- Leah Van Someren
Viva Las Vegas...I mean...World Race
Let's start with a story - a funny story.
I get so bogged down in spiritual seriousness; it's easy to forget God's humor.
I just got back from a full week in Vegas for work. Starting out my trip, I got a phone call from my boss asking if I can travel to another event in two weeks. Excited, I called my mom to tell her the news. Carrying a bag on each shoulder, I traipsed around the airport, making my way into the security line. Clearly struggling with tackling two activities at once, I hung up with my mom, just as my computer bag slipped off my shoulder. I yanked it back, huffed and finally stood still. Then, I heard a snicker coming from behind me. I turned to find a very tall gentleman covering his mouth and blushing in embarrassment.
"I think you dropped something..." he giggled, hand over mouth, eyes rolled to the ceiling.
Confused, I looked down and found the finale of my parade down the security line - I dropped a UNWRAPPED tampon inside its applicator. There it sat directly between my feet - like I hatched it or something! I quick swooped down, snatched it up and stuffed it in my pocket (because where else do you put embarrassing unmentionables?!). Mr. Man and I were uncontrollable, laughing so hard it hurt! I told him we were best friends and to keep this between us. He agreed and we went our separate ways only to find ourselves on the same train AND in the same Jamba Juice line. He was like the embarrassing piece of toilet paper on the bottom of my shoe that I couldn't get off! I eventually asked, "Where are you flying to?" He said "Philly". Thank our good Lord.
To my team: This is the kind of craziness you have to look forward to.
Let's continue with praise – an answer to prayer.
I get so bogged down in asks; it's easy to forget God's faithful answers.
When I got accepted to the Race back in October 2016, I was originally hoping to launch in January 2017. At the time, I was incredibly unhappy in my career working for Oracle as an Event Planner. Not that it's bad work, in fact, most would kill to have a job like that. But nevertheless, I wasn't content and therefore, wanted to escape. When I got accepted to the Race, they wanted me to seek spiritual counseling and told me I had a spot reserved on the August launch date, nine months after I'd hoped to leave. The thought of staying at my job devastated me. Again, not that I didn't like the people I worked with (quite the contrary) but I sure wasn't getting the fulfillment I desired. But after God made it clear His plan (read my ‘Why Race’ blog for that story), I adjusted my prayer.
“Lord, would you show me what it means to sit in discontentment? Would you change my heart toward discomfort and show me what I can learn here if I lean in?”
Guys, God listens to prayer! Just a couple weeks ago, I thought, ‘I might actually miss this.’ CRAZY! And not only have I had an inward shift toward my career, but its seeped into outward expression. So much so, that my boss praised my new attitude and complimented my work! I’ve learned inviting God into the discomfort, discontentment and mundane living, He can grow and teach you more than jumping from lily to lily with an unquenchable desire. Thank you, God.
Let's move on with a confession – airing dirty laundry.
I get so bogged down in pride; it's easy to forget God's sacrifice.
Like I mentioned, I just got back from Vegas for a work trip the last five days, entertaining 200 VIP clients from the auto industry (Ex. VP of Sales/Digital Marketing/etc. of Kia, Ford, GMC, etc.). We hosted in the Mandarin Oriental where they catered to our every need. We bought out Dream Racing where we drove Supercars and got to ride in racecars going 160mph around the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. We also hosted a private party at Topgolf and I got a one-on-one golf lesson from a pro. As a celebration of the event’s completion, my team went to the hottest nightclub in Vegas and got to go on stage with the world famous DJ, A-Trak. My job requires me to pay our vendors and venues. Excess to the max – one pint of Fiji water going for $5.95. You heard me right. I’m supposed to be living on $6.00 a day on the Race and I spent $400 on a dinner for two Monday night and $90k for Supercar entertainment.
And you know what? I liked it. Actually, I loved it. I want more of it. Why wouldn’t I? Wouldn’t you? Calling the shots, placing the orders, spending virtual money that flows through Larry Ellison’s bank accounts. Taking care of people through means much larger than my own. It’s addictive. Privilege is addictive. As a privileged population, we’ve been given the opportunity to eat, drink and make money (usually at the same time) but as Christians – as humans – we do NOT have the privilege of living a luxurious life in exchange for the reality of injustice, poverty, hunger and brokenness. That is a difficult truth. That just because you have the option to disengage with troubles, leaving them behind a veil of alcohol, money and excess, does NOT mean these troubles don’t exist. And that’s my realization.
This past week I thought, “Maybe I don’t want to give this up. I like this.“ But if, right now, I choose not to abandon my privileged life; if I choose to bag submitting to live in a tent in a foreign country committed to sharing the gospel’s healing power, love, grace and mercy, I would be choosing myself over God’s calling. I would be choosing myself and my desires and my own pride over human life.
“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.” – William Wilberforce, Quoted in Nefarious: Merchant of Souls
Let's end with a prayer – a plea for the Spirit.
I get so bogged down in fear; it's easy to forget God is here.
My prayers request: That God would faithfully and radically break my heart for his people. Not only outside the country, but in my own neighborhood; in our legal system, in our churches, in my own family. I pray for strength, courage and a righteous anger when confronting injustice. I pray for a soft, a Spirit-filled heart that is ready to listen. I pray for gumption to double down on God’s calling in my life and to go all in, submitting to His plans. His kingdom come, His will be done – let’s make Earth a bit more like Heaven. World Race here I come.