I awoke to extreme gratefulness that we were spared the devastation that so many so very close to us experienced from the tornadoes. It was quickly replaced by great sadness for my old college town of Tuscaloosa and the unbelievable loss they have experienced.
Because we were without power this morning, my husband & I dropped the children off together and went to breakfast (an extreme rarity, but his office had no power either). As we sat at the table and gaped at the news footage we had not previously seen, I tried to take it all in. I started feeling overwhelmed.
I left him for a coffee date with a friend that had been scheduled for weeks. This friend, T, is moving with her family of four to Nairobi, Kenya in a few weeks for a multi-year ministry experience. Perhaps it was the backdrop of the previous night's intense focus on life and death, but as we talked I couldn't shake the word perspective from my brain.
I told T. that I was feeling a bit envious of God's call on her life to pick up and go. I also confessed some weariness of the pace of my domesticated life. I want my life to count for something. I don't want to fritter it away on unimportant pursuits. I strive to have an 'undivided heart' but my real life world is so full of distractions and the tyranny of the urgent that it often seems easier to pick up and move to a foreign place and start over with the sole purpose of serving.
As I uttered the words, I felt the question in my Spirit: Why do you have to move to do that? Why can't THIS PLACE be your Kenya? Some are called to go somewhere different--and some are called to simply be different right where they are. Why can't I embrace this place in life as God's call--and live and love and serve right here as if I were on a foreign mission field?
Does my life seem too comfortable to be considered a missionary's life? Maybe so. But the truth is, I am feeling increasingly uncomfortable with some of the challenging situations I feel God is calling me to deal with. I know it is only through reliance on Him that I can handle them well. My physical accommodations are comfortable, but many of my roles lately are not.
I strive to live a life that matters: not for fame or recognition, but for people, for my God and for eternity. Yet, despite my striving I get sucked in DAILY to the drama of relatively unimportant things. I do not seek drama, but I want desperately to be a person who, like the Good Samaritan, crosses the street, climbs in the ditch and enters into the lives of hurting people. With that often comes messiness and drama.
I love where we live. It is not about changing places. It is about seeking God's changed perspective for living a life of purpose HERE where He has put me, rather than thinking I have to go somewhere else to matter for Him.
So, tonight I am praying for patience with this season...and for perspective on this place. (and, frankly, a little less drama would be a nice thing too. :-)
Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him. I Corinthians 7:17 (NIV)
And I love the Message translation as well:
Don't be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God's place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. I Corinthians 7:17a (The Message)
God's Word is so good, isn't it?