Keep Fighting.

It has been the HOTTEST minute since I’ve written on here. I haven’t had anything to talk about in a while, but I finally feel that the Lord is placing something on my heart, something worth saying.

My life right now is characterized by the fight. The fight for joy, the fight to be real, the fight to really love people. The fight to pour myself out in furthering the gospel and the fight in surrendering myself so the Lord can fill me back up (goodness, how many times can i say the word “fight”).

And yet, the fight has been good. It’s a struggle, but what a blessing that I get to struggle for the sake of the Gospel.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m also having the time of my life. I live with 5 of my best friends and we’re navigating having a home and really doing life together, in the messy and the hard and the fun and the glorious. I got my nose pierced. I painted my nails black for the first time. I go for long walks like everyday. this is adventure and this is fun and i love it!!

But y’all, I’m tired; like, really, really tired. Life looks so different now than it ever has before and I know I’m not the only one feeling it. I know that so many of my friends are right here with me. We’re leaders in a college ministry, we’re hosting community groups, we’re discipling people, or just generally pouring ourselves out spiritually. Or maybe we’re doing all of the above! We’re laboring side by side for the sake of the gospel. And y’all, we’re making it! We’re doing it! We’re really doing this thing! But it’s almost November and we’re exhausted. Or at least, it’s almost November and I‘m exhausted.

Fellow brother or sister in the faith, if you are in this place with me, I urge you to keep fighting.

Fight for joy, fight to stay in the Word, fight for daily time with the Lord in worship and in prayer. Don’t rob yourselves of joy and rest because you think spending time with Him won’t fill you up. Because it does and it will and God is good and He’ll remind you of that.

Something that really encouraged me came from my dear friend, Callie Sun. A couple days ago, I woke up weird. I didn’t feel excited about the day. I woke up and said, “yeah. none of the things on my agenda today are things i wanna do.” I texted callie and just told her that I felt down, my heart was heavy. and what she said was simple, but it’s gotten me through the day, and it’s gotten me through several days after. She said, “you have the next twelve hours.” It was simple, but it made me stop and think. I have the next twelve hours! And I don’t want to waste those! I can change the way my day is going, I can do the things, I can love the people. I have the next twelve hours.

When the days seem long, I’m going to remind myself of this. However many hours are left in the day, I have those! And there isn’t time to waste.

And finally, something else that’s been encouraging me is a quote from another friend of mine, Bob Goff (we’re not real life friends but i wish we were!!!). He said, “We don’t need to call everything ‘ministry.’ Just call it tuesday. That’s what people who are becoming Love do.” We don’t need to put a fancy title on living the way Jesus calls. We just need to love people. And I hope that encourages you. I’ve gotten bogged down in fancy christianese terms, like ministry. I’ve found myself saying “yeah, I’m just doing way more ministry than ever before, and it’s really tiring.” Well, Annika, then stop doing ministry! And just love people as Jesus called. You don’t need to put a fancy title on everything. Just love people. and if that’s by hosting a community group, or discipling people and meeting with them once a week to get in the Word, then that’s great! But I think that calling it ministry and linking that with my tiredness is making things worse; what I, Annika Bonnes, am called to do is love God and love people. As 1 tim 1: 5 says, “the aim of our charge is love that issues from a good conscience and a sincere faith.” That’s the goal: love, in good conscience, in sincere faith, for the sake of furthering Jesus. Love. Just go love people!

When you wake up and the day already feels too long, look at your next twelve hours and think “how can i love people, like really love them, in these next twelve hours I’ve been given?” and i think if we do that, we’ll be roughly right on track. It’s gonna get messy and hard and tiring, because showering those God’s given us in extravagant love and abounding grace is just like that sometimes. But it’s good.

So friends, let’s keep fighting and trying and making the most of our time. Let’s keep becoming love. Let’s keep being the hands and feet of Jesus. When we’re tired, let’s remember that we have (roughly) 12 hours left in the day. And we can love so many people in these next, precious, few hours. And also, when we’re tired, let’s shift our perspectives back to the basics: love God and love people. Those can be the only two things on our to-do list. We have the permission (for reference: John 13:34. Matthew 22:36-40, Mark 12:30-31, Luke 10:25-28. Jesus tells us in each of the 4 gospels to love God with our all, and out of that love for Him to love others. If Jesus tells me 4 times to do something, I think I’m gonna do it. Also, 1 John 4:21 is dope). Love God, love people. just love.

It’s a good fight; keep fighting.

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