Putting into words what has challenged me and what I have learned the past twenty-five days is a big task. This whole internship is one of continual learning and reflecting on the experiences we have each day. So much happens here. The days fly by in a blink without understanding what happened. Therefore, figuring out what to write about is a task in itself. I think why it’s so hard for me is because I often compare myself to others. Other people can write so well and I want to be able to do that. An intern said something today that really resonated with me; if your writing doesn’t sound like you then why would people want to read it? This directly correlates to me still learning how to be comfortable in my own skin. If I don’t know who I am then how can I share that with others?
One night after doing outreach in Malawi John told us that we should ask God how He wants to bless us. This sounded strange to me because I didn’t feel like I did anything to deserve His blessings. After some more thought on this I realized that we never deserve God’s blessings. However, God still wants to bless us because He loves us and it pleases Him that we went out to the communities in a country we barely knew to share His love for people. God wants to bless me but I must love myself and God first in order to receive His blessings and give to others in return. This goes back to the important Core Truths I learned the first week of teaching: I am loved, I am God’s image, I am valuable/worth it, I am forgiven, I am God’s beloved, I am pleasing to God, I am a conqueror and I am good. God wants to bless me and He does everyday. Each morning is a new day full of promises. The sun shines and there is expectancy in the air. I ask myself: How will God use me today? But because I am human, I feel like I am constantly striving to understand what God is doing. If you know me you know I’m a curious person, always searching, always asking. I never feel fully satisfied with God because I know there is always more He has to offer me. On the other hand, I must be happy with the truths I do know about myself because of Him. At the end of the day, there still is a longing in me to live fully in knowing who I am being made in God’s image and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. In order to know what being made in God’s image means we must first believe in Him.
Before the experiences I had in Malawi I thought believing was just believing. I believe in God therefore I fully believe in Him and all that He is. To my surprise, God really challenged me with belief during our outreach week in Malawi. I so wanted to see His healing power because so many other interns would share stories about how they saw such marvelous healing after praying for someone. My group never saw complete healing but I thought if I saw someone walk who couldn’t or someone see who was blind I would believe how powerful God really is. I thought seeing something like that would draw me deeper in relationship with Him. At first I thought my faith wasn’t strong enough for God to use my prayers to heal people. Then I learned that believing isn’t seeing. God’s spiritual gifts (healing, tongues, prophecy…) are wonderful ways He uses us to show His mighty power but they are nothing compared to the love He has for us and His command to us to love others. After going out in the communities a few times I had to let go of the fact that I might not see a miraculous healing. Seeing God work isn’t what He intended us to do in Malawi; God sent us to love others alongside what He was already doing there. This whole challenge was one of letting go for me. I had to let go of my hopes, my expectations, my wants, my desires, what I thought I knew and my doubts.
Letting go of control has been something I’ve struggled with almost my whole life. Growing up with OCD I’ve constantly been wrestling with control. I like to control others, control what I do each day, control what I will do in the future, control how I look and control how others see me. During this internship I have also struggled to let go many times. I remember at the beginning of the internship one of the interns saying that they never ask God for things when they pray. This surprised me because I always ask for things when I pray. This is probably me trying to control what happens in my life. There is a balance between thanking God and asking God to move in my life when I pray. I’m striving too much for more from God and not letting the love He has for me sink in so that I can fully live it out. I want to control everything God does in me so that when it flows out of me I understand it. Letting go is very hard for me and I hope that God breaks the desire I have to control in my life, especially when I want to control Him. The scariest thing is that wanting to let go of control means I have to let go.
God, thank you for filling me up so much this summer. I’m soaking everything up because I want so much more of You. The more You show me the more I want of You. Help me to not be overwhelmed by all that You’re doing in me. Right now I can’t make sense of it all but I know it’s all for Your glory. You will show me what I need to know in Your perfect timing. Help me to trust You as I continue seeking after You. Even if my words don’t make sense You know my heart, God. Thank you for working in me and for memories that help me reflect on what You’ve done in me. In Your Son’s perfect name, Amen.
||ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erin Gabreski • 2017 International Immersion Intern