• Chriselle Lees-Thomas

The Next Step

Does God really got this? What am I doing with my life? Chriselle reflects on where God has been taking her over the past few years and what the future might hold.


It seems to me that a coming of age means a whole lot of questions, decisions, worry, and anxiety as we hit the new world of what it means to be independent. More technically: ‘adulthood.’ I personally struggle with the future - not knowing what I am going to do tomorrow, next year, in ten years, or for the rest of my life.


When I was in year 13, I never would have expected to be in the place I am now. As an 18-year-old, I refused to believe I needed a certificate and thousands of dollars in student loans to tell me what I can and can’t do with my life. But I was fearful. I had no idea what was next and every single decision felt like the world weighed on anything I did.


The journey I have been on since has taken me to places I would’ve never expected, met people I would’ve never rubbed shoulders with, and challenged me to question, think, and act. If I had known what was to happen in the past 5 years, I wouldn’t have learnt and grown in the way that I did.


From many conversations I have had over the past month and over these last 5 years, I can confidently say worrying got me nowhere. The thing is, God knows what He’s doing. Time and time again, God has shown me the way and guided me along my path although I may not have seen it at the time.


In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus teaches us a valuable lesson when he talks about the future.


Do Not Worry


“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?


And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.


Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”


For a long time I struggled with this passage. It’s easy to become pessimistic when reading ‘do not worry’ but how does that help? It doesn’t. God does. His plan for us does. We can read it all we want and try to believe it but until we’ve handed over our future to God, we will continue to worry and hold onto things that we cannot control.


Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”


I remember learning that verse at a kids camp as a leader in my last year of school. It hit me hard then and continues to challenge me to this day. God doesn’t want little bits of us, He wants all of us. If we give ourselves over to His will, trusting His plan for our lives, there is nothing we cannot accomplish. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it a thousand times more: God doesn’t call the perfect, He calls the willing.


With all this in mind, I am nearing the end of my Social Work degree, the end of what has been a very long 4 years. It has been a great journey; I have developed in ways that I could have never expected, and I have grown up quite substantially. I have loved being on placement in the homeless sector and am going back into Auckland City for my final placement this year.


And I love my job. Windsor has been my home for a long time and to be able to share that with young people and see God flourishing in our Tribe community brings me tears of joy time and time again. Working at Windsor is another aspect of my life that I would’ve never expected happening, fulfilling desires I had when I was younger that I had once disregarded as I never thought I would be good enough.


What I am saying is it has been a journey. A long one, but indeed a great one - from directing a kids camp to working at Bays Youth; working in the homeless sector to getting the opportunity to be on the board of NZ Coalition to End Homelessness; from being a Tribe leader to coordinating Intermediate Ministry - I could’ve never known, pursued or desired what I do without God paving the way, intending His plan. Don’t get me wrong, this didn’t mean I did nothing. It means that I continue to pursue the desires God has put in my heart, knowing that He holds my future in His hands.


I have no idea what I am going to do when I graduate. But God does. And He has got me this far.


So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal - 2 Corinthians 4:18.


Chriselle is currently studying a social work degree at Massey University. She works as Intermediate Ministry Coordinator and in the Creative Department at Windsor Park Baptist Church. Contact her at chrisellekarah@gmail.com.


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