my job, my friends and family, my life of ease and comfort, etc. I made it seem like I was giving up EVERYTHING! Surely God wouldn't call me to do that. But in the end, what would I be really losing? Nothing. I would still have my family and friends. Maybe life wouldn't be easy, but that would mean I was leaning more on Christ for strength and not looking to myself for it. Maybe I would have difficult times, but I know God would be there every step of the way. If He chooses missions for me, why shouldn't I be excited, happy, (and humbled!) that He would choose to use a poor, selfish sinner to show His love for others?
I still don't know what God will call me to or where the next weeks, months, and years will lead me, but I do know that I will constantly strive to put Christ before everything and everyone else. My prayer is that He will always be first in my life no matter what, and that I would have the strength to follow Him wherever His will leads me.
When my life comes to an end, I want to have given everything I am in service to God. I want ALL glory to be given to Him. I want my life to reflect Christ and who He is and what He means to me.
"For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." (James 4:14).
No matter how short or long my life may be, I want to make every second count by bringing the most glory to His name.