Yeah. So. People ask me all the time "what was it like working for The NET?"....
Solid question...super solid question.
Well lemme tell ya, y'all.
It ruined my life.
The NET truly ruined my life.
And I do not know how I'll ever be able to anything else....ha.
I have had the privilege of interning with The NET for almost a full year now, and let me tell you, I am not the same person that I was three hundred and sixty some days ago.
And I thank God for that.
Through working with The NET, I have come to understand my purpose in this life.
These past couple of months have been the most life changing and live giving months of my life.
Saying, “I am grateful” for The NET feels like the understatement of the century.
Here are the three “SparkNotes version” ways my life has radically changed:
1. I see life differently.
I now know this life is not about me. I was made by God for God. And my purpose in life is far greater than my own personal fulfillment, my peace of mind, or even my happiness. It’s far greater than my family, my career, or even my wildest dreams and ambitions.
Coming into college, I was living just for me. I was focused on what I wanted to be, what I should do with my life, what were my dreams for my future. It was all about me. And let me tell you friends, I had it all wrong. The NET has shown me, that focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life’s purpose. For, “it is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.” Before I knew God, my life made no sense and I felt like I was always searching for my purpose in this life. But now, I have found my purpose.
The NET has shown me that we are only fully alive when we’re helping others. The Bible talks about how if you insist on saving your life, you will lose it. Only those who give their lives to God will ever know what it means to truly live. There will be a day when I will stand before God and he will evaluate me on how well I served others with my life. One day, God will compare how much energy I spent on myself compared with what I invested in serving others. That is a sobering thought for me. My biggest fear in life would be to stand face to face with my maker and have him tell me that I missed the whole entire point of life because I was living just for me. So, I gave up livin' like that (or at least I'm everyday I'm trying to) and I cannot even begin to tell you the immense joy, freedom and peace that has resulted from no longer living this life just “for me”.
2. I see people differently.
The NET gives me the opportunity to become friends with people that society would not expect (or even recommend) me to become friends with. Some of my greatest friends are homeless, former prostitutes, incarcerated, former sex-offenders, veterans and little refuge kiddos from all across the map. These are my peeps. And I don’t see them according to the label that society has given them. To me, they are just my friends. In fact, they are more than just my friends -- they have become my family. As our NET fam always says, “there is no them, only us.” Despite the lie that society’s told us, we all have immense purpose, significance and value in this life. We are family -- God’s family -- God is our father and we are like His crazy “Brangelina” kind of diverse bunch of adopted kids.
And man do I see God in these people that we serve. I see God in those early coffee-filled Friday mornings at Bingo and Bagels when TCU students are taking selfies with our street friends who have become their new best friends. I feel God and his extravagant love when I pull up to Ladera Palms and my car gets swarmed with six little Nepali kiddos anxiously awaiting to attack me with a big ol’ bear hug. I feel God’s presence when John L. consistently prays for the “lost souls” and Kyle prays for “the people who look down on those on the streets” during Family Time every single week (without fail). My friends are amazing. They have some of the sweetest souls I have ever encountered. “Friendship is an opportunity to act on God’s behalf in the lives of people that we’re close to reminding each other of who God is.” And my friends at The NET have done that for me. And I cannot thank them enough for the way they bless me.
3. I see myself differently.
God paid a great price for me. I see that now. And The NET has made me realize that I want to use my whole self and whole life to honor God. I was saved to serve. I wasn’t saved by service but I was saved for service. I was healed to help others. I was blessed to be a blessing. God specially handmade me and equipped me with a unique set of gifts, talents, and opportunities to live out his purpose for my life. Jesus came “to serve” and “to give” -- and I want those two verbs to define my life on earth too. I am called to serve. You are too. Everyone is. Regardless of your job or career. “He saved us and called us to be his own people not because of what we have done, but because of his own purpose. Anytime we use our God-give abilities to help others, we are fulfilling our calling.”
The NET gives me the opportunity to meet and hangout with a bunch of volunteers, staff and friends that we serve. These people. Every single week, these people remind me of what it looks like to genuinely serve one another in love. These people remind me that this is what it looks like to truly live. The NET is my little glimpse of heaven on earth-- a bright light in a sometimes broken dark city.
Called to serve - Even though I suck.
God’s all over this place. All over Fort Worth. All over this world. Before I couldn’t see it. Now, I can’t miss it. Since working with The NET, I have given my life to God. Now, I live for him -- not me. Honestly, I am so so bad, imperfect, and unqualified at “living for him” but regardless he still uses me. That’s the funny thing about God. He loves to use the messed up ones. The unqualified, the inadequate, the broken, the sick, the rich, the poor and even the ordinary people. He lets ordinary people do extraordinary work. Ordinary college students like me. Despite my daily ugly sin, brokenness, selfish bad habits and inadequacies, he chose me. His love for me is so ridiculous. I know this because He has invited ordinary ol’ me to be a small part of the extraordinary work that He is doing in this city of Fort Worth. Through serving with The NET, my life has not only changed but it has been “made new”. Before I was dead, living just for myself. Now, I am alive, living for him. Even though most times I suck at genuinely following him and loving his people riiiiight, he still chose me. He still called me. He still said "I want that girl. And I want her to be apart of this. I want her to do this in the my city." God really does love me. He's letting be apart of something bigger than I even know. And I have never felt more grateful, blessed and alive.