I’ve had a multitude of people offer the advice, “The older you get, do things you are passionate about.” Good advice. Even as a young adult, I didn’t go with the crowd on my choice of career, but instead went with a calling I believed I had on my life – to stay home with my children. I fulfilled my dream of getting a college degree, but what I sensed God was calling me to do always rang louder in my ear. For years I’ve heard the criticism that I should have gone out and gotten a “real” job. Trust me. There has never been a more “real” job to me than my children. I wouldn’t change it for the world because I have truly seen God’s hand of provision for our family from day one of our decision to trust God for our well being on a $19,000 a year salary. We never missed a bill, even regularly had date nights, ate out, never stopped tithing and giving offerings, and we were even able to support others financially.
My life has taught me that going with the status quo isn’t always what’s right for me.
As I’ve gotten older, I would certainly echo the advice given to me. There comes a time that fulfilling our passions is so much more fulfilling than wondering what could have been, or even receiving a hefty paycheck. Had Jeff and I turned our backs on God’s prompting for years to plant a church, I would be sitting at home today wondering what life would be like, but today I sit in an office at that church plant thanking God and praising Him for all of the circumstances it took to bring us here. I also sit here today, though, with somewhat a heart of disappointment because following our passions doesn’t come without difficulty, pain and confusion. Sometimes, truth be told, you just want to do something else. Life feels like you are beating a dead horse. Ministry feels somewhat like this…I’m making a difference, am I making a difference, I hope I’m making a difference, does it even matter what God’s word says? I saw 2016 as a year of Christians attacking Christians, hate running rampant everywhere, not just in the political arena, but neighbor to neighbor…love took center stage in our rhetoric, but often it came alone without truth as it’s companion. Let me just chase the rabbit on this for a second:
Love is not some trend, but it sits at the core of who we are, is not something we just say, but should NOT be easy to say, do or simply be. It should challenge us to the core that we can, and will, put our stake in the ground that “God is love,” and from THAT place is the overflow.
Opinions are not the foundation. They simply represent me, me, me. Seeing love take on this definition that doesn’t feel right at all has shaken me. It’s taken on the form of you live any way you want, and I will love you through it. Friend, love is not easy. It is call to be tough sometimes when the truth is at stake. So, being in a calling to speak truth, show love, guide in God’s word feels like it falls on deaf ears. I wake up everyday wondering if I even care anymore. I want to quit. I watch marriages end and it’s celebrated. I see people living with someone who is not their spouse and it’s as if God looks favorably upon that…“God just wants me to be happy” is said so much that somehow it’s justified living contrary to His word. I watch friends jump from church to church, just shy of ever truly committing anywhere. I see friendships fall all because our pride steps in, forgets to forgive, refuses to make amends as if Matthew 18 is just a suggestion. Hear me when I say, I do not write from a place of judgement. I grew up watching my church culture judge person after person for every. single. thing they ever did to sin. It sickened me so. I write from a place of grief. I write from a place of what will it take for the truth of God’s word, HIS love and walking the narrow way to stage itself front and center? It won’t take me quitting, but I want to. I don’t want to live in a society that considers God’s way a suggestion, His moral absolutes interpretive. I just don’t want to, nor do I believe I should.
So, passions sometimes disappoint us. We find ourselves wondering, “God, why did you bring me so far to feel like I take ten steps back a day?” We would just rather do something else less disappointing, but God says, “Come to me all you are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”(Matthew 11:28) Life will feel weary, sometimes even lasting for seasons, but God will give rest for the weary and while “Weeping may spend the night,
but there is joy in the morning.” The thing is, friends, sin should grieve us. We often mistake the weight of it for something we cannot change, so we delve further into it, because we might as well, right? No, see for yourself what God says about it, rid yourself of it, and believe that He alone will bring rest and freedom to your heart. For me, my desire to speak truth should never stop, either, just because it’s not always followed.
Don’t stop dreaming. I’m telling myself that today. I don’t even know what the dreams He has for me may look like, but I want to dream with Him, not without Him, and then hoping he will agree and bless me. His plans for us are so much bigger. So much stronger. Today, I need to remember that He’s not done with me yet.