"Come near to God and he will come near to you" - James 4:8
Living in Northern Virginia, I live around a lot of privilege: an upbringing and education system that pushes people to succeed, an area that benefits from its close proximity to Washington, D.C., and on top of that I technically reside in the nation's richest county. I don't list these things as bragging rights, but as a reminder that I have been blessed and afforded these privileges.
When I left Liberia, I temporarily left a job that most people stare at me with bewilderment when they ask where I am working, but is a work life that is considered "normal" where I come from: a norm of working overtime, a never-ending battle with traffic, and being seen as a slave to our work is considered "everyday life". But my time in Liberia left me meditating on Matthew 22:37, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” The Lord was revealing through my excitement, guilt, and frustration where my greatest passion was. And this was beginning of the hardest confrontation I had.
While you are traveling to another country where you don’t consider it to be your home, it is easy to see things through the lens of the Lord, because there aren’t as many distractions that are competing for your emotions. My time in Liberia spoke truths of who I am and whom I belong to. These kids shared their life willingly with the greatest joy and peace, because they understood that their identity was not in this world, but their citizenship is in heaven. And that was the simplicity that I failed to understand until I stepped back and reflected. Is my joy in the temporary? Where is my greatest passion?
We live in America where we want immediate solutions and instant gratification. But what I am realizing more and more is that ambition is not a bad thing; however, when we ask ourselves what is motivating our journey, we begin to recognize what is taking the center stage in our lives. And this has been the greatest reminder of an experienced grace. When we live in a world that pushes for success and the forgetfulness of failure, it transforms our vision of what grace truly means. We feel guilt for our brokenness, loneliness, guilt, and shame and begin to distance ourselves from God because of this; thinking that we aren’t good enough. But the Lord pursues us relentlessly and he never stops walking besides us. I have realized that faith is not an end all be all closed door policy after a mistake is made, but it is grace through faith. We are called to carry the cross and follow Jesus on a daily basis. It isn’t just a Sunday experience, but an everyday encounter. True freedom lies in the reality of knowing that our time on Earth is temporary, but the Lord is sovereign in everything in our lives. This is the truth I surrender to.
-Anna Cho, Virginia Women's Basketball
To God Be The Glory!