ICYouth: Red Balloons (Makenna)

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By Makenna Nahorniak

Following Jesus is like being on the brink. It’s wandering far beyond the boundaries you may have previously set.

In Luke 5, Jesus approaches a man named Simon at the lake of Gennesaret. Simon had been toiling tirelessly for hours on end waiting for fish to find their way into his nets. He had been unsuccessful until Jesus said, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

The words that leave Simon’s mouth next are startling. In verse 5, Simon answers Jesus by saying, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”

Simon, along with every other man aboard his quaint fishing boat, was astonished as they began to sink into the deep waters due to the lavish amounts of fish the Lord had supplied them with. They were overwhelmed, so they dropped their nets, left everything behind and without hesitation they embarked on a journey with Jesus.

Comfort is a chain, and it will hold us back if we let it; but we are able to go before the Lord and let Him release us from the grip of complacency. The mysteries of tomorrow that cloud our lives aren’t so obscure to Him. It’s like walking through a fog. The beauty of walking with the Lord is that He is firm and secure and we don’t need to understand every little thing- that’s not our job.

He does not change. He is all we’ve got. He is every chance, every opportunity, every breath.

Imagine you are 7 years old and you went to Red Robin. You got the shiniest red balloon in the whole world, and it is really something special. You get out of the car and realize that you have to constantly hold on to it or it will escape. So you grip it because you need to have control over it. This balloon must be yours. Forever and always, it must be in your hand.

Imagine that you’ve been gripping this beautiful red balloon as hard as you can but now you’re struggling. Your grip is tight, your fingers are weary and at moments, that red balloon doesn’t even feel worth it anymore; but you are strong and you are in control, so you grip the string and hang on tight.

Then your loving father realizes what you are doing. The effort you’re putting forth to keep this red balloon in your sight is far too much for a little child to handle. He knows this is causing you anguish and it is too much for you. BUT you love this balloon, remember?

Daddy says, “Trust me.”
You say, “I know best.”
Daddy says,“Child, do you want to be free?”
You say, “Yes, daddy, freedom sounds like rest.”

So you feel your father’s fingers wrap around yours and ever so gently, he removes every finger from that delicate balloon string. Before you know it that beautiful, shiny, red balloon is floating through the air. Your father was right — it looks far prettier up there. Best of all you can stretch out those weary fingers. You don’t hurt anymore and your balloon looks so beautiful as it soars among the clouds. You can breath again. You have let go. You are free.

As believers, it is so important that we’re willing to let go of every red balloon in our lives. Jesus didn’t come so that we may live comfortably, securely and ordinarily. He says invites us into the deep. Let us follow Him out there and into the magnificent.

Makenna Nahorniak is a senior at Christian Life School. She enjoys leading worship, singing, reading, writing and using her words to encourage others’ hearts. 

ICYouth: Fear Not, Little Flock (Makenna)

Thank you for your generosity to our one-fund, Accelerate. Because of your generosity, we are able to share stories of how God is changing lives! Every Friday, one of our student bloggers shares how God is working in his or her life. Leave some encouragement by commenting?

By Makenna Nahorniak

I’ve come to the conclusion that each human being has dreams, hopes and most of all- fears. We house these anxieties in our hearts, and as they build up, we forget the truth that is consistently woven throughout the Word of God:

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear…” (1 John 4:18).

I have the heart of a dreamer, this is certain. When I was little, I filled notebooks to the brim with plans of becoming an entrepreneur, a best-selling author and a world-class ballerina all at once. I would read and write all day long, and celebrate the end of the day by dancing to the Lizzie McGuire soundtrack on my walkman while wearing my favorite sequined jumpsuit. Somewhere along the way, as I conjured up my childlike plans, I realized that the world we currently live in teaches that fear wins. This is exceedingly wrong.

We so often allow our phobias of failure, mediocrity and collapse to dictate the way we live our lives. While we may understand that the Lord is leading us to move outside of our comfort zones, we are held back by the voice that whispers, “You won’t make it…You’re not capable… You’re wasting your time.” As I sit quietly in a room filled with people and write about the way we allow fear to control the way that we live, I find myself in awe of the way that God’s people might tremble before anything aside from Him. He builds dreams deep within our souls that we might honor Him and carry His name wherever He leads, yet it can be so effortless to ignore the passions that the Lord has written on our hearts because we’re stunted by the thought of moving beyond the walls of our everyday contexts.

Fear Not Little Flock 10.17.14I can’t help but think of the crisis’ that this world is dealing with- this Earth that the Lord brought about by the work of His hands and breath of life. The brokenness of this world seems to offer us so many reasons to fear, but God changes things. He makes the unapproachable situations worth it; He casts out all fear.

Jesus replaces our immeasurable inadequacies with His unbelievable sufficiency. We must return to the truth that we have in Him. We must not be so afraid to make movements toward the wildly unusual, powerful plans that He has for us.

Love doesn’t play it safe. Love is less about comfort than it is about adventure. When we stand before giant barriers and seemingly untamable obstacles, the Lord walks before us and says, “Fear not.”

When we are able to come to the realization that life everlasting spent in the presence of His splendor is the greatest treasure, this life all of a sudden becomes an extravagant phenomenon – a prelude to eternity – a story of redemption and the impossible – the triumphant song of a God who has been and always will be. He will forever sit on the throne, therefore, we are free to move and live boldly. He has paid far too great a price for His people to be held back by fear. He has come to set us free; so let’s decide to thrive on His freedom.

Jesus says in Luke 12:32, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” We must display His love continually, lay our fears behind us regularly and chase His dreams for us with everything we have. It’s time to tap into the journey that the Lord has set before each of us and simply say ‘yes.’

Makenna Nahorniak is a senior at Christian Life School. She enjoys leading worship, singing, reading, writing and using her words to encourage others’ hearts.