Community has been a reoccurring theme in my life lately. It started about 3 weeks ago. As many of you that read this (or at least skim) know I am moving to Nashville as soon as I can. Even though I know it's what I want, I have been very up and down about whether or not it's what God wants. I have struggled greatly with this decision, and while in Nashville, God presented a new opportunity. A new community. A new church.

There is a church plant in Nashville that two of my best friends attend. You've heard a lot about these friends, seeing as they are the ones adopting from Ethiopia (more on that later). I was leery about a church plant... new church, fewer people, currently no youth program. All things that I'm not used to. When I moved to Lexington, I joined Southland, partly because it was huge, and partly because i knew the size would create immense opportunities. So the whole way to this new church plant on Sunday morning I sat in the back of Mike's car and prayed... Mike was completely unaware of this prayer, and if he wasn't, I was unaware that he was aware :) . Anyway, I prayed that my heart would be opened to an opportunity, to the people, to the fact that God was going to teach me something in a situation in which I was not comfortable at all. What God showed me that Sunday morning was astonishing. Here I am, with only two people I know (and one guy who I am friends with on Twitter @jasonegly) in the middle of a small warehouse, on fold-out metal chairs, placed in an oval, with a coffee table in the middle. Now, as a pre-cursor, I was informed that this service would be different than most, that we would be sharing the Lord's Supper... again, a new experience. This completely blew my mind though. Short version** Jason and Justin talked about the fact that communion is about spending intimate, communal time with God, but too often we forget that communion is a time of community with those around us, with other Christians. He made it clear that not only is it a time to spend with our God, but also a time to spend with our Brothers and Sisters, being vulnerable and clearing the air. Wow. Completely different perspective than the typical .037364 oz. of grape juice and wafer, a little quiet time and then church is over. We spent the whole service with the blood and the body in our hands, looking at each other, listening to the message and then sharing our thoughts about anything and everything. It was unreal.

Then it dawned on me... my worries about Nashville weren't about whether I could move there, it was about whether or not I could embrace the community and understand what that would mean for my move. Christ offers us a community anywhere He leads us, it's part of the journey. I was so worried that I would fail by going to Nashville, and then realized that my worries about failure came from the fact that I didn't think I could find a community. I grew up in small town USA, a place where community is everything. I have always been a member of some sort of community and it has always been a constant and comforting part of my life. Moving to Nashville invoked fear that finding a community wouldn't be as easy this time. I prayed earnestly about this all the way to that service, and God provided in such a big way! God provided this amazing community of people that I have just begun to connect with (other than Mike and Amy, and the 4 other people I knew in that area). This has just been so overwhelming, which is why it took me so long to write this.

Then I came back to Lexington, and I started talking to a friend at middle school ministry. We usually talk about our passion for missions and our weeks and so on and so forth. We had previously joked about her moving to Nashville with one of her friends around the same time I was moving there. A couple weeks ago we were talking and out of the blue this friend got wickedly excited and told me if everything goes according to plan she's moving to Nashville at the end of the summer/early fall. God provides. I just kept thanking God for reinforcing this idea of community. I realized He was providing opportunities to help reaffirm my decision. That was one more person I would have an established friendship with in Nashville. I was blown away by this, and of course, God through one more at me. One of the greatest people I have met at school is a guy named Miles. Miles has a passion and heart for Christ like no one I've ever met. We struggle with very similar things, and He has taught me so many things about myself and about being a young Christian man. We got to talking about my trip to Nashville and my desire to move there. Wouldn't ya know it? God had presented an opportunity for Miles to be in Nashville twice a month starting at the end of April I believe. How impossible is that?? God provides absolutely everything we need to vanquish our fears. This has just had my head spinning...

I have been so blessed in community my whole life, and God just continues to bless me with it because he knows that it is helping me move forward in my walk. If all of that wasn't enough, today I found out that a classmate is moving there for TFA and one of my oldest friends from home has been offered a job at APSU... Community. Trust. Faith. Blessing...
God has provided so much for me in the last three weeks I am just in absolute awe. I needed this reassurance and I had prayed for it. God provides...

