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26 things I learned on the World Race

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Too many of us grow up, go to college, and then, wanting to pay off school debts immediately get locked into a career merry-go-round. Next thing you know, we’re 50 and waking up with a spiritual hangover, asking, “What happened?” Julie Lortz was headed to medical school, but went on the Wo…
By Seth Barnes

Too many of us grow up, go to college, and then, wanting to pay off school debts immediately get locked into a career merry-go-round. Next thing you know, we’re 50 and waking up with a spiritual hangover, asking, “What happened?”

phil hugJulie
Lortz
was headed to medical
school, but went on the World Race instead.  She followed a
nudge inside
that whispered, “There’s more for you in life. Go learn about this
big,
wide world and where you fit in it.”

What she learned during that year changed everything about the way
she lives. She lists some of the lessons here:

How
do you measure a year in the life? I have
attempted to share what I have learned this year. I hope this sparks something in you. Perhaps you have already learned this, perhaps
God is teaching you now, maybe it won’t make sense until you experience
it yourself.

[AUTHORITY]
– We are sons and daughters of Christ and as such we have an authority
that can move things; break strongholds, bring freedom, build things.
We rarely take hold of the fullness of this authority. But when we do,
we realize the power in Christ. (Luke 10:19)

[PRAYER]
– God chooses to work through us. In a sense, He limits Himself to us.
He listens to our prayers. He cares what we say. He has given us the
power to unlock things and break strongholds through our prayers. We
have to understand the power of our prayers and know that each of us is
called to pray. (James 5:16, 1 Peter 3:12, 1 Timothy 2). And I have
become a huge believer of praying the Word. I never really did that
before. But speaking the Word and then praying it to God is powerful.
And it is perfect, what better and easier to pray, than His Word.

[CONFRONTATION]
– As much as I hate to admit it, the Lord is right when He tells us to
work things out with one another. I do not like confrontation. It makes
me uncomfortable, but I have learned that it usually makes things
better and strengthens a relationship. It brings clarity to the things
that are running through your head. You can’t expect a person to
change, if they don’t know how they are hurting you. Honesty is key.
But I also know not to go to someone about every little thing. And I do
not approach someone without first taking it to God.

[TRUTH]
– Truth and honesty are the only way to operate. I have to continually
speak God’s truth over myself – what He says about me in His word and
what He has spoken to me.

[COMMUNITY]
– We are made for community. It is foundational to how God created us
to live. I am not just talking about eating, living and sleeping
together. I am talking about the kind of community that sharpens us,
draws out the God inside us, pushes us, and accomplishes much for the
Kingdom. I have realized the importance of these type of relationships.
I have even become desperate for community as I now know it. I have to
have people around me keeping me accountable and calling out the God
inside of me.

[CHURCH]
– Church is not a building or a place. Church is a body. Never have I
seen church the way I have this year. It is a lot of the community I
talk of above. It is simply sharing what Christ is doing in your life
with others, being vulnerable and open, being available to others.
Church is not a cultural hiding game, pretending we are perfect. It is
not a social club. It is not two hours on Sunday morning. It is not one
person doing everything, while the rest sit idle, it is a collective
movement towards God. Church is life as we were created to live.

[MINISTRY]
– It is not always what you think or expect. And it absolutely doesn’t
mean having the title of a full-time missionary. It is about being
kingdom-minded/aware and Christ-centered. Missions is not and event or
a trip, it is a lifestyle. We are to build His Kingdom everywhere. And
that doesn’t always mean by preaching. Most often it just means living
and breathing with a consciousness of what God is doing. It is always
asking the questions: “God, what are you doing in this place or in
these lives? And how do I fit into that?” Obedient in the moment.

[LEADERSHIP]
– You have to give people 2 things before they will follow you: 1)You
must show them you are trustworthy and qualified, 2) You must give them
a reason to follow you. Unfortunately a higher title/position does not
guarantee that people will follow you.

[LOVE]
– If it is not compelled by love, then you need to ask God to get you
to that place. Things lose meaning when they are not compelled by love.
We need love, in fact we are desperate for it, and we must give love.
If we have loved well….that is what will bring satisfaction in the end.
Love changes.

[GRACE]
– Grace is the cornerstone of who Christ is. When we learn to see each
other with Christ’s eyes – each made in the image of Christ and each a
child of Christ, – and when we grasp at the smallest level the grace
that God gives to us, then we will know grace, and be in a place to
give and receive it.

[WARFARE]
– We are spiritual beings. There is no question of that. We absolutely
have an enemy whose every desire is to destroy us by removing our focus
from God and lying to us about who God says we are (our true identity).
We have to fight back and our weapons are not carnal, but they are
prayer, worship, truth, the Word and community. That is what we must
fight with and for. And at the same time, I can’t focus on warfare. I
must watch for the enemy, but my focus must be worship. Love worship,
not warfare, but when necessary, go to war.

[PERSPECTIVE] – Everything we do is at some level based on our
perspective. We have to determine what perspective we want to live from.

[AMERICA]
– I absolutely love America. Yes, we don’t get everything right. Yes, I
can’t stand it at times and wish to escape to another place. Yes, I get
frustrated with our priorities. But, truthfully, I love it and I know
that we have been given much. I love that we have washers and dryers. I
love that we have showers. I love that we have freedom. I love that
there is toilet paper in every bathroom. America is truly a great
place! I am grateful and proud to call it my country.

