Sunday, August 14, 2011
South Africa, Life, and Godiva Chocolate!
So I’m headed home from South Africa with one hour of the 15-hour leg to go. During my time in South Africa I met a lot of amazing people. I met young people, old people, men, women, boys and girls who were inspiring. I met people who were living in very intense situations, but they decided to live a life of peace striving for joy on purpose. It is these types of encounters that actually keep me going.
Next week the Fund for Theological Education ministry fellows will come together and present their summer experiences. This is the fellowship I received to go to South Africa. There are 20 of us and we all had very diverse projects. Some of the other fellows engaged in ministry in Israel, Turkey, the Martin Luther King Papers Project at Stanford, and researched many other projects. It will be interesting to see how everyone’s project went.
After reflection I see that my time in South Africa was really a blessing. I see how God is showing me what ministry is like and that it is ok to accept the call. It is ok to do what you enjoy and love what you do. For a long time I felt like because I was not moving down a “traditional path” I had to change the things that I really loved to do. But, my experiences have helped me to realize that it is ok to be yourself in your own uniqueness regardless of what people say. When we are not ourselves there is tension, unhappiness, a lack of peace, frustration, and discomfort. It’s interesting because I do think that when we embrace our unique gifts and call there can still be fear and discomfort, but it is a different type of fear. When we are living a life where we are doing what we dislike it can just be plain out uncomfortable. When we are living out our call in our own uniqueness the fear is a type of fear that when we face it we actually become more liberated, happy people. I think for a while I doubted who I was, what God was calling me to do, and my ability to be a grounded, peaceful, driven, adventurous person in the world. I mean really: I am an African American woman from a working class, single parent home in small town North Carolina. Why would God call me to do this work? I’ve realized that regardless of who we are, where we come from, how we were raised, what level of education we have God can use us in profound, mind-blowing ways. If we step out on faith and truly work to live out what God has placed in our hearts, we can’t go wrong. I have a plaque on my wall that says, “Believe: Follow your heart and you will never go wrong.” “Believe: Follow you heart and you will never go wrong.” “Believe: Follow your heart and you will never go wrong.” This is true. If God has put something in your heart and spirit to do, DO IT! It may not sound simple, but it can be simple. If you dream it, you can see it. If you see it, you can believe it. If you believe it, you can achieve it! YES YOU CAN!
Life really is like a box of chocolate, “You never know what you are going to get.” Thank you Forest Gump! But, the exciting thing about the box of chocolate is that it can be full of great tasting Godiva! ☺