"So I'll stand, with arms high and heart abandoned, in awe, of the one who gave it all. I'll stand, my soul, Lord to you surrendered, all I have is yours"

Grace and Peace


Perfect Fear...

I've been struggling the last week and a half or so, more than usual. However I'm not struggling with the usual things, which is bittersweet. I'm struggling with fear. Fear that I'm not going to achieve my best, that what I want to accomplish will either not come full circle, or that it won't be perfect. I, just like any other graduate, want to find the perfect job, in the perfect city, near the perfect Church, with the perfect group of friends, so that I can define myself as successful after college graduation. This whole notion of "perfection" is new to me, normally I'm pretty okay with being above average, to the point that I’m complacent. In fact, my obsession with perfection and it being the defining characteristic of my success is quite the opposite of how I have lived my life thus far. I am successfully going to graduate college, I have had a successful college career, yet for the most part... my grades have been just above average. While I always strive to do better, often times not sticking with the "study plan" I lay out for myself, I have always been overall happy with my performance in classes. Could I have done better? I'm sure I could have, but I know that I did well and I realize that the things I have learned outside of the classroom have made up for the things I didn't learn inside, mainly because of this blog and twitter/facebook/texting. All of these thoughts have been cultivated in the depths of my soul without me realizing it. It took a blog post by a guy I read daily (well... almost..) to really draw them out and make them apparent to me.

Perfectionism isn't necessary. To quote the author of the blog Stuff Christians Like "90% perfect and published always changes more lives than 100% perfect and stuck in your head."- Jon Acuff.. this sums up everything I'm saying, well, perfectly. It doesn't just relate to my writing this blog, although I do shy away from writing a lot of things for reasons even I don't understand. I took it to mean that dreaming about a perfect life is fine. Acting on your dreams to change the world, write a book, or travel international is the only way you can impact people. Acting on it may not yield the exact results you dreamt of, but it’s better than doing nothing. It led me to realize that I don't need to have everything be perfect. I want to experience life, I want something new when I graduate, I want to reach others, show Jesus' love and compassion daily, and make just enough money to pay the bills, tithe, and visit friends and family. So why am I so concerned with finding the perfect job? I already know what city I want to go to, so what's stopping me?? I know that that city contains AMAZING friends, and extended family. In fact, that city is where my favorite blogger @jonacuff currently resides. I'm tired of being fearful of making a mistake, or that what I want to share will fall short of glory. Instead of trying to perfect everything without taking any chances, I'm taking a chance. I made a decision. It may only be 90% perfect, but it will be out there, it will be real, in a sense it will be published.

I'm moving after I graduate. I have spoken of this many times, and few people know how confident I am in this decision but here it is. I am moving to Nashville, TN. I have two job interviews there on Monday. I'm spending the weekend with some amazing people and doing some apartment hunting. I have felt this pull on my heart for the last year to move to Nashville ever since I met Mike and Amy. I love the area, and I love the opportunity. Is it going to be perfect? Not. At. All. In fact I'm probably going to struggle at first, being in a new city with about 8 friends to start with. I don't know what job I will have, but I know it will be one in which God can use me. I know that it won't be perfect, I won't be perfect, but God's plan for me is perfect. I can dream as much as I want, but if I don't act it will impact no one. However, if I act and say... 90% of those dreams become reality, or culminate into what I had hoped they would, I could impact the world. I want to be a life changer, I want to wake up every morning hit my knees and know that God will prepare my heart for the day. So after I return from Ethiopia, I'm leaving. The only thing that will stop me is if God gives me a definitive answer to go somewhere else. I just want to follow my heart and God’s plan, which I am fully aware don’t always match up. In that instance I will follow God’s plan, but just like with my dreams, if I don’t take action… I have no impact. I don’t know if this all makes sense, and I’m not sure that anyone will read it. But I know that based on what Jon Acuff wrote, the only way to know is to hit publish at the bottom of this blog. This post isn’t perfect, it may not even be 90%, but that’s okay. Maybe someone will read it and realize they feel the same way. Maybe someone will strike up a conversation with me about it, and we can move forward into uncertainty as brothers/sisters in Christ. Maybe… just Maybe, my fear of perfect was a perfect fear. It’s what led me to realize that I don’t need perfection, I just need to take action.

Grace and Peace