A Word from the SOS Academy: Ellyn Gluntz
As I enter into this New Year I am reminded of how faithful and near He has been to me. Each year, instead of a New Year’s Resolution that might only last a month, I like to pick a word to focus on for the next twelve months in hopes that I would grow closer to Jesus and become more of the Christ follower he wants me to be. In 2016, after much thought and prayer, I chose the word 'intentional'. Little did I know how God would begin to use that word to stretch me and teach me so much about how to live and love fully in every aspect of my life. He taught me how to engage in hard conversations when I just wanted to sit and relax, he taught me how to ask difficult questions, and he taught me how to walk with people through their joy and their pain. Being intentional is not just about doing something, but taking a step further to being fully engaged in the here and now. As I look back on the past few months of living in Memphis, I have come to realize how this particular word has helped to build and guide my relationships with each and every person I have met. Through being intentional, I have learned how to relate with and glean from the experience and wisdom that others around me have gained. It has exhausted me and revived me at the same time.
Reflecting back on my experiences, a particular day working at the clinic reminds me of God’s vision for me and intentions in my life as I helped a woman who has become a close friend through pregnancy, emergency C-section, and now cancer of the lungs and brain. Coming for her mother’s appointment, I had the opportunity to sit with her in the waiting room and help her find resources, as well as share God’s saving grace and wisdom with her. Inviting her to church and breakfast with me, our professional interaction fostered a deep, intentional, God-founded friendship, which has been life changing for me as I watch her strength and faith hold firm through trying times and have been able to walk with her towards the light as she battles chemo while caring for her two children.
Personal fulfillment by helping patients, sons and daughters of Christ, and fellow humans has opened my eyes towards God’s plan for my life, far different from what I have always imagined for myself. I think many times we strive for and settle in a rut, either in our personal relationships, work tasks, or spiritual journey that creates a sense of comfort and complacency. I have come to realize that this, for me, is a state of passiveness, and that God’s plan is not complacency, but rejuvenation, exposing me to new, trying, uncomfortable situations that test my faith and ultimately help me grow as a person and a follower of Christ.
As I began thinking about a word to apply to 2017, I quickly decided on 'confidence' with the idea that I needed to improve my confidence in the Lord and what I do to serve him. However, in the few days leading up to the New Year, God kept bringing up a different word through scripture reading and conversations with others. I was reluctant to listen and accept this new word because I was scared of how he would challenge and change me through the application of it to my life. But God made it so clear that to run from it would be rejecting His best for me. So the word that God has chosen for me is 'bold'. I am scared, but more than that, I am excited to see how he uses me this year to boldly proclaim his name in a loving and gracious way that causes people to seriously question whether they are on the straight and narrow path that leads to everlasting life or the wide path that leads to destruction. I pray that I am like Paul who, while he was imprisoned for his boldness, was desperately asking God to grant him even more boldness to spread the Gospel and bring life and light to the darkness.
In the last two weeks, I have already seen God challenge me to be bold in my faith and it has definitely been a struggle, at times, to obey that calling. But the fruit and changed hearts that comes from obedience to his word is beautiful and well worth rejoicing over. Because, that is what we as Christians are called to—passionately proclaim his glory, power, and salvation.