Shwoo. The Holy Spirit is turning me upside down these days. I have so much rolling around in my head, and very little that I can actually put words to. Between reading the gospels and reading Radical (and I'm only in chapter 4!), God is doing quite a work in my heart. I love it when He does that, but I also find it incredibly uncomfortable. I was joking (sort of) with my friend, Meredith, the other day, and told her that, for me, at this moment in my life, the Holy Spirit isn't so much the Comforter as the DIS-Comforter. :)
I am discontent, y'all. And for once, I don't think it's a bad thing. I'm so tired of claiming to follow Christ but doing very little to be a DISCIPLE. It is so easy to complacently live this life and watch others do what you should be doing or to throw money at this or that, while you sit back and watch. It's easy to say, vaguely, that one should feed the hungry, help the poor, visit the sick, serve those in need, care for the widows, rescue the orphans, and then continue living daily as you normally have all along. All the while praying that God will "open doors" and give you "opportunities" to serve. To say things like he hasn't "called" me to this or that, leaving the "mission work" up to those whom God has "gifted" or "called" to that work.
And please. I'm not writing this so y'all will say, "Oh, but Patrice, look what you're doing for Anton." I know that God laid that on my heart and kicked my butt a little. It's important and I'm so thankful he's allowed me to help in the way that I am. But honestly, y'all are doing more than I am. I am happy to facilitate things, but it's requiring very little "dying to self" to serve in this way. But again, I'm thankful. :)
And I know we all have different responsibilities depending on where we are in life. Obviously, a primary responsibility of parents, especially parents of younger children, is to raise your kids to know and love Christ. So all of us are being used in that way. But. BUT, is that ALL He calls us to do? If we keep waiting for a day when our lives are "easier" or things are more "stable" or we have more resources to do this or that, we're just going to go through life riding that fence of mediocrity. I think God calls us to so much more. Because I don't know if you've heard, but our lives are a vapor. We may never get "there," to whatever place it is we think we need to be before we start living uncomfortably, taking up our cross, and DAILY dying to self.
The one thing that Radical has pointed out to me (which is stupid because obviously it's like "DUH! That's what Jesus says") is that we aren't meant to be comfortable. Somehow, somewhere along the way, being humans (and especially Americans), we've decided that the purpose of our life is to get to a more comfortable, easy place. "Once my kids get older, things will be so much easier. We can go out to eat again or to the movies. We can have a life again." Or "Once we've worked x number of years, we'll retire and move to the beach." Or "Once our debt is paid off, we can use our money for this or that." Now I don't think it's wrong to look forward to our kids growing up or to retirement or certainly not to paying off our debt. But WHY are we looking forward to it? Is it because we are just living for things to get "easier" or "more comfortable"? And more importantly, is it holding us back from what we're called to do RIGHT NOW, in this very moment? The truth is, we might die before the kids age one more day or the debts get paid. And what will we have to show for our lives? We are made to 1) glorify our Lord and 2) to spread the gospel. I often wonder if my life (I mean the life that you don't see... the inside my walls, blinds shut, private life) is truly glorifying God, praising Him like He deserves, making Him pleased. And even more, I think, how many people have I shared the Good News with? How can I keep quiet when I've been set free? How can I keep that for myself?
People all around us are starving to death.
They can't pay their bills.
They don't have any way to go to the doctor.
They are living in the streets.
They're sad and broken hearted.
They look happy and put on a good face but are dying on the inside.
They don't have parents or a family to call their own.
They are so discouraged they don't think life is worth living.
They have suffered a tragic loss and everyone else has moved on.
They're completely empty inside.
They don't know Jesus.
Their lives are a vapor. Our lives are a vapor. We're running out of time.
Is my life meant to be lived comfortably? Am I here only to raise my kids, love my husband, and make it to retirement? Is the dream I'm living the American Dream or Jesus' dream for me?
WHAT IN GOD'S NAME AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?
Matt and I are praying for 40 days about some big decisions in our life as we examine our purpose and what God is asking of us. (Obviously we won't stop praying after 40 days, but you get the point.) Our 40th day will be May 10th. I would love it, if you are in the same spot of reexamination and decision (or even if you're not) if you would join us. It's not about praying for "opportunities" but more about being still, knowing that God is big enough to provide and do a work through us that we don't feel like we can do ourselves, and discerning how He wants to use each of us. True, we are not all called to the same things, but WE ARE ALL CALLED TO SOMETHING. Meredith and her husband are about to start doing foster care. It's something she said she could/would never do up until this year. When people ask her, "How are you going to do that?" She always responds that she's not the one doing it. His grace is more than sufficient to fill in the gaps.
Our God is BIG enough. He is Faithful. He has a plan, and I'm pretty sure He's not in the business of bailing.
Here we are, Lord. Send us.