My experience on the Lifelines Spring Break trip was incredible to say the least. The Lord used the beauty of Caper’s Island to remind me how much I matter, despite my doubts, sin, and insecurities. He also proved to me that no matter how distant I feel from the Lord, He hears me and loves me personally, always. He did this specifically by slowing me down and forcing me to take a look around me – something I haven’t done in far too long.
One thing stressed on the trip was the importance of being personal and open with others, so here we go: I’ve been feeling rather insignificant as of late. With school work, research grant application deadlines, two jobs, and tons of extracurricular obligations, I was running on far too little sleep and far too much coffee the two weeks leading up to break. I felt too busy to think most days. The worst part about those weeks was how alone I felt. I was running in a million directions at once, and at the end of the night I would lay in bed realizing I hadn’t really had a single meaningful interaction all day. I felt very alone. My life was a stressful mess and I felt like no one cared. This of course is not the fault of any of my friends (so if you’re reading this and feeling guilty, don’t). Feeling like no one cared about me prevented me from reaching out to anyone about how I was feeling, including God (cue a vicious cycle of sadness). Adding to this, when I’m feeling down my insecurities flair up. When thinking about the impending trip, I was putting far more weight on what others might think of me instead of getting excited about what God would be doing through me. I worried about having no evangelism experience, and felt that my fears would hinder me too much to be a contributing team member.
Ok, sorry for being incredibly depressing. If you’re still reading, I promise it gets happier from here. The Lord really used the beauty of nature and His creation to answer my somewhat unspoken prayers and to lift my spirits. Despite having mostly extroverted tendencies, I occasionally needed some alone time on this trip (hard to do on a teeny island with 21 other people). On these occasions I would take a short walk down to the shoreline to get some air, slow down, and reflect on what had happened that day. Yet every time I sought out those breaths of fresh air, He was there, incredibly apparent, taking my breath away. I was suddenly seeing God for the first time in weeks. In every sunset and sunrise, His majesty astounded me. I couldn’t tell you the last time I had just sat and appreciated God’s creation, recognizing His power in all that He has made.
One night in particular I knelt on the shoreline watching the moon rise, gazing out across the expanse of sea between me and the horizon, and was hit with the depressing realization that, in the grand scheme of life, my feelings of being insignificant are valid. Without me on it, the earth would still spin. The moon would still pull the tides. The sun would still rise in the morning. However, those thoughts were immediately followed by feeling of being known and deeply loved. That despite this reality, God cares about me; this tiny speck of dust on a huge planet in an even bigger universe matters to the Creator of life itself. He cares about me enough to show me that love in my darkest hour. He used a moment in which I was alone, feeling incredibly lonely, to show me that I am never alone.
An all-powerful and loving God created me and gave my life purpose. I was fearfully and wonderfully made in his image, which is far more beautiful than any sunset. How can I see myself as insignificant or ugly or worthless when the Lord of all creation takes the time to address my worst insecurities and make sure I know He cares about me personally? If you’re reading this, and you’ve been feeling similarly recently, I first suggest you pray, knowing He is listening and understanding. And then I suggest reaching out to your friends and loved ones. Silently suffering can often be remedied by vulnerability with others.
I will leave you with these verses, which were an encouragement to me:
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:13-14)
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” (1 Samuel 16:7)
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)
- Maddy Signe Rusk `19