I began thinking about what I wanted my summer to look like earlier this school year. I knew I wanted to be able to experience rest, professional development, and spiritual growth. But as a sophomore in undergrad, I had no idea what those things truly meant, and I didn’t have high hopes of being able to experience all of them together.
As I researched Edify, I realized this internship had everything I wanted. A few weeks later, I was offered a role and accepted after weeks of prayer. Working with Edify was completely outside my comfort zone, but I was excited to see how the Lord would work. Early on in my sophomore year, the Lord put this verse on my heart: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls,” Matthew 11:29 (ESV).
How the Lord Came Alongside
Throughout life, I have not known what true rest looks like – I have constantly run around, trying to fit many things into my schedule. This summer, I yearned to understand the true meaning of rest and reliance on the Lord.
Through this internship, I felt completely out of my comfort zone and was attempting work I had never done professionally. But each time I hopped on a call, I was not met with strict instructions on what to do. Rather, I was consistently met with prayer, laughter, and positive affirmation that I was where I needed to be and the Lord was going to work. The Lord worked to form relationships amidst virtual interactions and opened my eyes to what a healthy work environment can look like.
I always learned more about the Lord’s character through all the people I worked with. What stuck out the most is the emphasis on being “gentle and lowly.” I have a large personality and love being upbeat, goofy, and crazy around people.
The Lord taught me that being gentle and lowly isn’t about changing your personality to calm and peaceful but changing your approach. This summer, I was challenged to pick up a book and dive back into reading. What I read ultimately helped paint the picture of what it means to be gentle and lowly.
The Book That Helped Me Understand
Edify’s interns were invited into a summer-long study on the book Generous Justice. I learned so many valuable lessons through this book, but perhaps the biggest thing I learned is the importance of relationships. As I mentioned, I am known to be wide open and crazy, and I often fill my days with things to do. This book taught me that a constantly packed schedule does not allow anyone to be fully open to relationships or the Lord’s plan.
At the beginning of Generous Justice, Timothy Keller addresses what it means to truly live a life bearing the yoke of the Lord. Suddenly, the idea of being gentle and lowly clicked for me. It is not about dimming my personality but rather the craziness of life that I put on my plate. God does not call us to be filled to the brim with activities to do each day, but rather to rest in peace with Him and leave our days open for Him.
For me, I often like to fill my life with a strict schedule as a way to stay organized. Keller pointed out that we, as Christians, should be pieces of thread in the fabric that is the Kingdom of the Lord. We should be interwoven into our society – ready to be moved, folded, and bent in ways we do not plan ourselves. To be people ready to change based on the needs around us. This is the true definition of being gentle and lowly. Being willing to change and put others before me because of Christ within me.
As I look to my next years in undergrad, I am thankful for the opportunities I had this past summer to slow down, rest, and learn. The amount of spiritual and professional growth I experienced exceeded my expectations, and the ways that the Lord showed up and taught me His character have blown me away. Practically speaking, I hope this next year of life looks less like running around crazily and more like having a gentle life, putting others first, and, most importantly, putting the Lord first.