The Center for Global Action is part of the Adventures in Missions Network
The Number One Reason You are on the Planet
The first few weeks of my World Race experience, I found myself in a hard place. I was struggling with the transition of life on the mission field and being overseas, with knowing my grandpa was sick at home, struggling to create friendships with my teammates, and I was struggling to communicate in a healthy way with a specific teammate. One evening, I sat down with one of my squad’s leaders and I shared what I was walking through and where I was struggling. I felt lonely because I had not formed any close friendships yet. During this conversation, my leader spoke a sentence which has had a profound impact on my life. She said, “Shannon, maybe God wants to be your best friend right now.”
During month nine of the World Race, in Costa Rica, I had another experience that had a profound impact on my life. We were asked to speak at a church we had not attended before. The Holy Spirit was moving in powerful ways. Out of nowhere, an older woman approached me and shared God wanted her to give me a hug. I am not sure how long this hug actually lasted, but it felt like an eternity. I have never felt more safe and loved in my life than I did in her arms. I have no doubt the hug was from God. The woman did not speak much English but kept speaking words God placed on her heart for me. She kept speaking the phrases “God loves you so much” and “He wants you to receive His love.”
At the end of the World Race, I sat down with another leader from my squad and shared some things with her. We talked about my struggle with rejection and loneliness. During this conversation, she shared with me it was not my hurt with rejection and loneliness needing to be fixed, rather I needed to receive God’s love.
God’s love has been implanted in my mind ever since I was a young child. In Sunday School, I was taught about his death on the cross and about his deep and everlasting love for me. I knew God loved me. So what did my leader mean when she shared I needed to receive God’s love?
There seems to be this continual theme of receiving God’s love & having a deep and personal relationship with him in my life.
Coming into CGA, the leadership & discipleship program I am currently in, I have been learning that there is a big difference between knowing God loves me and actually experiencing his love / intimacy. The first week, our class went on a retreat to connect with our classmates and learn about the Father’s heart for us. During this time, I sat down with one of our teachers and he shared the Lord wanted to experience intimacy with me but it would require me experiencing the Lord in new ways. We talked about how it is difficult for me to spend quiet time with the Lord. I love the Lord and know he already speaks to me but want to experience more intimacy with him.
A few weeks ago in class, we learned about spiritual health. We had several guest speakers come in to share their knowledge with us this topic. One of these speakers asked us this seemingly simple question: “What is the number one reason you are on the planet?” None of us knew the answer, so he shared it with us: “YOU WERE BORN TO BE LOVED.” I do not know if I have ever heard anything as powerful as this in my life. It affected me deeply.
I love being a student here. I have always enjoyed learning, challenging myself as a person, and growing. I am noticing being in this program is not just about learning in the classroom. It is taking what we are learning in class and applying it to our own personal lives. I have been working on spending time with the Lord and learning how to connect and communicate with him.
It is so simple; yet we (I) make it complex. It has been the hardest part for me. I want to experience the overwhelming, powerful, intimate, and transforming love of God yet I try to earn it, allow myself to get distracted, and occasionally think I do not deserve it. For many years, I struggled with perfectionism and believing the lie that I had to be perfect for God to love me. Over the past year I have learned this is far from the truth. God loves us despite any imperfection, mistake, and sin we have committed. He does not write check marks on a wall of how many times we mess up or fall short. If our God can die on the cross to forgive us for our sins, you better believe he will still forgive you for the mistakes you make today. And despite the times we fall short God is still waiting for you. He is waiting for you to come sit in his presence, he is waiting to give you a big hug, and he is waiting to have a relationship with you.
This program is teaching me many things but I hope and pray I will continue experiencing his intimate love more and more each day. And for you, reading this, I hope you will continue to experience his intimate love each day. There is nothing greater than the power of his Love in our lives.
I hope this blog may be a testimony of encouragement for each you. Remember…
His love is free; you do not have to earn it.
He wants to speak to you; you just have to be willing to listen.
Receive His Love for you and remember he wants a relationship with you.
The number one reason you were put on this planet is because you were born to be loved.