Confidence

As the driftwood whittles down, you see the beauty that it had. Carried through the open ocean ’til it finally reached the sand. Where I came upon its sadness, saw the glory it contained. And you let me cut you slowly until only you remained

 

  • Confidence  [a :  a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances b :  faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way]

This story is picking up 2 days after that last post on preparation…I didn’t feel prepared or confident that first day. (or that week for that matter)

20746731_1469393149810588_702919567_oI arrived in Kona and spent the first two days wandering by myself. Never in my life had I faced such a feeling of loneliness, and being extroverted I had a true realization of how much I tend to draw my assurance from other people. Loneliness, but why? It was just two days? I didn’t realize exactly how far away from my “normal life” I was. My dad couldn’t come get me, a call to mom was six hours off schedule, and my friends were sleeping or working when I needed encouragement. This is what loneliness is; it is not the absence of people, but the disappearing of being known. I was on an island, in the middle of the pacific, alone. I knew no one and no one knew me.

While I wandered and pondered loneliness, I found some really amazing places to eat and was overall testing my boundaries. How far did I feel safe walking alone, how late did I feel safe staying out? How far was University of the Nations from Kona Seaside hotel? I walked to Walmart and bought sheets, towels and a blanket that I would need for my stay at YWAM. That walk,which was just under a mile one-way, scared me. I learned about Hawaii’s no plastic bag policy and bought my reusable bag. In all honesty I mostly stayed in my hotel room (and I felt guilty doing it because so many wonderful people supported me to come to freaking Hawaii)!

It might shock you to know that, even though I am Puerto Rican,  I am not a beach person. I love the sand, and the sun and the water, but if I swim in the ocean for too long I get seasick and that is no fun for anyone. I also felt wrong swimming without a friend. I stayed in a hotel for two days and didn’t use the pool. Is something truly wrong with me? I couldn’t go adventuring,  I didn’t really want to do anything amazing if I was doing it alone. I guess that is just the kind of person I am.  I mostly drank coffee and wandered around tide pools, amazed at the fish, where I was and looking forward to when everyone would arrive. I could feel anticipation in the atmosphere. Big Island knew a company of fiery young people was about to land and that something was about to happen.

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I will try to write a separate post about food and what I ate, and how it has impacted me post-21P, but these next few posts I want to be focused on what I learned/ what I did. (Because so many people have been asking, I feel so loved!)

My second day I felt brave (or bored) enough to walk to the campus by myself. I went exploring and it felt like orientation. When I arrived by Lyft the next day I knew where to go. I was overwhelmed by the love and acceptance of so many beautiful people, but I wished I had a friend with me. I felt like I had to prove myself to anyone I met. There was a false feeling of needing to justify why I was there. I wished I had someone I could lean on or run to.

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This all led to a version of myself I didn’t know was inside of me. A girl that processed internally, trying to fight the lies without anyone next to me that I knew well enough to ask for help.

Throughout the entire process of checking into my room and figuring out the meal schedule, meeting room mates, meeting people in general, anytime or memory I had of ever feeling special or strong left me. Don’t get me wrong, on any given day I will be the loudest, happiest, most confidant person in the room, but I had never felt smaller.

I texted two of my best friends back home in a panic.

“I have never been surrounded by so many strong, beautiful people, and I feel so out of place. Why did I do this? What am I doing here?”

They encouraged me, and reaffirmed why I was there. I was there to encounter Jesus. Everything else was just gravy.

I grew up being a leader. I grew up being that friend that was always put together, the party planner, the plan-maker, and those sorts of things. Now I was alone, on an island feeling unworthy to be the friend of anyone around me.

Confidence-shattered, and thank God it was.

  • Confidence [a :  a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances b :  faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way]

Reads differently now, doesn’t it? There is nothing in confidence that makes us rely on God. Therefore, it had to be broken. The few days that followed I felt weak, uncomfortable, vulnerable and raw. 

I called my mom (I thank God for my mom 🙂 )

Remember when you would go on a youth retreat and it would water everything in your garden, the good and the bad? well that is what is happening. Everything is growing inside of you at an alarming rate.  And any dark thing, if even a residue, is being brought to the surface and dealt with, because you are in a place of such light.

I could see it now. I don’t think there was some large thing inside of me that needed uprooting, but we are human aren’t we? There will always be something that needs refining. I think this season was teaching me not to rely on what I knew or had been through (well not in the way I would think). I was learning what of my past I could stand on, and what honestly didn’t matter anymore.  That first week was (and still is) a bit of a blur. Let me think about what I remember clearly.

I remember experiencing worship again.

Okay, when you have worship every morning with 400 people who think just like you and Lindy Cofer happens to be leading most of the time, life is really good. That 95% of the congregation is engaged and truly worshiping and people are diverse and expressing their worship in every way, was a real taste of heaven. It didn’t matter that I only knew two of the songs we were singing. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know who to sit with, or who to say hi to. We were all there to worship.

