When people ask me what I got out of Big Break everything in my brain blurs and swirls, leaving me looking at them blankly with an open mouth and no words to explain. I struggle to answer them because I honestly can’t think of just one thing that I took away from that wonderful week in Panama City Beach Florida. I arrived there knowing that I had a reason to be there, but God said “No, I don’t have a reason, I have reasons.”
The following is a list I wrote in my notebook with the side of my face leaning against the bus window, leaving Florida in the rearview. I know it is not complete list, but it’s a start.
1. God uses what we have.
We are imperfect. We have flaws, blemishes, inabilities, and weakness. God knows this just as much as we do. He was the one who made us. But God uses what we give him. Our speaker told us to “bring what you have, and God will make up for the difference.” There were many mornings that I felt as though I couldn’t go out to the beach to evangelize again. I thought that I wasn’t the right person for the job; that I don’t have the right qualities to reach these people. But time and time again I was reminded that it isn’t me. I am not the doing the work but it is God working through me–using all that I have to give.
2. We must love, not judge.
This is something that I have been praying about for a long time. I want to have Jesus’s unconditional love for people. This was truly tested when we had to go into the thick of the Panama City Beach spring break drunken beach parties. Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn it, it already was condemned. He came to save. He came to love. And that is why we are here, to love people like Jesus did. During Big Break, I learned how to love these people on the beach and see them through the eyes of Jesus.
3. You are never really alone.
This verse from my brother is what got me through everyday: “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you” -Joshua 1:5 I realized that God was with me every step of the way. God was the one who kept me calm, gave me strength, and held my heart. He guided me to the right people and allowed everything to gently fall into place. A lot of people told me that I was brave to go by myself, but in reality, I saw that I never really was.
4. Do not worry, God has a plan.
I have struggled with worry a lot. I am ALWAYS worried about something. During Big Break, I was able to see how God uses everything for his big, crazy, and intricate plan. He fits our broke pieces together with one another and it all works out in the end. It actually becomes something even better than what we ever could have imagined or dreamed. I think with God I kind of have this trust issue sometimes. Which is pretty dumb considering that he is the God of this whole world and my heavenly Father. And don’t fathers only want what is best for their daughters?
5. I love to collect seashells.
I even found a starfish! My friend Emily also found three perfectly intact sunglasses that washed up to shore too. But anyways, collecting seashells is definitely something that I am going to miss doing every morning. My friend Sarah called it “shelling”. I like that.
6. Sleeping on the bus is impossible.
26 hours on a bus and I think I slept 3 of them. Maybe