If you’re new to the ethos and front-footed culture of JoshGen, sometimes you’re just not prepared for God’s plans for your life and just how much change he wants to bring - and in a short period, too! This is my journey with the Lord since joining JoshGen Wynberg.
For years I believed that I was capable of directing my own life. Although this wasn’t exactly a conscious decision, I simply had not yet grasped in my heart what it meant to live a life fully surrendered to the One who intricately designed us – the One who breathed life into us, a breath that offers freedom and healing from all the brokenness and pain of this world.
This started to change when I hit rock bottom after losing, through various forms, a few close people in my life. I was then faced with a choice: I could either numb the pain and run away, or press in and allow the brokenness to break me open and, in the process, allow Jesus to come inside and heal me from the inside out.
I joined JoshGen at the beginning of 2019 after tentatively trying it out just before Christmas break in 2018. I felt like I was cool, calm and collected on the outside, but knew that on the inside I was vulnerable, hurting and confused. I could also sense that this community was going to do a number on me – if I gave them half the chance – and so I had to decide whether I was up for the task of allowing myself to be vulnerable and available to be broken open once again.
So should I stay?
This was a difficult decision for me, but after attending the orientation course and seeing, and most importantly experiencing, first-hand the heart and vision behind the leaders and their love for the Lord I knew this was where my heart needed to be and where my feet needed to be planted.
As I was gently guided by one of the elder’s wives, ’A church should not be a place where you are simply comfortable and self-seeking. It should be a place where you seek the Lord and ask Him where you could best serve others – and allow space for you to be intentionally uncomfortable – as this is where the growth happens.’ And so I decided to make this church my new home.
Around about the same time, I missed an opportunity to go on a missions trip to India and Nepal – however, this missed opportunity turned into another pivotal heart shift, as I realised that I never wanted not to obey what I had felt the Lord was telling me again. So, I pressed hard into God and in the process, my heart started to change.
It’s amazing how something so small as carving out an intentional time with Him each day could bring about such a fuelling and hunger to read more of the Word and spend longer and longer with Him. The mornings were never long enough, and my heart ached to be closer, and know His heartbeat. My heart began to swell: I knew I was experiencing something I hadn’t experienced before.
But what about all the brokenness?
I met up with one of our leaders the following Saturday and spilled my heart. My yearning to know the Lord more intimately and walk with him but feeling as though I was receiving heart revelation on foundational elements – had really shaken me. Surely I should know all this by now after being a Christian for so long? But God.
Looking back, it’s been a crazy few months, but the Lord is so gentle and so good. Something else I learnt through these past few months, is that this walk with Jesus is by no means a passive one; as I had initially walked it out over the last few years. It takes intentional time to quieten the voices around you and focus on the One who’s whisper speaks true life into even the darkest of situations.
Friends, be patient with God’s patient work in you. This life calls for instant gratification, but the Lord calls for a yieldedness amongst the noise. He calls for us to even step away at times from the noise, in order to hear His voice more clearly. God is so clear that as we seek his face, as we look to His word, he will show us how to move forward.
My life is by no means perfect and I still have so far to go. But I’m on a journey with God. Everybody is and we are all in different places, but I can look back and see again and again that when I have laid down my life – in whatever small shape or form – God fills me up. He gently guides and directs me and shows me more of Himself. I’m more connected with Him and I start to see his heart. He then starts to break my heart for the things that break His.
Sometimes I just need that reminder that we’re living for something bigger here, and that I need to stop looking at things through my own lens – through the things that I want and desire – and remember that it is God who is at work in us.