One year ago, today, I stepped off a plane in New Orleans, Louisiana. All I can say is that it has been a crazy adventure since that day. Because of my internship and staff position here in NOLA I've grown in my walk with the Lord, first and foremost, I've grown in the field that I'm studying in college, I've fallen in love with a city that will never leave my prayers, and I've met the man I'm going to marry. I've moved 3 different times, I have made a lot of sweet memories and a lot of sweet people. There are friends that I will keep for the rest of my life that I met here. There are things that I have learned that I will never forget. And today I'm going to share some of those things with you :)
1. Don't worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34) - Because, who can add a single hour to his life by worrying? Through Paul, Christ commands us to focus on what is true (Philippians 4:8). What is true is what is present, what is happening right now. If we worry about something that hasn't happened yet, we worry about something that's not true.
2. If there is conflict with another individual, always go to that person first (Matthew 18:15) - It's a lot easier said than done. For some reason, we as humans love having people agree with us or fuel our fires. Is it ok to 'vent' to someone about another person (Proverbs 29:11)? The Bible doesn't say so. It's so easy to go and complain about some wrong that was done against you, but the best way to handle conflict is to go directly to a person and lay out the problem with them in a Christ-like manner.
3. Never make assumptions - Unless you are assuming the best of them. People have backgrounds and stories that always play into their words and actions. Think about the person first and realize that you don't know everything (Philippians 2:1-4). It doesn't make what they are doing right, but it does give you a different perspective.
4. God moves, He works, and He is faithful (Lamentations 3:22-24) - There have been times when I was scared I wouldn't have a place to live, wouldn't have food to eat, wouldn't have money to live on. I was scared that I would fail at school or at work. A car caught on fire 30 seconds after I got out of it, I've lost in the city multiple times, and not in the best neighborhoods either. A tree almost crushed me. I've felt exhausted and been really sick. Every single time, God proved himself faithful. I was never lacking and He always provided for me. And He'll continue that, even when I'm off 'the mission field'.
5. Be content in every season (1 Timothy 6:6) - I posted about this a few days ago. I'm learning that God places us in a certain season for a reason (yes, that rhymed). We are never lacking in anything. Ever. God gives us the grace to embrace (I know, another rhyme) every situation, every day. In fact, the grace given to us will overflow our cups, falling into our laps (Luke 6:38). We have enough grace for our day and then some. Let grace flow out of your life into someone else's and be content. It's not something you are born with...it's a skill that you acquire, sharpen and hone (Philippians 4:11-13).
So, there are a few things that I've learned in the past year. Learned doesn't mean perfected, because I am working on every single one of these points. Pray for me as I close out my time in New Orleans in less than three months. Pray that God stretches me and I grow in my walk with Christ. I want to be a bright, burning flame. Unashamed and heart abandoned for the cause of Christ.