This post has been brought to you by Morgen B. See her on Instagram @guten_morgen14
Somebody smart said once, “If your faith isn’t changing you, it isn’t saving you.” Somebody else smart also once asked, “What is your faith costing you?”
Around this time last summer, these two ideas were eating away at me. My faith had grown before my eyes into something tangible and vital, and I was aching for direction. At the same time, I was reading stories daily about the hurt and horrors occurring all around the world. People were (and still are) being removed from their homes, shot in the streets, raped and burned and humiliated and destroyed. A beautiful, horrible side effect of following Jesus is suddenly seeing the hurt in the world and feeling the pull to help as you hurt with people.
With these two ideas (The Great Hurt and The Cost) turning over in my washing machine brain, I began to believe that taking any step of faith would mean me personally going to every nation. A one-man-band; all things to all people; Mother Teresa + Ghandi + Ms Frizzle.
But in the process, my selfish soul also convinced me that the best way for me to make any sort of impact on the world would be to be a great adventurer, which, really, is an awfully selfish ambition.
I was struck by the fear that it could be possible that the gifts I have and the place I am in may be equipping me to serve God and His children where I am.
How horribly dull, thought my selfish soul.
This was not what my favorite authors and speakers and heroes had been telling me, right? Everyone I looked up to, like Carl Medearis or Matt Mikalatos or even my discipler had sacrificed everything by leaving their Western context and bringing the Gospel to people who wore different clothes or ate with chopsticks or spoke obscure dialects. And that appeals to me. I love the idea of removing myself from this suffocating cacophony of American culture for the sake of exploring, saving people, and being a hero.
But how sickeningly selfish, thought my conscious. That dream was all about me.
I believe that God’s heart breaks for the millions of people suffering around the world. And I believe that God’s heart breaks for the millions of people suffering under my nose. Who am I to think that a group of people, because they seem more exotic or mysterious to me, is worth more than the souls standing next to me in the checkout line at Meijer? Over the past year, I have learned that sometimes I love people. I can become addicted to feeling like I am making a difference. But does that mean that I am really serving them, or myself?
This is pure speculation right here: I don’t always think that God has a completely specific plan for every aspect of my life. Maybe sometimes He offers a few choices and lets me pick a card, but I know He’s always in and through and around my life, in part for the simple reason that His plan is waaaaaaaaay bigger than the choices I make. So if I were to decide that the best way for me to grow closer with the Lord and to serve other human beings in His name was to go into
the deepest jungle or to an igloo or a cardboard box, He would be proud of me and love me. In the same way, if I were to choose to stay in America, maybe even Indiana, maybe even Muncie (is Muncie the Nazareth of Indiana?), he would be proud of me and love me, not because I’m so cool, but because I belong to Him.
No matter where I go or who I love or what I do, I have to remember that my life cannot be all about me. I’m trying to give that up. When my life is about loving God and the people that God loves (which is every single soul), it really doesn’t matter where I am. The truth is that, because I belong to Him, I have the gift of being able to be a part of what He is doing in the world. I am freed from the burden of straining to make my life more comfortable or exciting because I have been given real life already, here and now. The rest is an adventure we’ll go through together.