I remember the end of my freshman year of college very well. I ended the semester with a big, fat D-for-dog-gonne-done in Differential Equations. The plus in front of it was a consolation prize for pulling 3 all-nighters before the final exam. Unfortunately, digital grades had just come into reality, so taking a black sharpie to the "D" to make it into a "B" to boost my self-esteem wasn't really an option.
My group of friends were changing. I got beat out of fall ball by an incoming freshman. I was just beginning to dive into my "asian-ness" (up until this point, I legitimately believed that I was white... that's a different story I can share with you). I also was struggling with what it meant to be adopted. Simply put - I was a mess.
My dream of a career in physics and math - failed.
My friends - gone.
My team - I wasn't good enough.
What I was - I'm not sure because I just want to fit in.
Who as I - it was easier to be nobody than to be somebody.
I entered that summer with a whole lot of anxiety and fear. I was disappointed with God. I was angry that my well thought out plans were ruined. I was numb to any kind of joy in who I was or what I could offer to the world. I was too insecure to share any of this with anybody. It was way too uncomfortable.
I worked at a summer camp that summer and we were assigned "prayer and accountability partners". Talk about uncomfortable... two college guys... prayer and accountability... that was the last thing I wanted - and yet, exactly the thing I needed.
"How can I pray for you"? Pray for my campers. Pray for my parents. Pray for my friends. Pray for everybody else. Because the world needed to change. . . for me. After all, my Diff EQ prof was the problem because he failed me. My friends chose to ghost me. My coach didn't choose me. My birth country allowed me to be swept away. Everything about my life was about me - and everybody else had the problem. It was my own mental "Burn Book" (you need to watch Mean Girls to understand that reference).
My prayer partner continued to ask, "How can I pray for you"? He said something to the extent of - I could pray for everybody else... but I really want to pray for you.
Over the next 10 weeks, I slowly shared a little bit more about how hurt, angry, and uncomfortable I was inside of my own skin. He said that the prayer found in Psalm 119:94 is one of his favorites: "I am yours; rescue me!" I still echo that simple psalm prayer, often.
Over the course of that summer, I discovered that God really wanted to speak His truth into my heart and change something deep inside of me.
I learned that's what happens when I invite or allow others to walk alongside of me - especially through prayer. I realize that I am not alone in my anxiety, fear, and discomfort. For me, this experience was life-changing. I believe that God wanted to change my perspective toward other people - to love them, not blame them. I believe that God wanted to show me that His way is better than my way.
I became open and ready to humbly learn and receive from Him in and through my discomfort, anxiety, and fear.
Fast forward to about a year ago. I found myself in another uncomfortable moment (honestly, my life is full of them). While I was considering what God might have in mind with the opportunity to stay in Chicagoland or move to Tacoma, I attended my friends' CD release party where they introduced me to this song. In that moment, I recalled what God had taught me years ago at camp about uncomfortable moments: God wants to speak His truth into my heart and change something deep inside of me.
Take a listen.
Given the realities of our community and world today, I believe that we are living in another uncomfortable moment. There is a lot of anxiety and fear over what could happen next. But, could it be that God wants to speak His truth into your heart and change something inside of you, today?
Shake up the ground of all my tradition
Breakdown the walls of all my religion
Your way is better
I believe that God desperately desires this for you (and me).
Why? So that we can see and become more like Jesus.
We all have uncomfortable moments filled with anxiety and fear. We know that when we enter the “uncomfortable zone”, we learn, grow, and change. And because we can cast our anxiety and fear on Jesus because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7), we can become open and ready to humbly learn and receive from Him in and through our discomfort, anxiety, and fear.
Another part of God leading you to learn, grow, and change is for you to become more aware of who He has made you. If you would like to take 15-minutes and complete this spiritual gift inventory, I or one of our ministry leaders or coaches would be honored to walk alongside of you. You can send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started. I can’t wait to hear from you!
Love you more than you know.
Meet Pastor Tim
Tim Bayer has served as Our Savior's Lead Pastor since September 2019. He also serves as an Adjunct Instructor at Concordia University - Irvine, a National Leadership Facilitator and Resource, and a Community Mental Health First Aid Instructor. Tim studied sociology, psychology, and theology prior to earning his M.Div at Concordia Seminary - St. Louis. He has also is a candidate for an Ed.D (ABD) in Transformational Leadership. He is married to Beth and they have three young children. Together, they enjoy exploring the outdoors, experiencing culture, and pizza and movie nights.