I Mean Business

 
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A couple of months ago, I looked at my life and noticed there was a big lack of intentionality. Life was great, but things just kind of happened. I was living with my family because that’s what was, I was working a couple of different jobs because that’s what was, I volunteered at my church because that’s what was, and so on. I had let life happen without any real intention. Whatever happened, happened. As I noticed this, I began to consider making changes. I could build my life however I wanted. So, I began to think. What did I want my future to look like? What was I hungry for? What inspired me? What changes did I want to see?

I had always wanted to live in Seattle. I strongly desired the city’s creative culture and believed it was a great place to build a career. For the longest time, I was angry at God because I felt like He shut down my every attempt to move there. It felt as if He wasn’t giving me the option and that I was only allowed to follow the narrow road He had me on. I was seriously angry! It says in the Bible God has given us the ability to make our own decisions, yet it didn’t seem that way when it came to Seattle. So, as I returned to the idea of moving, I prayed there’d finally be an open door. As time went on, things began to fall into place. My current job was going to allow me to work remotely, there was a second job waiting for me in Seattle, my leaders and family supported my desires, and I was going to be able to transition smoothly out of my responsibilities at church. So, all I had to figure out was a place to live and a church to plug into. I wasn’t concerned about my living situation. It was being able to find a good church that I was worried about.

Luckily, as I did my research, I found out Mosaic, a church based in LA, was planting a campus in Seattle around the same time I was planning to move. Mosaic is well known for their creative culture and that really drew me in. One of the things I desired most as I considered leaving the Vancouver area was to find an inspiring creative culture that would help me find my artistic voice. I visited with Mosaic’s pastors, leaders, and creative directors to ask questions and see how I could get plugged in once I made the move. They were all extremely friendly, welcoming, and willing to help make the transition as easy as possible for me. Everything seemed perfect and like God was finally going to let me do what I had always wanted to do.

However…….. things began to take off for me here in Vancouver as well. My job at the school got extended another year, we began some incredible creative projects at the church, my heart grew closer to a lot of the students in the youth group, and home began to feel even more like home. As time went by, deciding whether or not to move got more and more difficult.

And again, I got angry at God. I began to ask, “Why are you making this so difficult?! Why aren’t you talking to me? Why won’t you help me? Why aren’t you saying anything or telling me what to do?” Then, it clicked. He was giving me the ability to choose. I was angry at God for doing as I had asked….. He set everything up so I could make the choice. During this embarrassing conversation with God, I remembered a conversation I had with my dad. On the day of Trump’s inauguration, I wanted to go with a couple of friends to take pictures of the protests in Downtown Portland. Because it was going to be a dangerous environment, I asked my dad if it was OK to go and he replied, “Val, you're an adult. I trust you to make that decision. However, know I don’t want you to go and that I want you to stay here, but it’s ultimately up to you." God reminded me of that conversation because He wanted to display His heart. God was expressing His desire for my life, which was for me to stay. But, He wanted to give me the ability to choose and would bless either decision. Knowing that and after repenting for being angry for no good reason, I decided to take my time and do a lot of research. After a couple of weeks, several conversations, and many meetings later, I was nowhere closer to deciding. I continued to seek God and seek after a stronger relationship with Him.

While spending time in prayer, I remembered a Bible verse, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). In order to delight yourself in the Lord, you’ve got to pursue God with all you’ve got. When that happens, your heart voluntarily becomes completely His and you begin to live every day pursuant after His will. And, when that happens, naturally your earthly desires begin to shift. God’s desires become your desires and what you thought you wanted becomes meaningless without Him. It says in Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” God ultimately knows what’s best for us and has blessings for us far greater than we could ever imagine. Those couple of verses got me thinking, “These desires I have to move to Seattle are completely for my own benefit. It wouldn’t be a wrong decision, it would just be solely for my own sake. God has expressed His desire for my life, which is here in Vancouver. Say I stay. Say I give it all I’ve got and continue to run towards God in the process. Maybe I end up finding what I’m looking for here instead. He does know what’s best for me. Guaranteed, what I think I’ll find in Seattle by trying to plan my own life won’t even compare to what He has prepared for me here. Alright God, I’m in. I’ll stay. But… I mean business! Use me. Let’s do this.”

So, I made the decision to stay. Let not my will, but God’s will, be done. As I officially made that decision, something shifted within me. The only way I can explain it is a spiritual break through. Visions of a creative culture began pouring in. The passion I had within me for the youth grew exponentially. My heart began to thirst for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit within them. Healing, prophecy, speaking in tongues, breakthrough, revelation, restoration, provision, is not only for adults. Students have the same authority and ability to experience those things just as much as everyone else. God began to pour a new passion for the future of our students within me and all I can say is, “I’m ready.” It’s a new day and God is going to do incredible things. With the help of our Youth Pastor and youth leaders, we’ve been able to make some intentional shifts towards empowering students in their walk with Jesus. We’ve already witnessed amazing things. I’ve heard more testimonies in this last week of breakthroughs, provisions, revived encounters with the Holy Spirit, prophecies, etc. since making those shifts than I have since we started the youth group five months ago. It’s not that what we were doing was bad. We just had to recognize what was and wasn’t working for us and take intentional steps towards creating greater opportunities for students to experience God and to spiritually mature.

It’s a new day, people! I know God will work miracles through and for the students. I know healing will take place in worship. There will be prophecies spoken out of the mouths of teenagers. How do I know? Because it’s already happening. God is already on the move and it’s just getting started. I am beyond excited I decided to stay and get to be apart of what’s happening at C3 Church Southwest Washington and MyCity Youth. God is opening the floodgates and I plan to be in on the ground floor as it happens.

Listen to “New Wine” by Hillsong Worship

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Valerie ParrishComment