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Friday, August 1, 2014

the american dream

A blog entry full of flaws. It's messy and imperfect but its written in love. Just the thoughts of my heart lately.. trying to understand a little piece of the meaning of this thing called life.

We are raised to believe in the American Dream. But what exactly is that and is it biblical? Well, the common definition agreed upon by multiple dictionaries I have found is: "the traditional social ideals of the US, such as equality, democracy, and especially material prosperity." equality-AMEN! democracy-WHOOP! material prosperity-excuse me? I do not recall a place in the Bible where the Lord lays out the importance of having lots of nice stuff. Don't go and get the wrong idea- I believe having nice things are blessings and priveledges and is not a bad thing. BUT is it really necessary to have that listed among the definition of what we seek as our life goal? What is the motive behind having what we have? And what would we do if The Lord asked us to give it up? Because that is entirely possible, it has happened. What is more important to us- obeying every command of The Father or getting that new iphone 6? I think it is the heart behind our actions and desires that is important. And I certainly do not want my focus, purpose, goal, hearts intentions, or what have you, to be anything about obtaining wealth and riches for the sake of living up to this American Dream we have created.

That being said, if the American Dream is the goal and focus of our life I believe we have the wrong idea of what God created us for and we are missing out on the fullness of life. And I'm just going to be raw here, I see so much of this "dream" lived out to the fullest in this country, in my community, and in the church and yet the ignoring of "To whom much is given, much is required." The urgent needs all around us are going unmet while we use what we've been given on lavish lifestyles and things that serve no eternal purpose.

Scripture says to love The Lord with all our heart AND love our neighbor as ourself. Sometimes I think we omit that last part, or at least water it down. The Word is full of commands to serve and take care of "the least of these" and minister to one another. Are we fully living God's word or are we picking and choosing to live what fits into our daily lives? Being too busy, too tired, too this or that is not a very good excuse to disobey the evident commands of scripture and reject the spirits calling.

I dont believe He created us to sit in our recliners watching wheel of fortune after work eating more than enough of whatever we choose when there are people who dont know Him, people who dont know His love, people who are sick, starving, dying. People who need us to serve them as we are commanded to do. What is comfort and security anyway? It is not a memory foam mattress and a 401k. It is salvation. The only thing that will last for all eternity. Then why do we put so much emphasis on trivial things that ultimately do not matter?

Our comfort zone is what is going to kill our faith and deprive the hungry souls of the world the eternal hope they are craving. We are not called to be safe, we are simply promised that when we are in danger, God is right there with us. And there is no better place to be than in His hands.

What are we teaching our children? The leaders of tomorrow. Are we teaching them to love carefully or to love with abandon like Jesus. With each person that is put in our path no matter how long they are there. Because investing in people, community, fellowship, is what we were created for. The more people we let in, the more we open ourselves up to hurt. But pain is a part of life and without sorrow you can not fully experience joy. So love with wreckless abandon no matter how long the season with each person may be. Are we teaching them the "importance" of the American Dream in the example of how we live our lives or are we conveying the very real importance of following the Savior and what complete obedience like.

People look at my life and say how brave I am, how radical I am in my walk with the Lord. Let me be the first to tell you how weak I am. Broken, messy, and undeserving. But the Lord chooses to entrust me with such amazing tasks anyway! I am one thing: obedient. Faithfilled obedience is what we are called to. That is what will make make your life so full. What does obedience look like? It looks like feeding on God's word and living it out, every moment of every day not just when its convenient and not just the parts of it that fit into our plans.

I choose to go to the hard places because that is where I am called. That is where there is a great need. That is where my eyes have been opened and the quiet desperation has greatly weighed on my soul. The hard place is where greatness happens. That is where I am forced to rely on the Lord through language barriers, cultural differences, impossible situations, and that is where I get to witness His power which grows my faith in Him and my love for Him. I choose to go to the hard places because someone has to give them Hope everlasting by loving them and explaining there is a Father who loves them even more. Once we become aware of injustice, once we know, we see, we hear, we are RESPONSIBLE. ACCOUNTABLE.

This overwhelming statistic and the much I have been given makes me responsible: “The truth is that the 143 million orphaned children and the 11 million who starve to death or die from preventable diseases and the 8.5 million who work as child slaves, prostitutes, or under other horrific conditions and the 2.3 million who live with HIV add up to 164.8 million needy children. And though at first glance that looks like a big number, 2.1 billion people on this earth proclaim to be Christians. The truth is that if only 8 percent of the Christians would care for one more child, there would not be any statistics left." Does that make you accountable with me?

Seeing a need, having an overwhelming sense of urgency for that need, and setting out with wreckless abandon to meet that need for the glory of the Lord- that would be described as finding your calling. I go there, to the hard place, and I love those people. We do not have iphones and Beat headphones, no netflix or even air conditioner. But we have each other, we can worship the same God, and we fellowship in community. What I believe life was meant to be- togetherness. Just love the people God places in front of you everyday and say Yes to making a difference in someones life. If that means feeding a hungry child, holding the hand of a widow to pray, stop with the busyness long enough to see the opportunity God has given right in front of you. Because its just as much for their soul as it is yours, He will place extraordinary right smack in the middle of your ordinary day if you let Him interrupt your plans. And what a priviledge, what a blessing to be used by the Maker of the stars! What a humble honor to be chosen to be used to imitate and and portray Gods unconditional and extravagant love to His precious children.

Being back in America, I have struggled with so many things: anger, frustration, discouragment, confusion.. normal things missionaries face. I have wondered where God is and why He is so evident out there in third world countries. He is the same God and He is here just as much as He is there. I think it looks different because out there because sometimes here we so easily replace Him and His goodness with other things. Its like a miracle has to have absolutely no other way to be explained and then we label it a God thing. There, every small detail of every day is a God thing because there is no other way the next meal would have been on the table without His provision, there is not an excuse for the sick to be healed except by the power of the Great Physician. And they are so hungry for Him because they have nothing to put in His place. Once they KNOW Him, they are expectant of Him. They are not surprised when He moves mountains, they pray without ceasing and eagerly wait for Him to show up, all the while thankful for the little they do have. They soak up every ounce of Jesus you pour into them. I know our world looks different but we could learn a lot from the faith and the hearts of people like these..

I do not think we should all pack up and head to a third world country to "serve the least of these" to give "relying on God for everything" an extremely different meaning. That is not everyones calling, I am grateful and beyond blessed for that to be a reality in my life. But I do think we should open our eyes because the fact is, the hard places are right in front of you. Everyday we are offered the option of doing big things for the Lord outside of our carefully calculated comfortable routine. And everyday, each opportunity, we have the freedom to say yes, to choose to resist the desire of comfort of our flesh and be Jesus to the community we are placed in. Even though we have every thing we need and more than we could ever want, we have opportunity every day to choose to rely on our Father for every breath and experience His greatness.

Do you want to live the rest of your life pursuing the American Dream, or do you want to spend the rest of your life preparing for eternity and investing in the Kingdom that will never pass away for the glory of the one who made you..



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