I have been a worship leader for over half of my life, I didn’t realize how much I was drawing on myself (confidant right?) maybe that’s why I kept losing my voice last year. By the second day I was on my knees weeping in the front of the court.

I was worshiping in the front (where everyone stands together like sardines) and God just began to speak to me. The next thing I knew I was sobbing, on my knees, feeling small, and yet so loved. I wasn’t alone. He called me there. He needed to get me alone, He wanted me all to Himself.

He had to put me outside of everything I knew, away from everyone who knew me, and beyond anything I could have ever dreamed in order to reset me.

I remember getting challenged again, and yet affirmed.

First day of track I remember being surrounded by people who had all of these amazing business ideas. I remember thinking, “I thought I would be learning about marketplace ministry, like I would get a job out of school and work ethically” or something like that. Not, “Oh I have this idea that will change the world and I need help pitching to investors”. I wasn’t here with an idea to change communication, or to impact cities one house at a time. I didn’t have the business plan for a coffee-shop-prayer room. I had nothing. (Why was I here? Can I go write songs now?)

Entrepreneur, disruptor, and maverick were synonymous after the first day. We were going to be blunt, honest, uplifting and encouraging.  Our track leader gave us $20 with instructions to grow the money 10% and return it to him after 2 weeks. (I didn’t sign up for this!? I am selling things? I have no car!) 

I called my dad (Also super thankful for my dad) he gave me some strategy that confirmed some still-small ideas I had in my head. I can do this I thought. I was built for this. There is a reason I am here. I am going to see this through.

The messages were amazing and that is the best way of summarizing them 🙂 You can listen to them all here. They challenged me and yet also solidified the messages I grew up hearing. I think the one that impacted me the most was this one  “The Culture of the Unoffended Heart” It helped me forgive the people that I would rationalize not forgiving by being a “stingy forgiver”.

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I actually learned how to make friends (I think)

In 48 hours I had made about 100 acquaintances and almost no friends. This would change in the days to come. I had never been in a place where I couldn’t lean on my family’s name before. I couldn’t sneak into a social circle by being the younger sister of my older brothers, or the daughter of my parents. That was a truly strange feeling. I had no affiliations, it was just me.

I did make friends, and I am hopeful that they will be friends I keep my whole life, but time will tell that one.  I met some truly amazing and inspiring people and even meeting them was a blessing.

I began to be seen again. 

What even is being seen? I don’t think it matters being seen, but who sees you. God began to show me my DNA the way He saw it. Not what my friends think, or mentors, or family (who are all great spheres of influence) but I really relate to the lyrics that began this post.

“As the driftwood whittles down20727438_1469393349810568_1439034208_o.jpg
You see the beauty that it had
Carried through the open ocean
‘Till it finally reached the sand
Where I came upon it’s sadness
Saw the glory it contained
And you let me cut you slowly until only you remained…Cause You’ve got, What I want. ”

I wanted Him. I didn’t want some version 3.0 of me anymore. I didn’t want to be known for being the most confidant person in the room. Being known for confidence is being known for self-reliance and image. I wanted to learn how to ask questions, shut my mouth, listen and only offer an opinion if asked. I needed to learn to be content keeping secrets with God, and no one else never needing to know anything about me, or my family, or what I study or my capacity.

Only He remains. That is an end game worth fighting (and being uncomfortable) for.

In the posts to come I will go more in depth of the two weeks that followed, but for now that was week one. Thanks for reading and following along in my story.

I hope to write soon!

Bee

Preparation

Please play this while you read :) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAbkh9k9TFY

 

  • Preparation: noun [The action or process of making ready or being made ready for use or consideration. (b) Something done to get ready for an event or undertaking.]

Now, it is one thing to prepare for making a recipe, or an interview. Preparing for an event, school, a day at work and the like. I never knew what He would be preparing me for through this process. If you are reading this then you might not know that I am currently on a plane to San Francisco that will connect me (with almost no time in between) to Kona Hawaii. I will be on Big Island for 21 days. So how did this adventure come about? Well I will happily tell you (if I was Tamatoa from Disney's Moana it would be in song form)

So let’s start this story back where it actually began, about a year ago during one of the hardest seasons of my life.

I was staying on campus for the summer leading up to my fourth year of college. I had to stay to take four additional classes so that I could stay on track with graduating next May. Here at school I know many talented, musicians who also double as anointed worship leaders. Throughout that summer three of my friends went to Bethel and another three did this thing called 21 Project. All of my friends came back from an experience different and saying I should go and do the same. At the time, nothing really sat well with me and, I still didn’t feel like I personally needed to go. However, there was at the same time a longing for training outside of my personal sphere of influence.

