Good morning from Managua, Nicaragua!
After a great time in the U.S. and at the Catalyst Conference, we are back in Nicaragua. As has been true in the past, Catalyst was a great time and gave me a lot to consider. The theme of this year’s conference was “Known”. This word can mean a lot of things, but at its root it refers to the idea being understood for who you truly are, not just who you project to the world around you. Over the course of the conference, many people spoke about how being known impacts our daily lives on many levels. While I am still processing much of what I heard, one point sticks out in my mind – God made me the person I am for a reason so I should live accordingly.
Over the course of my life, there has been many times where I have found myself trying to be someone else for various reasons. Whether it was trying to be accepted in school, or trying to fit the mold of a successful person at work, or trying to project a certain type of image to people in the Christian circles in which I walk, I have definitely “faked it” a time or two in life. One of the speakers who really spoke to me at Catalyst was LeCrae Moore. If you are not familiar with LeCrae, he is a hip-hop artist, actor and businessman among other things. Over the course of his talk, LeCrae talked about a time in his life when he struggled with feeling like he had to choose between having a significant life and being the person God created to him to be. In trying to understand why this would be the case, LeCrae came across the story of Daniel in the Bible. In reading through Daniel’s story and his decision to work as an adviser to the King of Babylon despite the fact that it was a “secular” job, LeCrae realized that he was creating a false split between the scared and the secular. He came to understand that he can best live out God’s calling in his life by being true to himself.
This is something I am slowly beginning to understand in my life as well. God has created us all a certain way for a reason and wants us to be “known” as the person he created. For some people this means becoming a pastor or a lifelong missionary. For others it means entering the business world or pursuing a God-given passion. Whatever it is, we are called to be the best version of ourselves, which is the version the Creator of the Universe had in mind when he put us together. This can be challenging at times as it does come with certain risks, but I believe we will be better for it, and so will the world. In fact, I am not the only one who believes that. Another speaker at Catalyst, Cory Booker, shared a quote from Abraham Lincoln that I found really interesting – “Everyone was born an original, but most die copies”. I believe President Lincoln was saying it is the originals that make a difference in this world. Be an original today, the world needs it.
– James Belt