Maybe the doors aren’t opening because God knows we’re not ready to walk through them.

I’m supposed to be couponing but I don’t really care.  Who said I was “supposed” to be anyway?  Me.  So I have the right to change the rules.  And now I have successfully justified myself to myself.  Congratulations.

Six years ago our church sent out a couple to go plant a church in Massachusetts. I didn’t really know them that well though we had gone to their house once for dinner.  I remember discussing with my sister how adorable Sarah was as a pregnant woman and how I wanted to look like that one day.  When they left I wasn’t even married yet so we related in a completely different way then than we do now.  In a lot of ways I feel like I was still a kid back then, but I guess that’s a different subject.  

Anyways, ministry in Massachusetts didn’t go as expected and they went back to “normal life” for a while.  Then they read a book called Radical which turned their lives upside-down and loooooooong story way way way short they are now preparing to move overseas, and once again we are their commissioning church.  

Jeremy and I are on a totally different side this time – we are the missions leaders at our church, we are in charge of their accountability once they are on-field, we have two children and so do they, and we are pretty much bona-fied adults *snort*.  But seriously, we are both closer to 30 than 20 and wow – that puts things in perspective a bit.

This couple is taking their school-age kids, moving away from family, and making a five-year or more commitment to ministry in the area of human-trafficking.  They asked God what life would look like if they really surrendered their all to them, and when He told them they chose to obey.

When Jeremy and I were engaged we really thought we would move overseas as missionaries within five years.  I was going to get my master’s, then we would join Wycliffe and start support-raising, and then we’d move.  We even started the process and met with representatives and planned our jobs and choices around that plan.  Then God changed it.  

To take loooooong to way way way short once again, we do believe that we are where God wants us.  What we have been struggling with is WHY God wants us here, instead of “there.”  Why, when there are so few people willing to move overseas and do missions, does he put us “willing” people here in the States?  

But lately I feel like He’s been starting to show me the answer to that question, and I don’t like it.  I’m hearing something like, “Why would I send you overseas to do ‘there’ what you aren’t doing here?”  And…ouch.  

Yeah.  

That’s a good question.

I could make you a list of all the ministry we are doing here, and to be honest I almost did.  But really, do we go out of our way to build relationships with our neighbors?  And when we build relationships, do we turn them towards Christ?  Do I avoid conversations about faith with family members who believe differently, or do I look for them, start them, even embrace them?  Am I making sacrifices in my lifestyle to help the poor and lost in my own neighborhood?  Not comfortable sacrifices, but real, genuine sacrifices?

I know the answer to those questions.  

And now’s the time to change it.

That time I Facebook-stalked a hippie

There’s this whole subculture of people where I live, and within that subculture there is another subculture.  The broader one you might call hipsters or hippies, depending on how far they actually take things.  Within that subculture there is the even smaller one made up of believers.  A not-really-friend of mine (blame that one on Facebook) is one of these.  Her husband has a huge beard and wears suspenders.  They own a cow.  She likes music I have never heard of.  They are libertarians.  They hang out with the “type” of people who do things like build their own mud oven and eat all organic and attend house churches and don’t do things like shave their legs or watch TV.

That is not me.  I do not own livestock, I shave (though let’s be honest, it’s not very often), my 2-year-old says “Uh-oh” whenever the TV is off, and I love my gas oven.  But I kind of wish I was more like that.  I admire the simplicity, naturalness, slower pace…  I also find that the particular subset of non-mainstream believers in my area, at least the ones I know, tend to be really, really authentic. They look at the Bible without our cultural lens because they have let go of the vice-like hold on our culture so many of us grew up with.  As a result, they take God at his word and often obey Him in ways that astound me.  

I do think there is balance to be found, and I don’t claim to have a handle on that.  But I guess I just really want to strip down my life.  I want to get rid of preservatives in my food,  trash in my entertainment, and culture in my gospel.  Do I need to be a hippie to be a better Christ-follower?  Hardly.  But at least they’ve taught me something and challenged me to healthy change.  And I think that is something worth aspiring to.