lessons learned from challenge…to this point

So Rachel and I wanted to share with you some of the lessons we have learned through the first few weeks of this challenge. It has definitely been an interesting challenge and one that we both agree has been very worthwhile. What we learned hasn’t necessarily come through these brilliant theological discussions or during church, but on the past few Wednesdays on our way to Quigley’s, which makes it all the more interesting. It has been like those classic “A Ha” moments where we were just discussing life or something about the day and the next thing we know, it is like “I think I just know what I may have learned.”

The first thing that we have learned is that our mind has definitely been filled with different songs. I know that seems obvious but during the normal day, Rachel and I would probably have a dozen different songs go through our head and they could be the newest pop or top 40 song. The day may be filled with classics from our favorite artist or even some weird song that we are like, “why is that in my head?” But honestly, the first month we have been living in Illinois hasn’t been the easiest of times in terms of challenges  and hardships. But while Satan has attacked our thoughts, attacked our health and attacked us on different fronts, we have had some amazing Christian songs fill our head. While Satan has attacked our securities and fears, we have had to cling to these songs. The amazing thing is a lot of days, we have needed these certain songs. They weren’t just a song to write about or because we liked, they were in our head because they meant something to us that day. We needed those words. We needed to be reminded of those truths. We needed something good filling our minds when we were weak. We needed something to cling to. We needed the hope that the song sings about. We needed to take our eyes off of our problems and focus on the beauty and splendor of our King.

Instead of having the latest pop song (possibly Katy Perry), we have had songs of God’s goodness and mercy resonate through us. Those simple truths, those reminders, are what has helped us defend against the attacks, against the sadness and pain. It has driven us to worship and praise in the trials and the joys. It has focused our minds on heaven and the things above this world, not on our own little box.

The second thing we have learned is these songs are more than just music we sing in church. They are more than just noise or songs to sing to pass the time. They are encouragements and reminders. As we have gone through this, we have looked at the lyrics and been able to see deeper meanings. Sometimes, when I hear a new song at church, I may sing it to sing but I will miss what the song is actually saying. Or if we sing a song that we have sung a 1000 times, I will miss the point and zone out. This exercise has showed us the depths of these words. They are more than just guitars and pianos, melodies and rhythms. They are this amazing praise to God. To read some of the words and see what is truly been said without all of the music and distractions has been a wonderful way to see the message of the song.

Lastly, this exercise has helped us remember our mission. To get outside of our own little box, our own little world and to make disciples. This exercise has showed us the grace we have been given and sparked that hunger, that passion, that thirst, that fire that is within us to share the Gospel and God’s love to the lost. This is a matter of life and death. God has challenged us to go make a difference and that is what we are going to do. We want to be faithful to Him. We will fail and miss plenty of opportunities, but we don’t want to waste all the things he gave us. We don’t want to bury the treasure in the sand while our master is away, we want to invest it. We want lives that will be fruitful. So as we listen to these songs and our reminded not to wait until tomorrow or see with God’s vision or to ask God to show us what we have been missing, we also know God is trustworthy and will give us what we need to follow and serve Him.

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