About a month ago, I was challenged by my spiritual director to examine and process my semester in ministry. In doing so, I’ve been able to go back and reflect on how God has been moving in my life. This semester was the busiest we’ve ever had, and has probably been the most successful as well. With youth nights, retreats, youth rallies, praise and worship nights, and new ministries, it was easy to acknowledge God and the awesome ways that His Spirit was moving in and around me.
I could share many testimonies of God’s movement, and the people I have served just over the past few months. From sharing sorrows with families who are opening their brokenness to God’s saving power, to witnessing my kids’ powerful encounters with Jesus, I have seen incredible evidence of God’s presence in my life and ministry.
Without love, our actions mean nothing.
1 COR 13
As I reflected, I realized more and more that God was present and moving in more ways than I first thought. There were times where God was helping me even when I was too busy to ask for help. There were also times where I didn’t allow God to carry me, and I tried to take on a spiritual battle myself, instead of surrendering that battle to God.
Through my reflection, I was also brought to 1 Corinthians 13. It says that if I “do not have love,” my words don’t mean anything. “I am nothing,” and “I gain nothing” no matter how many good things I do, if I do not have love. It hit me that there were times in this past year where I let things get so busy that I was just “doing”; I wasn’t operating out of a love that came from God.
Live in great surrender to God.
The purpose of this reflection was not to beat myself up; it was to help me see where I’ve been, and where I’m going. All of the realizations I had in this reflection act like a mirror, to see how God has stuck with me through it all despite my failings, and how He has lifted me up and given me strength. God blessed me at every moment, and has now let me see the areas in my life that I need to work on.
I want to encourage each of you to examine your semester of ministry like I did. Like me, you may find things in your life that you’re holding on to that you need to surrender to God. You will also see the times that God was working silently in the background, even when you didn’t realize He was there. It’s so encouraging knowing that God is working in you more than you thought, and multiplying your efforts for the building of his kingdom. Finding those places in life that have been blessings and failings will help us as we continue our life ahead, and will prepare us to live in greater surrender to God and love of each other.
Start with these questions, and see where He leads you in your reflection.
- What was your greatest challenge this semester? How did you work through it? Was God part of the resolution?
- Is there a specific moment you remember having great peace? What prompted that moment?
- What brought you great joy this semester? An accomplishment, a person, a time in prayer?
- Do you feel farther from God now than at the start of the semester, or closer to Him?
- How do you think God provided ways for you to grow this semester? What did He want you to grow in?