I often wonder what it truly means to be a committed follower of Jesus. In the infancy of my Christian conversion a few years ago, I might have selfishly proclaimed that it meant having all of my ‘crap’ taken care of, that I would be living a comfortable faith with little doubt, and that pleasing God would immediately become something like second nature. Ha! Thankfully, God does not lead His children astray and He has lovingly revealed my sincere foolishness over the past years, though I have found it often harsh and unpleasant. Something in my soul resonates with the Truth in these lessons that my spirituality is not all about me, my happiness, my comfort, and that living out the Gospel is not so easy, in fact!

I can boldly affirm that a lot of these beliefs have been squashed particularly in this past year as a volunteer amidst the ‘at-risk’ youth community. Being around these children, it is impossible to be self-absorbed and also be sensitive to their situation and their needs, and in each of our interactions God reiterates that similarly, my relationship with Him is not all about me. Considering the genuine nausea I felt at the beginning of my time with the children and the joy I have reaped since, I now know that living faithfully and committing to God’s design for me are not necessarily synonymous with personal comfort.  He has let me stumble at the Children’s Home to downplay my ego and gently remind me that I am not perfect, and that is the point of the Gospel really, that He is holy and we are not.

God has used this past year to develop a deeper understanding in me that it takes a lifetime to expose the sinful areas of my life for Him to fashion into His likeness.  I thank this year in particular for being the vehicle God used (and is using) to bring sincere humility and selflessness into my life.

All these achievements considered, I find it enormously easier to be myself and simply have fun being with the kids.  Lately I began taking a few of them to the Humane Society’s animal shelter to volunteer, and together we socialize with and care for the dogs and cats.  It can get smelly, but the kids are learning responsibility and I notice that simply being around animals, with all their unconditional love, can have a sincere, positive effect on the children.  It is such a joy to be a part of their lives and I will always be grateful for those priceless experiences at my placement!