[FAMILY]
– Everywhere I have gone this year, I have seen heartbreaking
circumstances. And every time I look for the root, I see that people
1)Don’t have Christ and 2)Have incredibly dysfunctional families (which
stems from number 1). Family is the most important thing. If we don’t
value those intimate and unique relationships that God has given us
then things get messed up. And I do believe that every family has it’s
problems at some level. I know longer believe in normal. But there our
children being sold by their parents. There our children who have never
received a hug from their parents. There are children that are growing
up without parents because AIDS and lack of responsibility. There are
parents who raise their little boys as girls. There are parents who
choose alcohol or drugs or money over their children. These may not be
our primary problems in America, but we do choose careers over our
children. We do teach them status. Divorce is happening everywhere. And
our homes our falling apart. We have to learn to value the sacredness
or the family and the importance of parenting.
We have to invest in our children if we want to see the changes in the
next generation that we desperately need. And Fathers have such a
crucial role in this all. Fathers must be leaders. They must speak
value and love into their children. We’ve got to get this family thing
right.

[WORDS]
– I never realized the importance of my words before this year. I
sought to choose them carefully, so not to hurt those around me with
harsh words. But I did not understand the spiritual importance and
influence that my words have. As sons or daughters of Christ, we have
been given authority. So when we declare something; when we say yes/no
to something, the spiritual realm also says yes/no to that thing.
(Proverbs 18:21, Matt 16:19)

[SPIRITUAL ATMOSPHERE]
– There is absolutely a spiritual atmosphere or climate, so to speak.
As I have been in different countries I have experienced this. The
enemy always lies, but he does not always use the same lies to deceive
or distract. In some places there was a spirit of oppression, some
places a spirit of lust, some places a spirit of lethargy, some places
a spirit of evilness, some places a spirit of complacency. Everywhere
is different. I have learned to ask God what I need to be prepared for
as I go into a place. When I am not aware and when I don’t pray through
it, those things begin to affect me and latch on to me. It is so
important to be aware of what is going on in a certain area.

[MIRACLES]
– God is a still God of miracles. He worked supernaturally this year –
that is His character. He heals people. He desires healing and
wholeness for all – spiritually, emotionally and physically. We have to
be open to that, persistent and believe that He is still miraculous. In
small things too, that don’t seem to matter that much to the Kingdom.
But if it matters to us, it matters to Him.

[LISTENING]
– God is a God who speaks (John 10:27). Just like any relationship,
mine with God is not to be a monologue of constant requests. He longs
to speak to me, as well. I’m not sure how much I realized this before
this year. Think of your relationships with your best friends – that is
the relationship that God longs for with each of us. But just like any
relationship, it takes time, intention, and effort to learn how to discern
and hear God’s voice. And He is not limited to speaking through the
Bible, though He uses that often; He speaks through His Spirit inside
of me, people, and situations. The important thing though is to always
test what you perceive Him to be saying against scripture and other
believers.

[HIDING]
– I have realized that I am unfortunately pretty good at this. But I
have learned that if I attempt to hide from, or avoid, potential hurt,
pain, rejection, difficulty, then I will inevitably miss out on the
good things. I will miss out on incredible relationships, love, and
beauty. Those are things I am not willing to miss. That is not living.

[AWARE]
– Life is about living fully aware of and available to where and how
God is moving, and how you can be a part of that. Living that way will
turn life into an adventure with God anywhere you are, regardless of
what you are doing. You do not have to be traveling around the world to
be on an adventure with God. It is just about being available and
obedient to what God is doing in your sphere of influence. And you
always have influence in the spiritual realm.

[PEOPLE]
– People everywhere have the same deep longings and basic needs. That
is seen as you enter different cultures all over the world. But on the
surface, in the words of Jane Kim, “People are different.” That is what
you will learn living with 26 people day in and day out.

[PERSISTENCE]
– I am still learning to be persistent in life and in prayer. God calls
us to be persistent and life demands that of me. Yes, it is difficult
and I will fall. But what a tragedy to stop when I am just short of
spiritual breakthrough, an answered prayer, or reaching a dream. We
must persevere in trusting God’s faithfulness.

[IDENTITY]
– I am still learning to live from the identity that God gives me –
daughter of the King, the bride of Christ – my true identity. It is a
tension that I often find myself caught in – that I am not enough. I
know more of who I am now, but I don’t always find myself living from
that place. This is still in process and it may always be.

[HOLY SPIRIT]
– The Holy Spirit is innate to the life of a Christ-follower. This part
of the trinity is often ignored, thus causing us to live a faith based
on religion rather on the movement of God. I think I was somewhat numb
to this prior to this past year. The Holy Spirit is alive and present
and inside each one of us. The Holy Spirit directs, convicts and brings
forth life in power and healing. Life without the Spirit can be dead –
I can’t neglect this part of Christ.

[ME and GOD] – This one probably sounds ridiculous. But one day it
just hit me – God is inside of me, literally, inside of ME! I have to
continually profess that over myself, but it is truth.

[GOD ACTIVITIES]
– I don’t really know what to call this. But one day I was doing things
for our ministry – running errands, taking care of things, etc. And God
spoke simply and clearly to me. He said these are good things, but when
they take precedence over me, they are no longer good. He’s got to be
number one. He is jealous over you and your time.

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