Have you ever been in a place in your life where you feel the Lord gently stirring your heart? A place where you feel like He's drawing you more into His will and bringing you further away from the world and all it's distractions? I'm there. I've been there for the past couple of weeks, but over the past two in particular, the Lord has impressed upon my heart a burden that won't go away.
It started several weeks ago when something just didn't feel right. I mentioned it to my best friend, Katie, over dinner one night. I stated I was lonely. Looking back I'm not even sure lonely was the right word. I just felt (and still do) that when I take myself out of the chaos of my life as a mom of two preschoolers, and I look around me, there's a terrible rat race going on. Whether it be Facebook, twitter, blogging or real life, I felt like everyone was gunning for more. More stuff, more friends, more internet real estate, more words.... more more more. And honestly? I was tired of it.
Admittedly Drew and I tend to lean more towards minimalist behaviors. It started because of sheer necessity, when we were first married and living on a lot more love than dollars. We don't have cable or satellite (never have). We drive old, used cars. Drew brings his lunch to work, and we rarely eat out. But recently we hit a place where things weren't as hard. The budget didn't have to be stretched 10 ways to pay the bills. I could go to Sonic every now and then, and we finally had a house that I felt like we could all breath and not be on top of each others toes. And you know what? I found myself wondering if it was even all worth it. We had gotten to a place we had always talked about being at, and I still felt unsettled. I saw myself jumping on the train toward the thinking that so often is embedded in our culture. Jennie Allen said it best in "Anything" when she said "It is too easy in this country for blessings to become rights. for stuff and money to become what calls the shots in our lives. And before we know it, God's gifts have replaced God Himself." I didn't want to get on that train, and yet I found myself magnetized to it just by living in the world we live in. It stunk.
The Lord brought "Anything" (by Jennie Allen) and "Seven" (by Jen Hatmaker) in my life right around this time where I was wondering if it was OK to be so out of the box. I think the Lord knew I needed someone to tell me that it was OK to feel lonely. That it was OK to wonder if there was MORE I needed to DO, not MORE I needed to GET. Both of the books rocked my insides. In a good way, they have both made me question my motives in life and made me realign my focus to be less about what everyone else around me is saying, and more about what Jesus has said.
Several months ago as I was singing a song that was playing on the Christian radio station, I prayed that the Lord would really make true the words that were coming from my mouth. That my heart would really break for what breaks Jesus' heart. That my eyes would see what Jesus sees. Jesus isn't worried about sending my kids to the best preschool, best elementary school or saving for the next house. He certainly isn't worried about my comfort. He is worried about His message. And what saddens me is that I was slowly trying to jump onto the bandwagon of being a comfortable Christian. A Christian who went to church, who served at church (Jen Hatmaker often spoke of blessing those who were already richly blessed... my toes were stepped on quite a few times), and then who left the doors of the building and never brought the Savior I know and love to the people who need Him the most. The least of these. I slowly started believing the lie that my kids, Drew and I need to lead comfortable, safe lives. That we deserved this or that. That I needed a bigger house for ministry or a bigger blog to really speak truth. I believed the lie that missions is overseas, not next door. I've believed the lie that my children should be sheltered from the poor school, the poor neighborhoods, the homeless and the people who live differently from me. I've dug into the scriptures and what I have found is that those who were concerned with the bigger parts of life, the rules and the "looks"... most often missed the mark. It was the ones who didn't have anything who got it. The lady who was a prostitute was the one who was spoken gently to by the Savior. The pharisees? They were most often chastised, for their shallow religion and rules. I don't want to miss the mark. I want to love those who no one else will love. I want to be sold out to the mission of Jesus. Read Matthew 23 and tell me it doesn't rock your world. The ones who were supposed to be the true Christians were chastised by Jesus and given woes that make me cringe just reading.
So what are my anythings? I don't really know yet. Drew and I are praying about what it is our Anythings might be. Can I just say that from the outside looking in, thinking about praying "Lord, you can have me for anything or have anything I have" seems scary. But when you're in the middle of it, it's the most peaceful place to be. I'm excited to see how the Lord answers us. I know this means that we'll be different from everyone else, but I think that's what the Lord wanted all along. Because it's in that place of loneliness that I most feel His presence. In closing, I'd like to share what Hatmaker shared, because really, when it's all boiled down, this, this is what I want to live for:
"We get one shot at living to expand the kingdom, fighting for justice. We'll stand before Jesus once, and none of our luxuries will accompany us. We'll have one moment to say 'this is how I lived.' More than thirteen thousand of those days are over for me. I'm determined to make the rest count."