(If you read that title and thought I was talking about Barcelona fútbol, you need more millennials in your life!)
What does it take for you to be brave?
Think about that for a second.
Can you call to mind the last instance where you felt brave or did something that required real courage?
In case you can’t tell, The Lord is stretching me in Barcelona.
For those that don’t know, I definitely consider myself an introvert. I can already hear someone reading this going “Mo, really?” Yes, believe me. To be more specific, I think I should be considered a talkative introvert. Once I know you well, sure we can talk up a storm but before you’re in the friend category I keep it cool, short, and cordial.
Considering that moving to a new country requires talking to all new people, I’m sure you can imagine my comfort zone is practically obliterated at this point.
In this I have come to realize something. I will be ineffective in participating in God’s mission if I seek to remain comfortable. Simply put, I will have to talk to people. Not just “hola” and “mucho gusto” but deep, meaningful conversations that lead to friendships.
Two weekends ago I went to a retreat for young adults hosted by our church. I was a little apprehensive about going on this overnight retreat because I didn’t know anyone there, I like my sleep, and it sounded way too…people-y. Nevertheless, I went. I made memories, grew in wisdom, and I initiated conversations with strangers. A LOT of strangers. I met young college girls, and young professionals, a few cute Brothers in Christ (just keeping it real) and many more.
On the way to this trip I had been praying for the Lord to open my eyes to the purpose he had for me in this retreat. Nothing fancy, just “Lord, what do you want me to get out of this?” In a totally unrelated way, I had also been praying about asking someone to read the book of Romans with me. I just finished reading Romans, but instead of moving on to 1 Corinthians like my original plan, I felt like the Holy Spirit has been calling me to go deeper into it. I received advice from a friend about inviting community into my quiet time reading, but that felt scary so I told him I would pray about that (great answer for stalling).
During breakfast time on the 2nd day of the retreat, I met Lexy, a young girl here in Barcelona to study dance (she gave me permission to share this story). Lexy is 21, but I’m 27 so that feels like AGES apart in my mind. We’re making small talk, and I feel the Lord nudging me to ask her about Romans.
I’m like “Really Lord?! I JUST met her, she’s practically a CHILD, that’s soooo awkward. What if she rejects me?”
“Ask,” he says.
So right as I’m about to presumably look foolish and ask this stranger to read an entire book of the Bible with me, we’re told to stop talking and we’re going to enter a time of silence and solitude for 30 minutes. No phones, no talking, just solitude - a time to center ourselves, unplug, and be with the Lord.
Wellll, great. There goes my plan.
We go into silence and solitude, and I still feel the Lord’s nudging to ask her. After the silence and solitude is over, I go up to Lexy and I say “Hey, I know this may be a bit weird but… I’ve been looking for someone to read Romans with and I was wondering if you would want to?”
Shoot your shot folks, because sometimes it lands. A week later Lexy and I met for coffee, to plan out how we’d read Romans. Lexy was honest about her struggles in being consistent in reading God’s Word (haven’t we all been there) but she was excited for this new accountability and to try it. I’m not going to lie, a part of me was a little annoyed with the Lord. I was looking for someone to help ME dig deeper into God’s Word, to disciple ME, not the other way around. Oh, but didn’t Jesus come not to be served but to serve? Immediately Matthew 28:19-20 came to mind.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
God is with me, and God is with you. He is with you when he pulls you out of your comfort zone. He is with you when he asks you to do things you very well don’t want to do. He is with you when he flips your plans upside down. Will you be with him, in making disciples? Will I? I hope so.
Would you consider praying for Lexy and I as we read Romans? Pray for consistency and that the Holy Spirit would illuminate God’s Word to the point that it transforms our lives. Also, would you pray for my heart? I confess that this isn’t what I wanted or what I had in mind. Pray that I would be obedient, open-minded, and that I would trust that God knows what’s best for me far better than I ever could.