Leave the 99
Updated: Aug 31, 2019
March 19, 2018
If you are a young adult, recent college graduate, or are just in a season of life where you need some encouragement...then I have a post for you.
The single most dreaded question in my life as a post-grad is: "Oh, so what are you doing now?"
My answer, with a chuckle and self-deprecating shrug, is: "Well, it's kind of a funny story."
I graduated from the University of North Texas in May of 2017 (Caw-cawwww). Just like any typical about-to-be graduate-twenty-something, I had this very clear image of what I thought my life should look like post-graduation. I assumed that I had to graduate, get a 9-5, be self sufficient, maybe get a dog, meet someone, fall in love, have a Pinterest wedding, and live happily ever after. We think this way because that is what the world says to do, right? I know that if you are in the same boat as me, you can't scroll through Facebook without seeing someone getting engaged, married, having babies, or just being super successful in their career paths.
I graduated, had a full-time job, was making money, and I very quickly discovered that I was going down a path of Kayce-placed doors that would be slammed shut in my face, every. single. time. I wasn't trying to open the doors that God placed for me. Throughout my journey on my well beaten path, I soon discovered depression. Depression brought on by my assumptions of how I was supposed to be living my life. Depression brought on by feelings of worthlessness, loneliness, and chasing after things that did not fill the void in my heart. I started spiraling into this sad, dark place that I could be pulled out of by one thing, and one thing alone: Jesus.
You see, I had this idea in my head because culture and the world told me how I should be living my life. I grew up thinking paving a path for myself that ultimately, would disappoint me. Throughout the next 8 months, I went through a whirlwind of emotions. It took a lot of perseverance, acceptance, some great friends, and the reckless love of God for me to finally snap out of my mind.
I went into the Lent season wanting to be a lot more intentional in my prayer life, quiet time, and just chase after Jesus with all of my heart. I was raised in a Christian home and I have known the Lord for a very long time. The difference is, I wasn't actively pursuing a relationship with Him. I would have highs and lows with my walk with God. In college, I attended Overflow with the local baptist church and I loved every moment of it. I was involved with college YoungLife and even was a leader for a little while-I also loved every moment of that. But, when the going got tough, Kayce got going. I wouldn't run to Jesus when times were difficult, I would run to the first thing that could bring me instant gratification.
Throughout this season of being more intentional, I was able to quiet my mind and focus on what Jesus was trying to tell me. He spoke to me so quietly and sweetly, and I was able to just relax and let God take the reigns in my life. It is truly amazing what can happen in your life when you just sit back and tell Jesus, "Thy will be done."
We experience closed doors in our lives all of the time. The kicker is that we have two choices: We can let it get the best of us, or we can wait for God to open the next one. Have you ever heard the saying, "While you're waiting for God to open the next door, praise Him in the hallway"? That is what I chose to do, praise God in the hallway. I think that one of the best ways to truly experience Jesus is to walk through the valleys with Him. People always say that God never leaves us and that He is leading us, but I think that Jesus is holding my hand and walking with me throughout the valleys, mountain tops, and everything in-between.
The beautiful thing about Jesus is He will always search for you. No matter how far you wander, how fast you run, how much you deny Him; Jesus will always search more, run faster, and choose you. No matter what. Throughout my season of depression, God was able to strengthen me and bring me back to Him. I'm not saying that it was easy by any means, but He equipped me to deal with those waves and now I can stand on the shore and look back at the ocean and know that He never left me. Sometimes, God leads us through the storms so we can look to Him as our lighthouse. It's about trusting and leaning on Jesus to guide you home.
I encourage you to listen to the song "Reckless Love" by Cory Asbury. That song speaks volumes to me because it is so true.
"Oh, the over-whelming never ending reckless love of God Oh, it chases me down fights 'til I'm found leaves the 99 And I couldn't earn it, I don't deserve it, still You give yourself away Oh, the over-whelming, never ending, reckless love of God."
When I read through those lyrics, I just have to stop myself and praise the Lord. When I was hating myself, my situation, cursing God for "leading" me down these paths I paved myself; He never left me. We are so undeserving of His love, yet He still gives it away.
"Theres no shadow you won't light up Mountain you won't climb up
Coming after me
There's no wall you won't kick down
Lie you won't tear down
Coming after me."
No matter how far you run, He will always be beside you. When you are truly open and trusting to what God has planned for you, I promise, you will be amazed. God is bigger than all of your worries, insecurities, self-doubt, addictions, and depression. Let Him guide you and take you through life.
Let Jesus chase you, let Him lead you, let Him carry you, let Him leave the 99 to pick you up.
"In his heart, a man plans his ways but the Lord determines the steps." -Proverbs 16:9