September 11, 2001. I was a self-centered junior in high school frantically trying to recreate the earth I made for art class but lost. After destroying my locker to no avail, I came back to art class with a new piece of black construction paper, pastels, and a picture of the earth to recreate.

Over the intercom speakers, our beloved teacher announced that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. I had no idea what that meant. I didn’t really care either. I was desperately trying to finish this project that I thought was completed. Where’s the World Trade Center anyways…

My next class was Spanish. I never took Spanish seriously, so I took my art project into Spanish with the intent to finish it. The last thing this busy teenager needed was art homework. But then, my teacher didn’t teach. She sat in silence. Why was everyone acting so weird? While this was perfect for my agenda- back to that earth… it was weird. Then she showed us the footage. Another plane had flown into the other tower and one into the Pentagon. My heart sank as I read the messages going across the screen. America was under attack.

Suddenly that earth I was so frantically trying to complete didn’t matter too much. I lost my “world” literally and now figuratively as well. As a self-centered teenager this imagery was locked into my brain. The worries I had in this world were now so trivial in comparison to the realities of this world.

This wouldn’t be the last time that my world would come crashing down, but it was probably the first, and only, time I admitted it so freely.

The life I thought I knew was changed forever.

The things I once held dear, I let go of easily.

It was easy for me to do. I didn’t really have a choice. I had no voice in the matter. I had no control. All I could do was sit, watch, and thank God that people stepped up to protect those who needed it.

But somewhere along the way… I forgot… I forgot the feeling of helplessness. I forgot the feeling of fear. I forgot how neat it was to see our country unify, stand in pride, and declare our love for one another. I forgot the unity that followed. I forgot the feeling of pride in my country and of my friends who decided to step up and join the military. I forgot the red, white, and blue that I proudly wore as often as I could… It was awesome… until it wasn’t… Soon all I would see in America became diluted with political agendas. Somewhere along the way I started thinking my opinion mattered more than it did. I started thinking I had some control.

Sometimes I forget God too. I get so busy trying to do my life, that I just expect Him to bless off on my will. Thus, I forget to submit while trying to hold onto the world I created for myself. I put myself on a pedestal, so that I need to be knocked down…

I forget that I was created to bring Glory to God. In all that I do… not just on Sundays…

I forget that I was made in His image… and so were my brothers and sisters… even those who don’t look like me or talk like me or think like me…

I forget that my purpose in this life is to show others the love of Jesus and make disciples of all nations.

I forget that unity is needed within the church to bring Christians together in brotherly love with Christ as the King.

I’m learning slowly that being a Christian means surrendering. I wish I did this easier sometimes. But Christians, we must surrender our will to His. We must unite as brothers and sisters in Christ and seek the lost to glorify the Lord in all that we do. It’s not a suggestion. It’s a biblical command-Disciples, you must take up your cross and follow Him.  

Matthew 16:24, “Then Jesus told his disciples, `If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”