Three years ago, almost to the day, I packed up my little 2000 Honda Civic and began the 650 mile drive from a small town in Maryland to Louisville, Ky. I was 17 and moving away to begin a new chapter at Boyce College. Three years ago I had it all planned out. I would go to Boyce, and love it. I would intern in Florida over the summers, graduate in three years, and move back to the east coast after I graduated.
Well, I graduated. That’s where the similarities with my ‘plan’ ended. College was not at all what I had expected. They were three of the best, but three of the hardest years of my life. I never even applied for the internship I had wanted since I was 14. And three months ago I signed a lease for my first apartment and I am officially a resident of Kentucky.
When asked what my plans were after college, I would always tell people that I was open to what the Lord had in store for me. I had passions and desires that he had placed in my heart, but I had ‘surrendered’ to him. That’s what I convinced myself. I missed Maryland like crazy. I still do. I moved away from the coast, my family, and home to a city of never ending humidity and terrible drivers. There was no way I was staying. I was praying conditional prayers of surrender. “Lord, use me how you will,”….but I’m moving back east.
One Sunday it hit me. I couldn’t tell you a word of what the pastor was preaching that Sunday, but I remember sitting in church, staring at my notes, and being struck by this realization: there is no partial surrender.
In Romans 12, Paul writes, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
That’s what we are called to do. We offer our lives as a sacrifice to the Most High God. I cannot say that I have given my life to Lord when it conveniently fits in with the plans that I have already decided. I have presented myself as a living sacrifice before God, as an act of worship. “My life, God, is yours. Use me as you will.” I pray that this is how I live out my life day in and day out. Whether that day includes getting smashed in the face with oatmeal at a youth event or seeking to be an encouragement to a friend in need, my life is for the Lord. “My Life is an Offering” by Sovereign Grace is a song that I have recently held dear to my heart. “I choose to lose my life, Lord, and find it in you. I give my life for the glory of your name.” Those words echo in my mind.
When the uncertainty of the future is overwhelming, I find great comfort in looking back. The Lord has faithfully led and guided me and I know that he will continue to bring me closer to himself. Surrender. That is what we are called to. The future is a great unknown, but I know that if I continue to seek the Lord, making much of him in all that I do, he will use me for the glory of his name in ways greater than I could ever imagine.
My prayer is that Springdale will become a community of people that have completely surrendered themselves to the Lord and his purposes. May we be a community of fellowship and encouragement that pushes one another to live a life that is committed to serving the Lord, even if it is not at all what we imagined our lives would ever look like.
The Lord is faithful. He always has been, and he always will be. Let us run hard after him, he is all we have, and he is all we need.
I have been a member of Springdale for the past three years and the Lord has blessed and grown me through it in more ways than I thought possible. I recently graduated from Boyce College with a degree in Biblical Counseling and I work as the Catering Director at Chick-fil-A and Ministry Assistant to Matt Joiner. I love superheroes, penguins, and exploring Louisville.