A guest post from one of the Edgies, David Pugh from Asuza Pacific University
Arianna has told us multiple times that she had been praying for our team long before it came together. She has also assured us that God has each of us in Spain for a reason. However, that reason might only be known to God and may be different for each person. We may be here to change the life of someone we meet, or we may be here to be changed. The starting point for both, is first seeking and knowing God in Christ.
To help us as a community toward a deeper knowledge of Jesus, we meet twice a week in the morning for a couple hours of what we call conversations. We discuss this summer’s theme of “Who do you say that I am?” and individuals tell stories about their favorite “I am” statements. We also receive a lesson on a specific “I am” statement, the first 4 being taught by Noah Jenks.
He covered the Song of Songs and the implied statement of “I am the beloved’s.” He told the story of the young lover of Solomon and how her love for him was challenged when the true scope of his majesty was made known to her. She hesitated to follow him into the mountains, but learned that the dangers were nothing so long as he was by her side. At first, it was Solomon who spoke words of love to his “beloved”, assuring her of her beauty and worth. Once she came to see who her beloved really was, she began speaking words of love back to him. Noah invited us to pursue Christ, because he loves us deeply and intimately, and he is searching for voluntary lovers who will join him on the mountains.
In addition to this, Weyman Howard and his family have brought to us their process of LoveWorks. Every Monday evening we get together and Weyman teaches about love, as depicted in 1 Corinthians 13. We have also received a workbook for us to engage during the rest of the week, to help us practice receiving and giving God’s love. So far we have covered “patience” and “kindness”. The stories that Weyman tells of God’s faithfulness in these areas are powerful, and I’ve left those sessions encouraged and inspired. However, by the next day, my enthusiasm wanes, and I find myself reluctant to engage the workbook.
The past few days, my heart had been heavy, which was more disappointing considering how well our community has bonded. My natural inclination toward isolation and suspicion of others’ motives had resurfaced, and I’d begun distancing myself from the others. Yet, I couldn’t fully grasp the source of my depression.
This afternoon, back at our apartment, I had to charge my phone so I couldn’t listen to my music. I had to sit in silence. I got out the LoveWorks workbook and began my first lesson on kindness. After reading about God’s kindness toward Adam and Eve, even after their lethal failure, the book asked us to see if we doubt God’s kindness in our own lives. I had to admit to myself that I did doubt, and I tried to say thank you to God, but I didn’t feel the gratitude.
I fell asleep. In my dream I saw myself following around other members of our community, trying to participate in what they had been asked to do, and I kept insisting in my own worth because I felt it wasn’t acknowledged by the others. I awoke and realized that I had just been given a clear picture of the source of the heaviness in my heart: envy. I had been listening to stories of others in our community building relationships with locals and being inspired to create art, two of the most defined aspects of Edge Project, yet I had not truly done either. Because I am capable of both, I felt shame in myself, and envy for others.
But Arianna had made it clear that our experience may not look the same from person to person, and I must not deny others the work God is doing in them, nor should I deny the work he is doing in me. Realizing that my path is unique, and that this is the way God would have it, the weight was lifted and I felt a great peace. I saw God’s kindness for showing me the source so clearly, and I thanked him, this time sincerely.