So it’s been a little over 9 months since I moved down here to New Orleans. I guess what’s on my mind at this moment is, “Has my stay been everything I imagined? Better? Worse?”
Well first of all, I didn’t have much time to get very many preconceived expectations of the YAV site in New Orleans because I applied a month before the start date. Everything was last minute and I really didn’t have much time to question my decision to abandon the great state of Kansas. It all worked out though; leaving family, friends, my love, a decent job, and a half finished college degree.
But with all that aside, all that comes to mind is the numerous blessings and opportunities I’ve received since moving down here. I’m not even sure where to begin, such a sudden rush of memories: late night conversations, adventurous retreats, random nights downtown, and the best food in the country. Not to mention all the volunteer groups and individuals I’ve met who also felt called to come and serve. My work at Project Homecoming as a construction assistant has been one of the most educational experiences I’ve had thus far. I still learn new construction skills and tricks-of-the-trade daily, which I’ve found to be a positive thing. It humbles me daily. And while I’m expected to be able to handle and manage a group of volunteers, I still find myself not knowing all the answers. But I think having the ability to say, “I’m not 100 percent sure,” or “Hey, let me find out,” is a quality that I’m very relieved to own.
On a much larger scale, I’m not 100 percent sure about a variety of issues in my life and life in general. One of the main personal reasons for coming to New Orleans was to simply learn. Learn about life, learn about God, learn about the Bible, learn some management skills, learn some handy construction trades, learn about myself.
But the main thing I’ve learned down here is that it doesn’t matter if my adventure in New Orleans has been a blessing or been a struggle, because it’s not about me.
God doesn’t call us to live in paradise and occasionally serve or occasionally read his Word. God wants us to be able to drop whatever we’re consumed by and follow Him, which can be the toughest decision we ever make. Who knows, if I we’re given 6 months or a year to think about moving to New Orleans, I honestly think the chances of me serving here would be dramatically lower. We miss God’s call and God’s voice when we take charge of our own lives and over analyze our options. I’ve come to believe that the most comfortable option or the safest path is usually not the way God wants us to go. God wants to send us on an adventure. I’ve recently read the book Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson. In it, he writes about different “cages” we get trapped in that prevent us from following God’s plan for us. I’d recommend it to everyone, young and old. Batterson has helped me identify what prevents me from taking the next step. The book has also renewed my simple faith that God will provide. God’s call and God’s will can be such a mystery and cause much confusion, but as one of my best friends always says, “Follow your heart.” She doesn’t say, “follow your brain,” or “follow the majority,” she advises to follow the purest and most sacred organ in our bodies – the heart.
It’s no coincidence that God and the heart have so much in common, for “God is Love” 1 John 4:16.
– Duncan Cheney