This adventure has been one that has mostly centred around relationships. Meeting new people, rediscovering lost friendships and the longstanding bond of Family. The one question God has been challenging me with is “What does the authentic Andrew look like?”. When surrounded with relationships where people hide behind masked representations of theirselves and when I find myself removed by my “safe, comfortable Christian community”. This has given me a fresh perspective on the phrase “In the world, but not of it.” You see, it is hard to take the Narrow Path that Jesus spoke of because it’s the road less travelled. There have been moments on this trip when I have found myself lost or at a crossroads, and where I have had to seek God’s guidance or words. It’s in this time where the true self is built up, and God continues to strip back the layers of lies and false truths that have been believed. I think I have found relating to people initially a challenge, where there is quite a negative culture when it comes to differences in culture and beliefs. As someone who sometimes struggles to initiate a new relationship, God encouraged me to stretch my comfort zone. Once I began talking I was able to meet and develop new relationships with other travellers along the way, and found myself engaged in authentic and vulnerable conversations. It didn’t matter about our cultural or religious beliefs because we were being authentic. I think authenticity is one of the the least understood words in our culture, particularly amongst Christians. I believe that Jesus calls us as leaders to be open and vulnerable and to allow others to be in authentic relationships with us. We need to ignore our insecurities and invite people into our lives, giving them access to us – to our stories and journey. That means giving access to the good, the bad and the ugly. I feel that God is saying that I need to stop being intimidated by not having it all together. In only a few days I fly to Colorado to attend the Wild at Heart conference, this is one of the things I will be reflecting on. In the lead up we have been asked to be praying the following prayer:
I come to you now to be restored in you, and take refuge in you. I give my life to you today in every way – body, soul and spirit, heart, mind and will. Cover me with your blood. Fill me with your Spirit. Lead me in every way. I ask you to prepare me for the upcoming Boot Camp. Prepare the way before me. Protect my coming to this event. Let nothing keep me from all you have for me. I bring the Cross of my Lord Jesus Christ over my life these next few weeks, and over my home, my family, my job. I cut off every plan of the enemy that would take me out, by the power of the Cross and Blood of Jesus Christ. Lord Jesus, send your angels to guard and keep me. Go before me in the days leading up to this retreat, in all my travels, and in my time at Boot Camp. Prepare the way for me. In the meantime, I take my place in your Cross, Resurrection and Ascension. I bring the Kingdom of God and the authority of Jesus Christ over my life, and over all my domain. In Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.