I have decided to take this coming semester, the fall of 2015, off of school. I'm not going to save the orphans and I'm not going to spend the entire break in an African village without running water and I'm not going to end world hunger and I'm not going through a mid-life crisis. I just want to take a semester off so I'm doing it.
I've thought pretty long and hard about it, all the pros and cons, just like anyone would do. Sometimes I make rash decisions, but not always. There are so many pros and everyone says, "Wow! That's so cool! I wish I had done that," or "Wow! That's so cool! I wish I was doing that." I can think of a million reasons to do it.
But I can't think of that many reasons not to do it. Except one that keeps coming back, running circles around me, and driving me crazy.
UNC needs me. God needs me. What if I leave? What will everyone do? What about all of the friends that I have made? What about all of the people that only hear about Jesus from me? All of God's plans for people and for UNC will completely fall apart. There are freshmen that need me to lead their Bible studies. There are girls that need me to encourage them. There are people who need Jesus and simply won't hear about Him if I'm not here. UNC needs me. God needs me.
Well, friends, since making the decision to leave I have already learned a big lesson from the semester off, even though it hasn't started yet. The lesson: UNC doesn't need me. And neither does God.
I had some sort of revelation recently that basically slapped me in the face or punched me in the stomach or something like that. Whatever it was, it hurt. Frankly, I didn't think the sun was going to continue to rise in Chapel Hill if I left. And then I realized that God's plans for UNC are so much bigger than me.
God has plans for me and those plans are great. However, God also has plans for UNC and while I can jump in and be a part of those plans, those plans will not come crashing down without my involvement in them. God did really cool things at this university before I was here and I feel confident that He will continue to do really cool things after I graduate.
I'm not leaving UNC thinking that I'm not doing anything worth my time here but I'm leaving UNC confidently knowing that God's work will go on here and that God's work can be done through me in other places as well.
I am excited to serve God and be used by God this coming semester in other areas of life. I am excited to experience things I've never experienced before, to serve Him in ways I've never served Him before. I am excited to let go of things that I think I need and to let go of things that I think need me and instead learn to glorify God in other capacities.
The fact that God doesn't need us does not give us license to sit back and relax on the sidelines and watch it all happen. The point is not that if you go to UNC you should stop trying to help God since He doesn't need you. On the contrary, you can and should serve God wherever you go; the things is, it's not so much about where you are but rather it's about who you're serving - yourself or Him. So, you need not worry whether or not God can use you in a certain location - He can. And you need not worry whether or not God can work in a certain location without you - He can.
That's the thing we must understand - God allows us to be a part of His work but He does not need us to be a part of His work.
The fact that He allows us to be a part of His work should drive our desire to serve Him because we by no means deserve to be used by Him and wow, what an awesome privilege it is to take part in that. It is a privilege to serve Him at UNC and it is a privilege to serve Him in places other than UNC.
But woe to you, woe to me, if we think God will not, can not, accomplish His purposes without us.
Friends, this is what I am trying to say: God is crazy about me. God loves me to the depths of hell and back. God has a strong desire for me. God seeks me. God pursues me. God values me. God wants me. But one thing I must remember - God does not need me.
And that, my friends, makes serving Him all the better.