We explored the world from a mile high. We free climbed giant rocks, learned to love like Jesus, met a professional fighter, obtained a free t-shirt, slept on air mattresses that didn’t inflate, took partially cold showers, and ate a lot of PB&J. We swept sidewalks, talked a lot, and learned the truth behind what it means to be homeless. That’s how I spent my Spring Break.
I spent Spring Break in Denver, Colorado, at 5,280 feet above sea level. Ten of us, including myself, plus our leader, Professor Schoonveld, and his 8-year-old daughter, made a 5 AM trek via a three-hour flight to the Mile High city on Saturday the fourteenth. This Hope College Immersion Trip was one week that changed me from the inside out.
And while I was there, I found something that changed everything.
I’m doing my best at living life without putting boundaries on God (but I still fail often, it’s part of being a human). His ways are always higher than mine, and His ways are not my ways.
There are times I struggle to remember it, but when I forget, He never ceases to remind me. He’s so good to us.
Beyond the boundaries, I discovered something greater. I discovered the complexity of God. Obvious, maybe. But by being in Denver, I realized that somewhere along my journey I had lost my awe of the kingdom He has built here on the earth.
As we sat at the Red Rocks Amphitheater the first day, a thought occurred to me: God, you know every hair on my head, You know every crack and crevice in these rocks, and You know every space in this city. And still, You want my heart. You created a tree, but not just a tree. A tree with branches, big and small, with needles. And You didn’t stop there. You created leaves. Leaves big and small, different shapes, sizes, and colors. A thousand trees is just a glimpse of Your glory.
Through this, I tackled another realization: Who I am in Christ and who I am on my own are two separate identities. Too often, I try to hold on and raise my broken self up to be who God wants me to be. I fail miserably, trying to figure out why my past mistakes and bad habits are holding me back as I’m pursuing a relationship with God. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow me” (That’s a verse in Matthew 16).
I’ve spent so much time making this so complex, but it’s more simple than I could have imagined. I was in shackles to my past and mistakes, but Jesus set me free from all of that. He set me free, and the chains are lying on the ground.
But over and over again, I find myself picking the unlocked chains back up and dragging them with me everywhere I go. I forget that my identity in Christ has set me free. It’s like I’m carrying 50 pound dumbbells the instant I wake up until the time I go to sleep at night.
Could you imagine doing that in real life? Not only would we look pretty dumb, but it would also be exhausting. So, here’s the question: why do we do it all the time? Bitterness, anger, frustration, regret, guilt, grudges; they all build up and weigh us down, causing us to drag around burdens that have already been lifted.
It’s more complex to carry it around than it is to lay it at His feet.
God is complex, but His complexity allows for Him to meet us where we’re at, because He’s the only one who sees us as who we are: children adopted into His family by the blood of Jesus. And He is so amazing, so good, and so worthy of all of the glory.
Thank You, Jesus, for opening my eyes. For teaching me to love people in the way You first loved me. For giving me Your eyes to see the brokenness and the heart of Your Father to love people relentlessly. And allowing me to remember that You meet us where we’re at. You love us for who we are, not who we have been.
I did a poor job of documenting my trip via social media because I was having too much fun, but you can still follow me @hopesophie17 to keep up with my on-campus extravaganzas. Want to hear more, or have questions or comments? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great week!