Simplicity

The Great Terrain

It’s a new morning. I sit on my front balcony overlooking all of Gods creation. It’s right about now that the lions are hunting for their breakfast. The sun is rising to my right and I take a deep breathe in.

I’m still in Uganda, but a few days ago we traveled westward to go on an African Safari. We’re now just a short 20 minutes from the border of Congo. It’s hard to imagine people hunting people just like a lion hunts its prey in the Congo. And for what reason? I really couldn’t tell you. All I know is that just a few short months ago no one would dare enter the Congo unless they had a death wish.

The lion crouches in the grass

The lion crouches in the grass

But as I sit here this morning soaking in Gods word and admiring His wonderful creation I find it hard to believe that turmoil could be going on not so far away. It’s quiet and peaceful. So quiet that I can hear the flap of birds wings as they soar through the air. I hear birds for miles and miles chirping away. They’re all singing different songs, but together it makes a serene noise. It’s honestly like something you would hear on a sleep machine and this is what I got to experience in real time for the last two nights. I wish we didn’t have to go. I wish we didn’t have to leave this place. It’s like something from a movie.

You watch the sunrise over the great terrain from your princess beds and watch the sunset at a fireside dinner with close friends as you recount the day seeing the jungle creatures… “If only that lion had attacked the antelope.” It’s fun to think about it but the fact of the matter is that lions only attack in the early early morning as the sun comes up.  The most surreal moment was when I realized that the hundreds of animals we saw weren’t in a zoo but rather in a jungle. There I stood a football field away from a wild lion. And here I am, unharmed. It’s pretty cool if you think about it. And no, I’m not saying that I’m invincible. It’s just cool to admire nature. As long as the lion didn’t feel threatened she wasn’t going to attack. Humans aren’t that much different.

Antelope

I sit in awe of the metaphors nature gives us. If you only just sit and be still you can learn so much from your surroundings. In this moment as I take everything in I admire the simplicity and contentment of the animals. The birds are happy just simply soaring through the air and the lion is contempt with just soaking up the sun – even though there are plenty of antelope to prey on. In the moment she’s not going to take what she doesn’t need. Simplicity. That seems to be the key to happiness on this new day.

ElephantsBaboon Family

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Experiencing the “WOW”

Photo Taken by G.O. Ministries during my trip in the Dominican Republic

Photo Taken by G.O. Ministries during my trip in the Dominican Republic. June 2013.

If you’ve experienced “wow” you know the feeling I’m talking about. Michael Hyatt describes in his book “Platform” what it’s like to experience a moment like this. I was fortunate enough to experience “wow” just days after I read his chapter, “Bake in the Wow.” Hyatt describes in this chapter that every wow moment has some combination of the following ten elements:

1. Surprise: A wow experience always exceeds our expectations. I had just woken up and read an email on my phone with an attached Powerpoint. I concluded it would be easier to open on my computer so I hauled my laptop into bed along with a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Before I opened the email, I noticed another email, unopened, from a few days before. I was a little curious why I hadn’t received it on my phone but before I had too much time to ponder the fact I noticed it was from Jillian Hensley, the director of recruiting at Rahab’s Rope.

2. Anticipation: As you anticipate a wow experience, you live it in advance. I had been awaiting this reply for what seemed like an eternity, anxiously refreshing my email on my phone hoping to hear back from them. I had filled out an extensive application and kept my fingers crossed that I would be able to venture to Bangalore, India over the Christmas holiday. Finally, when I least expected it I received my response.

3. Resonance: A wow experience touched our heart. I had been accepted! I was going to be one of ten, men and women, traveling to Bangalore to make a difference. They read my essays, they opened themselves up to my journey, and they chose me. Of all the people, they chose me. For eleven days over the Christmas holiday I was going to be able to go work with victims of human trafficking.

4. Transcendence:  In a wow experience, you experience purpose, meaning, or even God. My heart was filled. I knew that this path in my journey was not about me, it was about God. Just like everything else in this world, God had given this to me, but it was in this moment that I felt this gift from God in my entire being. Overcome with emotion, I began to laugh and then cry.

5. Clarity: A wow experience creates a moment when you see things with more clarity than ever before. It was about two years ago that I accepted Christ into my life and started hearing the calling from Christ to be a missionary. At first I thought it was crazy; not the social norm, and therefore not a real job. But as I continued to allow God into all aspects of my life I realized becoming a missionary was what God intended for. On top of that, I’ve felt a strong push to work with victims of human trafficking. I never had a reason why I felt this. When I first felt my calling I had never done mission work and I certainly had never worked with human trafficking victims. But when I read the email from Rahab’s Rope the way I felt was indescribable. It felt right. I felt at home.

6. Presence: A wow experience creates timelessness. In that moment I felt like my career had taken flight. This was the beginning of my post college life. My dreams were coming true.

7. Universality: A true wow experience is nearly universal. I know everyone does not share my dream of traveling to India to fight human trafficking. Nonetheless, everyone has dreams and when those dreams unfold and start to become a reality you can hardly contain yourself. That feeling is universal. It’s not something you can describe but rather something that evokes every emotion in your body. You don’t know what to feel because it’s a feeling we so rarely get. It’s the feeling of WOW.

8. Evangelism: A wow experience has to be shared. Immediately after I found out I set my Facebook status to let the world know. I literally felt like I was giving an acceptance speak for an Emmy award. Then I called my sister. I was still in tears when I talked to her but was able to pull myself together to tell my parents and best friends. I checked my Faacebook about four hours later assuming maybe twenty of my close friends and family would have liked it. Much to my surprise, over 140 people liked my post. So many people were supporting my dream.

9. Longevity: The shine never wears off a wow experience. It’s too early to know if this shine will last. It’s definitely lasted the past week but I’ll only know with time. My hopes are that I never forget that moment. I never forget how complete I felt and how much I rejoiced. I hope I remember I gave it all to God and when I did He was able to reveal His plan to me.

10. Privilege: A wow experience make you proud in a good way. I think what I’m most proud about is how far I’ve come and how happy I am since I accepted Christ into my life. Being accepted to this mission trip is just a testimony to following Christ and allowing good things to come to you through Him. I always felt fighting human trafficking is what I’m supposed to do but it wasn’t until I was accepted to this mission trip that I felt it being confirmed.

I took a chance and jumped out on a limb. I thought that’s what God wanted me to do. Now that I’m on that limb I can look back and see how it is securely fastened to sturdy tree. God is that sturdy tree. I believe that when we are rooted in Him we are able to see his beauty. We are able to have wow moments.

*the content in bold is directly quoted from Michael Hyatt’s book “Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World”