The World Is Our House By Liza Burchman

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The night of my HLI graduation, I cried. Not because I had accomplished 9 months of intense discipleship training, and not because I had seen God greatly move in my life - in fact, I had no idea what affect HLI had in my life until two years later.

I was crying that night, outside in the parking lot, staring up at the stars, because I was leaving the community I loved and believed in. I developed friendships and relationships that impacted my core - my heart - which God used to nudge me along the path of self-awareness and love. I cherished the HLI environment I “grew up in,” and couldn’t imagine living outside of it.

I stared up at the night sky and thought, “How could there be anything better than where I am now? How could I find a community as loving and accepting as this?”

A few months later, I was a freshman in college. It felt like my world flipped upside down. I tried to maintain what I learned in HLI: God time, journaling, and conflict resolution. Even when I did those things, it felt like there were times when I no longer resembled the key ingredients of Heroic Leadership: self-awareness, ingenuity, heroism, and love.

I had a challenging roommate, difficult classes, no church, and I felt like I lost my foundation. My identity was changing, and that was scary for me. God has shown me that it was necessary, and that my transformation continued after I graduated from HLI.

The Jesuit saying that I still carry with me is, “The world is our house.”

I left HLI nearly five years ago. I am not the same person I was, and I am thankful for it. I didn’t see enough of the world. I had a little faith in God, but God looked a lot smaller to me then than He does now. I needed difficult experiences to teach me how to trust Him.

God did provide new mentors, community, and friendships for me in my new college environment. Some of them have become family. But the reality of it was that I was outside of HLI for five years. I needed to learn that God was bigger than the Vineyard Movement I grew up in.

If I could go back to that night and tell myself one thing, it would be this: The world is your house, because you know the Master of the House. You are at home anywhere and everywhere as long as your home is in Him.

And that simple thought has proven true for me. Six years ago it would have seemed impossible to me, but tonight as the night life grows quiet in Jerusalem, that statement has become a reality for me.

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I stare up at the night sky, richly adorned with stars, and remember God’s promise to Abram. God didn’t promise that Abram would have an easier life, with more riches, land, or even a royal title. Abram had most of these things - what could he want with more of it?

No - God promised Abram that He knew where He was going. What God promised to Abram probably felt impossible, but Abram was going to see God keep His promise; God’s character is perfect and has never and will never change. That night Abram’s name changed. His identity changed. His name became Abraham because the Promise Maker could never fail - His vow to Abram was absolutely assured.

Abram’s identity changed. Mine did too. I’m not the person I was after HLI. God knew my path, even when I didn’t. During that time of following God, when I thought I couldn’t see the path marked out for me, I realized that God became my vision. God’s presence has never left me, through thick and thin. And when I stare at the night sky, it’s a beacon of hope for me; I will reach my final destination - His arms.

The world is my house because He lives in it. Even when my heart is exhausted, I call out to the Master of the House. I return to the Rock that is higher than I am. He has proven Himself my Refuge and my Strong Tower, no matter what I face, the people I meet, or where I am in the world. The adventure only gets better with every passing day because I live in the shadow of His wings.

GENESIS 15  JOB 38-41  PSALM 17  PSALM 61  MATTHEW 6:26  MATTHEW 10:29

Mary McKellick