KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–“The Christian life is the ultimate reality experience with God Himself,” keynote speaker Clella Lee told 3,000 teenage girls, collegiate young women and missions leaders at Blume, a July 10-13 national conference sponsored by Woman’s Missionary Union.
Borrowing from the TV reality show “The Amazing Race,” Lee described faith in Christ as “The Amazing Life.”
Lee, of Fayetteville, N.C., asked the crowd, “When you hear ‘Amazing Life,’ what do you think of? If you could describe your Amazing Life, what would it look like?”
Some might respond that life would be amazing if they had successful relationships, Lee said, or if they had the perfect body or a list of personal accomplishments.
Lee voiced several clues of how to live the Amazing Life, drawing from Christ’s words in Luke 10:25–28.
“First, if you want to have the Amazing Life, you must ask the right questions,” Lee said. “If you start with the wrong question, you’ll always get the wrong answer. You don’t base the Amazing Life on what you think or think you know; you base your life on Jesus Christ and ask Him, ‘What is the way to the Amazing Life? Jesus, help me understand and know how I can have the Amazing Life.'”
The second clue Lee suggested is to look in the right place for the answer. “If you look for the Amazing Life in the wrong place, you will be disappointed every time,” she said. “You will always be running after the newest, latest and greatest, because it changes all the time. Those things are part of an Amazing Life, but they aren’t it.
“Are you looking — really looking — for the Amazing Life in the right place?”
The Amazing Life, she said, is found in eternal life. “Eternal life is abiding communion with God — now in this life and in the future. Abiding means to stay or live with, side by side, sharing and relating. If you want the Amazing Life, you must look in the right place. It is Jesus.”
The third clue, for believers in Christ, is to face the hard truth about who we are — sinners saved by grace, Lee said. “No matter who you are, whatever your circumstances, God meets you where you are,” she said. “The Amazing Life is not a way to life, it’s a way of life — and you have to choose it.”
Lee, in her nightly messages, also noted that it is necessary to focus on the right things in order to have the Amazing Life.
“You must come into [God] through Jesus Christ. Loving God is easy to talk about, but it’s easy to miss Him. Come in by and through the Lamb…. give Him your undivided loyalty and you won’t miss Him.”
To illustrate Lee’s points, North American Mission Board missionary Alpha Goombi, an American Indian, gave her testimony, recounting her life of heartache before accepting Christ.
Goombi said she grew up in Oklahoma hearing that she was “ugly” and “would never amount to anything because Indians are dumb and lazy.” She was not welcome at the local church because of her race, was abused as a youth and turned to alcohol at age 18. In despair as a young wife and mother, however, she accepted Christ and now shares her saving faith American Indians in Kansas and Missouri.
“You have to love yourself for who you are,” said Dominique LeGree, a Louisiana collegian who is studying psychology and counseling wants to use her life experiences to help teens in crisis. When she was in the fifth grade, her family’s home burned to the ground; when Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans in 2005, she lost everything again.
“Hurricane Katrina was when I realized I had to give everything to God,” LeGree told the Blume crowd.
WMU President Kay Miller, in one of Blume’s breakout sessions, cited what she calls a “Supergirl Syndrome” that bombards today’s girls.
“You are facing activity overload, change overload, choice overload, competition overload and educational overload,” Miller, wearing a large “S,” told her audience. “People expect so much.” All of these things push girls beyond their margins, she said.
Pointing to a poster with the word “HALT,” Miller counseled: “If you are hurting, angry, lonely or tired, you need to halt.”
She advised asking such questions as, “Have I stopped enjoying life because I’m too busy? Am I exhausted? Do I have time to spend with family?” If the answer is no, then they are not carrying the load that is pleasing to Christ, she said.
Miller encouraged the girls to consider how they are spending their time and where they can add margins. Referencing Exodus 20:8–11, she reminded them of the command to “observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” To help create a healthy balance, she added, it is important to create emotional, physical and time margins.
Emotional margins can be created by cultivating social support, serving others, being grateful and hopeful, and giving grace to others, Miller said.
A registered nurse, Miller urged the girls to take care of themselves –- to take responsibility for the demands on their physical body by valuing sleep, exercising, eating a balanced diet with less fat and sugar and drinking water.
Girls also have a responsibility to learn to say “no” in order to create margins for time, Miller said. “Turn off the TV, plan for free time. Get less done, but do the right things.”
Miller told the story of two “supergirls” from the Bible, Mary and Martha. When Jesus came to their house, Martha was busy with tasks while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet. Martha asked Jesus to tell Mary to help her, but Jesus responded that Mary had made a better choice.
In this story, Mary is often considered the spiritual one while Martha is thought to be the not-so-spiritual one, Miller said. “But I want us to realize that the lives of both women offer invaluable life lessons and truths about balance,” she said. “God is not the author of confusion nor does He create chaos, setting His children up to drown in the raging sea’s darkness, burnout and exhaustion. We do a great job of that on our own. But we can learn to experience a balance that will bring peace, purpose and power to our crazed world.
“Sometimes you have to stop and sit at the feet of Jesus,” Miller continued. “He wants you to stop. Jesus will help bring the margins in so you are not so tired every day.” Time for reflection and prayer also are critical, she said.
Miller pointed out that the Bible gives Christians a super costume, referring to Ephesians 6:11–18. “Instead of having a secret identity, trying to please everyone and be supergirl, put on the armor of God,” she said. “Take His Word to the ends of the earth. You may not be called to be a foreign missionary, but God calls you to share. He wants you to do it in His strength, not yours. Take a moment and give everything you do over to the Lord.
“God created you exactly as you are to be on mission for Him,” Miller said. “Don’t be supergirl. Be the girl God has created you to be, trusting Him every step of the way.”