I absolutely love traveling to new places. This summer I had a wonderful opportunity to travel to Dallas, Texas for a tournament with some of my best friends. While I was there, I learned a lot of lessons that will help me grow as a Christian and I wanted to share some of them with y’all.
Things might not always go as planned. I know that this is a common lesson, but I often forget it. I could have everything planned out in my head perfectly and then things won’t go the “right” way. We had planned to leave the high school at 4 pm, go to the airport, get on a plane at 9:25 pm for a nice smooth ride, and then land in Dallas at 11:05 pm. Things didn’t go as planned. Our flight was delayed (due to storms), the turbulence was very frightening to me, and we had to circle around Dallas for a while to wait for a storm to pass. This caused us to land around midnight and we got into our hotel rooms around 1 am or so. The trip there was not enjoyable one bit. No matter how much we planned, we could not guarantee a “perfect” flight. This is like life, we may have the most perfect plan in our head but it may not be God’s plan. God has a plan for each and every one of us, plans to give us “a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). It can be hard to give up your “perfect” plan in life and accept God’s plan, I’ve been there, but you have to put all of your trust in God because He truly knows what’s best for you.
Sometimes you have to change your perspective. While I was 36,000 feet up in the air, flying over towns at night, I truly grasped the idea that the world is a lot bigger than my physical life. I looked at the world with a different perspective to come to that realization. The world doesn’t revolve around you. Sometimes I feel like I’m back in the 16th century when everyone except Galileo believed that everything revolved around earth. Today, some people believe that their life is what makes the universe run when in reality, life revolves around the Son. Without Jesus and God, we would not be here today. “In the beginning was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:1-4). God should be the center of your life.
If one person does something, some people will follow. The hotel that we stayed in was huge.There were two different atrium’s and what was called “the tower” filled with rooms. We were in one atrium in the hallway of a floor, waiting for our next match. One team (on a floor above us) was throwing paper airplanes off of the balcony, flying through the middle of the atrium. Other people (even some people I was with) started doing the same, just because they saw someone else doing it. Our actions, as Christians, should be so attractive that “spiritual Gentiles” (those who do not know God) can’t help but desire to look like us (1 Peter 2:12a). A Christian has diligence, moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love (2 Peter 1:5-11). A person can see Christ in your actions (John 13:34-35) and people will see all of the blessings you receive from being part of God’s family (Ephesians 1:7-14). People will want the blessings that you have, causing them to know Christ.
The world is worse off than I thought. Growing up in a good Christian home, I never truly knew how many people are living in sin. Throughout the entire trip, I saw people begging for money to feed their addiction to drugs or alcohol, I saw people who had turned to worldly pleasures, I saw highly intoxicated people forcefully abuse their children in the middle of a hotel lobby. I saw a lot of things that didn’t really process through my head as things that truly happen every single day. I was heartbroken when I came to the realization. People are living in sin and I’m not doing my job as a Christian to put an end to it. We are called to “go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). We should be out there in the world, spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to every single person. So many people are living in sin and we need to change that. Go and make disciples
What you wear truly matters. On the last day, Ben and I accidentally wore the same shirt. It happened to be our shirt from Upward 2016 (a teen event sponsored by my friends over at Tomorrows Church, Today). People noticed our shirts. At the airport, a cashier asked Ben what “Upside Down” was all about and he had the opportunity to tell a man about Christ and how the world is living in sin. When we were boarding the plane, one of the flight attendants asked me what my shirt was about and I had the opportunity to tell her the same. We may not think much about the clothes we wear, but we can be walking “billboards” for Christ. “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17).The world cannot see our heart, we are constantly judged by our appearance and actions. Let’s make sure they are glorifying God!