In September I was invited to attend TheDROP in Falcon North Carolina. The experience was three days of crazy mixed with a dash of spirit. The story of my experience at TheDROP is a long one, and if you would like to hear it then let’s grab a coffee. It was TheDROP that did it. The Circuit Riders had come to my school the previous spring and were also at TheDROP. I sat in a worship training session with Lindy Conant and her team and it was the first time since high school I felt challenged, encouraged and also enabled.

In October I started allowing myself to think about ministry training. The reason I hadn’t in the past is because I didn’t know what good it would do. Why raise money to fly somewhere for only a small amount of time? I couldn’t see the lasting impact a trip like that could have. (Also something I struggle with in regards to short term missions trips, Blimey Cow sums this thought up well in this video) 

Something was different about the friends that did Circuit Riders though. They were actually living out the things I had seen them go through, whereas I saw the Bethel crowd come back and only be more in love with Bethel. Not to say the "Bethel" experience has less of an impact, but something about 21 Project made my heart jump.  I then started to pursue an opportunity to go to Australia for worship training, and also thought about 21 Project following that also in worship training.

In late October, past fall break, I remember waking up getting ready for a typical weekday of work and classes. I had a dream the night before and it was running in my head while I prepared that morning.

 I saw myself, with a grey hoodie, green backpack and lots of little gold earrings. My hair was short, and I was at a gate at my airport about to board a plane by myself. I knew I wasn’t coming back the same.

I called my mom and told her the dream on my bus ride to school. A week later I cut 11 inches of hair off. For Christmas I got a green backpack and in January I added four new piercings to my ears (grand total of 14 woo).

21 Project(on the website) was going to be $600 and in California, when it was made known that it was going to be in Kona this year (after 7 years it was moved back to the YWAM HQ where the movement was born )and that tuition had jumped I immediately thought that was it, I wasn’t supposed to go. As I looked at the extra money that I would need to raise I heard a voice inside of me say

“You believed Me for six, why not a thousand? Don’t you know that if I am sending you then you will get there?”

I don’t remember exactly what the final straw was, but I started a YouCaring to fund-raise for 21 project.

Fast forward to March. I had been feeling like I was supposed to go Hawaii for 21 days, and as Synergy 150 was approaching (look it up, they are awesome) I didn’t know anything other than I was supposed to go. My campus ministry, roommates and family were all supporting me. April is when the physical provision began to pour in. What’s crazy is that when God wants to send you, He will provide and when He provides He does so abundantly. In late April I was helping lead worship for a woman’s retreat. That Sunday morning I felt like I was not supposed to cut my hair until I flew. I asked God for a window of time and He said any time between July 8th and my flight I was allowed to cut my hair.

I have never traveled on my own like this before.

(As I write on my second flight of the day while watching LaLa Land on my phone) I didn’t know how to pack, so I prayed. I asked God to give me strategy and He told me to get on Pinterest and He gave me a color palette. After this I knew how/what to pack/shop. One night mom and I prayed for the rest of my airfare money to come in, and then next day I was able to buy my ticket. A week later all of my tuition came in. I was going. I couldn’t believe

it. (Still watching LaLa Land) and it still hasn’t hit me what God has in store for me during this time.

Some neat things that just wound up working out. July 8th I cut my hair, no picture, just told Miss V (who is a very Godly woman) to pray and cut it. While 21 Project this year is only 18 days, it worked out with my flights that I will be on the island for 21 days exactly. Doing what? Well…

I applied and was accepted to the maverick track.

I thought about applying to the worship track, and the more I thought about it this is what came to mind. I have personally been involved with worship teams since I was 12, and now I am 21. I say that not to say I know everything there is to know about leading worship, but I am comfortable there. And If God was sending me so far out of my comfort zone, across the country, alone, then I should follow through 100%. So while I am here I will be learning practical tools for marketplace ministry including, ethics, leadership, creative ideas and being a light in the workplace.

So there it is. Preparation. Preparation and the story leading up to the biggest adventure I have ever embarked on in my life. I know the only way of getting through this is leaning into God as I physically step off the continent. I am not a drive from my family. I don’t know anyone where I am going. For such an extrovert this is the part that has me nervous. Not new things, but making friends. Living in a dorm for the first time in my life (with 5-10 other girls). Something interesting is the number of people asking me if I am here for vacation, and the answer is no.  I am here to get trained. I am here to bless others.  and yes, this might be my only time in Hawaii for the foreseeable future, I wasn't sent here to do all the sightseeing and touristy stuff.  I came with my hands open to give, and to receive what the Lord has for me.  When I woke up yesterday to board a plane God gave me a that song at the beginning of this post.  It has become both His invitation, and my cry. Here, stepping off. God would you meet me, and may I never be the same.

Here I am. Am I prepared? We will have to wait and see.