Life since Elevate has gone by too fast. Summer is long over, but I am still mulling over everything I’ve learned. For those of you who don’t know, Elevate is a 10 week-long discipleship program through Resonate, my collegiate church home in Pullman, Washington. I spent my entire summer in La Jolla, California working a retail job at Pottery Barn kids at University Towne Center, volunteering at the Sand Diego Food Bank, but most of all, growing in community and in Jesus.
Explaining how Elevate continues to have an impact on me months later is difficult. In fact, I think my lack of explanation has been keeping me from writing. My last post that I wrote, I wrote in La Jolla. Elevate challenged me to my core, and as I expected coming back to school, to the “daily grind” that Elevate pulled me away from has been far from easy. In California, I was blessed with having accountability and and Christian community on a 24/7 basis. Now that I’m back in Pullman, I’m struggling because experiences like the ones I had in California are rare and ideal.
I quickly placed a lot of weight and responsibility on the shoulders of my community to give me what they can’t: the relationship that I want with my Heavenly Father. Elevate raised my standards of what Christian living looks like. I find myself now in a place where I realized that Christianity isn’t about waiting for church on Sunday or Village on Wednesday, but having Jesus as a part my life even when my christian community isn’t surrounding me physically. Experiencing Jesus in the quiet moments, after the pastor stops talking, the music winds down and my friends go on their way is something I didn’t know would be so hard. I never thought solitude and silence would be a problem for a girl like me.
One of the lessons I learned came after Elevate is that One summer isn’t enough time to grow. I wish it were because growing pains are hard. This journey I’m on will last my entire lifetime. People constantly told me that Elevate was one of the best decisions they ever made. However, I always sensed that they wanted to add a “but..” to the end of their sentences. I understand why. For me, Elevate had a way of bringing to light everything I thought I had stowed away, hidden from the eyes of people that I know love me. Life before Elevate was easy because back then no one was holding me accountable to the skeletons in my closet. It changed everything for me. Everything was placed on the table, open for everyone to see. It was painful, how I imagine Eustace felt when Aslan graciously tore away his dragon scales until once again flesh was all that remained. There’s a reason why this example from C.S. Lewis’ Voyage of the Dawn Treader is used so often. Baring ourselves to Christ and our community, any community really, is painful but His grace and mercy makes it so worth it.
He has told you, O man, what is good: and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Elevate was the start of a new journey for me, one that I didn’t expect to begin and one that will probably never end. In the midst of constant community and accountability that I’d never experienced before, I learned and am still learning that no one else but me can take responsibility for my relationship with God.
My friend and room leader for the summer Meredith Brown speaks so much truth. About seven weeks into the summer she spoke truth that I am finally beginning to understand this semester. She told me that this year I’m going to learn what it means to be selfless and the person in the background serving. I wasn’t sure in what are those sacrifices were going to be made but not long after I learned that I’d be on leadership in a freshman village (bible study) for the coming school year. I’m learning a lot. That these two years and counting of being involved with Resonate is not meant for me alone, but for all the people who still aren’t connected to a wonderful community
Additionally, I was “officially” placed on Gathering Team.Gathering Team is a vital group of people who help set up church in Todd Auditorium on Washington State University’s campus and Schweitzer Engineering Lab in Pullman every Sunday. Not a whole lot has changed since last year except the title has kept me a lot more accountable and consistent. Another lesson I’m learning is that serving is rarely convenient, or it’s not supposed to be. Service without sacrifice can be defined as good works or morals. Serving in these ways has been so humbling. I mean so humbling. I’m excited and also hesitant for this continuation of growth that is ahead of me.