I’m always tempted to make even the sweet things in life a little snarky. But today’s topic, though funny in some ways, is a sweet one. Here’s a little taste of where my heart is at lately…
I twittered on Sunday during a lazy couple of hours at the pool with books (yes, several) a warning to each of my friends to ignore my phone calls this week. If you’re in my tight knit friend circle then you know exactly where this joke comes from. I am a recruiter. I am constantly recruiting a friend to do something with me so that I never have to undertake anything alone. If I had a crazy idea, a get rich scheme, a latest project, or a flash of inspiration I will immediately turn around, pick a friend, and start selling them on it. In the midst of all that is going on in my heart and life these days, my friends should proceed with caution in any of my hair brained schemes.
Haiti was one of few ‘big things’ I took on alone. I rarely do things completely by myself, but when I do, they count. I moved to Tampa less than 12 hours after finishing college 17 hours away. And in December of 2011 I decided to go to Haiti with a group of strangers. This would be not only my first mission’s trip but my first time out of the country and I was going without a support group of people who already know and love me. Naturally this shocked friends and family alike. Why now? Why Haiti? Why this group? The answer is simple, I knew. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I was supposed to go. I didn’t need backup. I didn’t need anyone to tell me it was a good idea. I just needed to buy that ticket, pack those bags, and hop on that plane. I knew.
I spent the time I was given alone in Haiti being purposeful. I read. I prayed. I wrote. I pursued. I earnestly sought that I would come back from that trip and never be the same girl who left. I desired to grow. I desired change. I was craving it in a way that I never had before.
Now in the event that my closest friends or my parents are reading this I should pause here to say that I am NOT about to announce that I have decided to sell my condo and move to a third world country. At least, not today…I make no finite promises about the rest of forever, though. I catch some of the people that love me the most being a bit torn by my new found love of international affairs and whether to encourage them or discourage them. I sense that they are afraid I may let my passion take me far far away, and I am in fact grateful that they would prefer to have me close.
At the risk of sounding like a pun, I came home from Haiti hungry. I committed to spending the first part of my days with the Lord and trying to keep that eagerness I’d acquired while away from my iphone, ipad, computer, job, friends, family, facebook, blog, and other various distractions I adore. Probably the biggest commitment I made though was to ask hard questions. To question everything I know, everything I’ve learned, and most of all to question the way I’m living.
In addition to reading straight from the bible every morning I try’n read a Chapter of a book as well. Over Easter weekend Francis Chan gave away three of his books for free on ereaders and I snagged that. So back from Haiti, I dove into Crazy Love. If you want to stay the same, if you want to stay comfortable then I recommend avoiding third world countries followed by tough reads. Whew. Here I am, fresh off of this amazing, humbling, life-altering trip to Haiti and I start reading things like this:
“But God doesn't call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn't come through.”
Oh hey Francis, comfortable was working pretty well for me until Haiti and now that I was toying with the idea of stepping out, you have to give me that. Oh it gets worse?
“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.”
Do you by any chance mean reading the most books or owning the most amazing collection of ballet flats? I’m not allowed to be comfortable and now you’re asking me to question the success I’m achieving’s worth and value in the long run? Ok, I guess I’ll just keep squirming through this book…
“Lukewarm living and claiming Christ's name simultaneously is utterly disgusting to God.”
Ouch. Just ouch.
And most painfully of all? This one:
“Lukewarm people don't really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin.”
Do I want the Savior or do I just want the life insurance of knowing my debts will be paid for and hope to avoid the wrath of my mistakes? Chan asks the hard questions and I love him for it. With all I had just seen, I’m not sure I could have ever been in a better place to be asked these questions. But the truth hurts. In fact, most days it stung like a slap right in the face. Good Morning Becca, you selfish, comfortable lukewarm Christian, you…what are you doing that matters? What sacrifices are you making? What’s the value on the love you’re giving others? How are those ‘me time’ days treating you when you could be serving? What are you doing that’s making a difference?
I’m still reeling from these questions, so I can’t give you all the answers today. But know this, I have never been more painfully self-aware. I have lived a comfortable existence of being lukewarm. I have basked in the ease of claiming grace. I have spent far less time pursuing the Lord than I have the American Dream. I have wanted to be saved, but I have not always wanted the Savior. I have been that lukewarm Christian. I have wanted a place in heaven but I have not been willing to let go of the idea of having one on earth.
Some of you are about to tell me that it’s ok, I’m doing a good enough job. You’re about to compare me to others and maybe think I’m doing better than them. Don’t. I am increasingly aware of this:
"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money’ – Matthew 6:24
Not worried about the money part? Insert whatever you’ve made the lord of your life. Your family. Your friends. Your success. Your comfort. Your marriage. Money isn’t the only master that keeps us from serving the Lord. And the bible makes no allowance for this…
But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. – Joshua 24:15
And so you see, that my heart and my mind are churning. I am learning. I am growing. And mercy, if I’m not stretching. The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know.
I wanted to start to tell you about the next tough read I took on and how that’s continued to rock my world but this ended up being deeper than I expected. This post took on a life of its own. And so, I suppose, I shall tell you to stay tuned for Part Two.