Written by Cristina Arias, KidzWorld Media Team
When I think about how my faith journey really got started, I think about my amazing family. I have two hard-working parents and two brothers. I come from a large family that was raised Catholic way back as far as our family tree can go, so of course I was as well. I was able to attend a Catholic school all the way until I graduated high school.
Today I can say that I’m very thankful for the way I was raised, but at the time I just couldn’t grasp it. I couldn’t connect with what I was learning, so I eventually took the backseat approach. I watched as other kids prayed better than I did, behaved better than I did, worshiped better than I did, knew Jesus better than I did, and talked about God better than I did. I began to wonder: How could God use someone like me? I have nothing to offer Him. God doesn’t need me. God seemed so unreachable to me and for years I just kept pushing Him further and further away.
I continued on this path for a while, still unsure about how I fit into God’s plans or if I even did at all. While I never completely gave up on God, I eventually pushed Him so far away that He became this soft whisper straining to be heard over all the noise and chaos of this world. At times I could hear Him, but I often pushed back with fear of unworthiness and doubt that I could ever be a part of His big plan. So I chose to take my own path, which I immediately found was meaningless, dark, and desolate. I found myself in a situation where God was practically yelling at me and I still ignored Him. I had chosen the wrong path and I was thrown into the turmoil of my decision. I was left alone, more broken than ever, and I was tired of making the same mistakes over and over again. I had finally hit my breaking point and decided I wanted God in my life – in fact I needed Him.
The very next day I decided to attend a service at NewSpring where Pastor Mark was speaking. It was as though God told Mark that I was there and told him exactly what I needed to hear – Isn’t it amazing how God does that? I instantly knew I was in the right place, so I attended NewSpring every weekend after that. NewSpring gave me a whole new experience on what a relationship with God can look like. From the moment I walked in, I felt welcomed and loved. Music has always been like therapy for me, so worship allowed me to connect with God in an entirely different way. Both Mark and Jonathan have a gift for making the Bible less complicated and more relational to each of our personal stories. All these things brought me closer to God, but once I was home I still felt alone. I loved my experiences at NewSpring, but something was still missing. I needed something more.
I felt a need to connect with people and talk about God more, so I decided to volunteer. I had seen a promotion about try-outs for the Tech Ministry at NewSpring. I was excited because I thought it would be a great way to meet people. It was something I enjoyed and it fit perfectly with my media major in college. My excitement vanished when I pulled into the parking lot, and my old fears came rushing back. What if I’m not good enough? What if I fail? Do I even have skills that God can use? I sat in my car fighting with myself – Go in, you’re already here! – No I’ll fail. Go home. – I need this! I need God! If anyone saw me in my car that night, they must’ve thought I was crazy. Eventually, I ended up going inside. It turns out the try-outs were for KidzWorld and not the auditorium team like I had originally thought. And there wasn’t really a “try-out” for the tech position. I filled out an application, signed my name on a piece of paper and went home. It turned out to be the hardest, yet the best decision I could have ever made. I became a KidzWorld tech team volunteer and soon a member of the KidzWorld staff. My experience in KidzWorld and the people I’ve met through this ministry have blessed me in more ways than I could have ever thought possible. I will forever be grateful for them. God knew exactly where I needed to be, and it all happened because I stopped pushing God away and started listening. I let Him lead me.
It’s been a couple years since then and here’s what I learned from this journey:
- We are ALWAYS enough for God. We could never stray too far from God and when we decide to come back, He is right there waiting with love and open arms. Even when we mess up, He is there. God doesn’t ask us to be perfect because He knows that’s impossible. He just asks us to take the first step towards Him. Don’t let fear and doubt hold you back from God’s great wonders.
- We are given unique gifts to serve God AND one another. It doesn’t have to be something grand like speaking as well as Pastor Mark, or being funny like Jesse Mahannah, or even singing like Ryan Morris. God can use us right where we are with whatever we have. We can use our gifts as mothers or fathers, friends or neighbors, or we may have great compassion or generosity. Whatever it may be, we can ask God to reveal to us our gifts and how we can use them for His purpose because even in the vastness of God’s great plan, no role is too small.
- God has a path set out for each and everyone one of us. Isn’t that amazing? Can you imagine if God told us our entire life plan? Our own understanding could never handle all of God’s knowledge, so He saves us the trouble and confusion. He simply says, Trust me. It may push you out of your comfort zone, but like Sammi O’Neal wrote a few weeks ago, “God does incredible things in the Land of Uncomfortable.” All we have to do is fix our eyes on God and trust in Him with our entire hearts.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. – Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)