No one experiences Urbana in the same way: the worship, the seminars, the speakers are all used by God to reach people differently. For some attendees Urbana 06 changed the vocational direction of their lives; for others, Urbana confirmed their career choice or pointed them towards a calling. For still others God confronted them at Urbana with aspects of their heart and actions that needed to change. That was the case for Amber, a second year graduate student at Northeastern Illinois University. This is what Amber has to say about her time at Urbana:
“My time at Urbana surprised and challenged me. Going in, I expected to be encouraged and to find some direction, possibly with my future, but instead I found myself confronted with the core about how I was living my life.
“What I realized is that I have been living selfishly and lazily. One thing that helped me see the selfishness in me was the conference’s focus on global issues. I realized that as an American, I live a rather insulated life, removed from the kinds of issues that less fortunate people have to deal with every day. Furthermore, I realized that I wasted a lot of time, money, and energy by not focusing on using what I had. I saw that I wasn’t being a good steward of any of the gifts or blessings God has given me.
“This led me to realize that I was downright lazy. I began to see how I would waste an hour or more every day just doing things that made me happy or that brought immediate satisfaction to me – like eating, watching movies, emailing, or shopping. I realized that usually I was “indulging” in these things also as an escape from what really needed to be done. My discipline had flown out the window.
“Also I recognized that my laziness and selfishness were not going to just go away without intentionality. At Urbana, we studied the book of Ephesians and I was challenged by what I read during that time. Paul talks about living in the power of the Holy Spirit and putting off the old nature. Somehow my old nature had crept into my life and had sprouted wings and fingers into my entire life this last semester. Perhaps it was because I was so busy that I failed to notice how ugly I was becoming inside. In any case, I became conscious that I was choking the line between myself and the Lord, cutting myself off from his power. Actually in many cases I was resisting his direction, and ultimately continuing to rely on myself for what needed to get done in my life.
“So I left Urbana having not found any direction for my life, nor getting the spiritual high I’d anticipated. Rather, it was a time of reflection and confrontation, something I needed. For me, now I need to continue acknowledging and depending on the Lord every day and persevering.
“This life is not my own, nor is this body, therefore I have no right to fill it up with things that only please myself. Instead, I have a duty to use it first to please the Lord.”
God uses Urbana in different ways for every person. For some it’s direction, for others it’s clarity, for still others it’s healing. For Amber, God used Urbana to reveal and change her attitude, her outlook, and her actions.