Friday, March 18, 2011

Finding Our Own Paths

Have you ever found yourself wishing that you were someone else? Maybe not literally wanting to be someone else... just wishing that your life mirrored theirs in some way. There have been several moments in my life, usually revolving around my mentors for the most part, where I have often found myself saying something like, "I wish I had it together like they do." Or, "I wish I loved God like she does." I think this is a natural tendency, but the problem with this is that it often times leads us, sometimes out of sheer desperation, to follow their paths... hoping that "if it worked for them, it might work for me." But Chan warns us about this, citing that "we have a God who is a Creator, not a duplicator." p. 167. He goes on to say the following:

"This is why I cannot say in this book, 'Everyone is supposed to be a missionary' or 'You need to sell your car and start taking public transportation.' What I can say is that you must learn to listen to and obey God, especially in a society where it is easy and expected to do what is most comfortable." p. 168.

There's that horrible word again: comfortable. Why is this word bringing me so much DISCOMFORT? Of course, Chan has the answer to this, as well... and not to slight him, but, truth be told, I think most of us already know the answer... we just don't want to admit it! In one simple sentence, he wraps it all up: "I wrote this book because much of our talk doesn't match our lives." p. 168. That's a battle cry if I've ever heard one. He's called us to the matt. He's put the ball in our court.... there is an endless supply of cliches that I could use here... but none of them change the fact, or numb the sting. Everything comes back to the choices we make... and to be honest, I, personally, find it extremely difficult to make decisions that will lead me to a place a discomfort. It's not my natural inclination. I don't like pain, whether it's physical, emotional, psychological... whatever it is, I DON'T LIKE IT! Don't get me wrong, I understand and accept that it's part of life. I even grasp the fact that adversity (pain) makes us stronger... but, that still doesn't mean that I welcome it... even if I know God has allowed it. And that is the impasse at which I find myself: Do I trust God no matter what?

For the past few months, I have been pleading with God for Him to reveal some direction in our lives. I've literally been on my knees begging Him, all the while growing frustrated with His silence. But, I've come to realize that He hasn't been silent... He just hasn't been telling me what I wanted to hear... so, as a result, I haven't been willing to listen to Him. A few weeks ago, at one of my lowest points, I cried out to Him asking, "Where are you? Why aren't you listening to me?" His answer wasn't immediate, but it was resounding. A few weeks later, He showed how real He truly is... not once, not twice, but many times over. It's day 10 of being in the hospital with our newborn son, and even today, we are still marveling at God... but also feeling foolish, ashamed, that we ever doubted. I can't help but think of the Israelites in the desert. I used to literally scream at the Bible when I'd hear about how the Israelites doubted God...even when the fire cloud was right in front of them. But, essentially, that is what I have done. My inability to trust Him is, by default, admitting that I don't believe God is who He says He is. That's a hard pill to swallow. It shakes my faith to the core... but I've finally come to accept this as a necessity because living in "spiritual limbo" is no longer an option I am willing to pursue. I have been straddling the fence for way to long... and continuing to do so not only affects me. It also affects my husband, my children, my friends, my neighbors... and the countless number of people I meet throughout the remainder of my life.
Part of me was really hoping that reading this book would provide the answers I was looking for... and, I guess, in a way it did. It made it crystal clear that I wasn't in love with God... and, for the record, I didn't even know that I was suppose to be... or that I even could be! And while Chan does provide some guidance to help us forge that relationship with the Creator... there is no definite "guideline"... no step-by-step directions... one size fits all. But, I guess that too make sense... it's different for all of us. But, no matter what, we must all start at the same spot: placing our salvation in the hands of Christ and taking a breath of life in His word. We all start at the same place and our paths diverge as we each begin our own journeys. The thought of this can be overwhelming... so overwhelming that many of us will find any excuse possible to derail the expedition before it even starts. I've been sabotaging mine for a while, but I'm finally ready to change that.
Have you been sabotaging your own journey with Christ? This is a question that you have to answer. Others might be willing to answer this for you... but until you are able to take responsibility for your own actions (or lack there of!), you will not experience the fullness of living in Christ... and I promise that it's worth the discomfort.

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