There is not anything that has struck me as hard as disappointment has in my life. From early on in my teenage life I set high goals, named achievements I wanted to achieve and listed countless desirables that I wanted to have. At a young age, I actually knew who I wanted to be—anything better than those who I was surrounded by. I wanted to taste success and grow into someone who could be respected. Ultimately, my disappointment existed because my efforts had nothing to do with God and the plans that He had.
I put myself out there in high school, I auditioned, I applied, I sang, I registered for this and that and did what I could to be active and involved, to be creative and to take on leadership roles. As a first year Biblical Studies and Theology major at Tyndale University in Toronto, I reflect back to my high school days where I worked hard at becoming what? A Christ figure? I don’t think so. As a Christian, if there is vanity as you strive for success, God will not honor your efforts. So what did I really gain in high school? I suppose I discovered what it meant to be persistent, but eventually lost the drive and passion that I originally had. I was rejected, tried, mocked, and abandoned in those years by friends and even teachers. I tried so hard at being the best version of myself that I could be. I was not trying to be like Jesus—although I told people that I was. I wanted to be a leader and was more interested in that then being a follower of Christ.
During the final years of high school, the Lord started impressing on my heart of the desperation of the broken and lost lives around the world. He began to break my heart for people and caused me to focus my eyes on where His heart was—the poor, the sick, and the widowed. What could I do though? I could pray. Still, I felt anger build up inside of me at the injustice I saw around the world and how complacent many Christians around the world were.
If God has given you an idea of your calling, or a picture of who he created you to be, follow through with it. It is not about you. In fact, your life and all of creation has not come into existence so that you can find satisfaction in your own fruitless pursuits. The purpose of life is centralized on glorifying God and is revolved around establishing and maintaining relationship a relationship with Him. He is calling you to do great things, to be influential for His cause.
From what I have learned about the conference, Urbana harbours the importance of spreading the Gospel and participating in missions. It is at functions like this where God gives us tools and methods of doing what he has set out for us.
It is clear that God is calling us to be set apart from those who are satisfied with living a non-extraordinary life, people who are comfortable with the madness of the world. He is calling us to rise up as soldiers in his army to fight darkness, battle poverty, and to teach the world His methods and his love and mercy.
I consider myself to be a fighter; however I have never been in an actual fist fight. I want to defend the weak and fight things like human trafficking in any way that I can. Through Tyndale, I found out of a global missions outreach opportunity to volunteer for 3 weeks in India to work alongside those caught up in sex and drug trafficking. A few days ago I found out that I was accepted to be a part of the team to go. How awesome is God!? I suppose it takes faith and willingness! I choose to live an extraordinary life as I let God take me where He wants, even if it means placing me in a battle between light and darkness.
In preparation for the Conference that is thirteen days away, I continue to pray that God will lead me in the right direction at Urbana; that I will attend the right seminars; and meet the right people.
A couple of seminars that I intend on taking include: ‘Discerning the Missionary Call’, ‘Cross-Cultural Mission as Crucible for Spiritual Transformation’, and ‘Connecting with God’s Heart for the Poor, the Work of Love and Justice’. I think that this conference will light a torch. Torches provide light in dark places. Think about the role that you play as a Christian and your responsibility to destroy acts of destruction in the world and how effective you can be if you just allow yourself to burn with passion for God and His people. That is what matters. I want to have more fire within me. Thankfully I have learned to torch my past disappointments and fears. Can you do that too? Or will you allow yourself to crumble under pressure of becoming something more. Lead people to God, heal the sick, and defend the weak. God is our supplier for everything—so what is there to be fearful of? Nothing.
What do I want to do with the information I gain from Urbana? Truthfully, I am letting God put me where He wants. I really do not know what I will be doing in my ministry career. I just know that Urbana will help set me in the right direction, and help me to be more of the person God created me to me.
I expect God’s presence to be at Urbana, I expect to meet many people and establish new friendships with them. I anticipate a new perspective of being a Christian, and potentially working as a pastor and missionary. I expect to be blown away. I expect to add a ton of new dreams and goals—yet I won’t go about it like I did in high school, I will do it for God’s glory and not my own. I will light up darkness with the love and hope that God brings.
Melanie Otto – University College Student, BA in Biblical Studies and Theology