Recently, I was on the phone with a friend who is going through the beginning stages of becoming a foster parent. She was telling me about all the negative comments she’s been getting, and I was relating to her through our experience in choosing to move away from all our family and friends six months ago.
We both had heard so many rude, forward, and negative comments about our decisions. The comments were very similar even though our circumstances are different, and I noticed they all had one thing in common- each question and every comment was firmly grounded in fear and selfishness.
“Things are going so well for you right now! Why would you purposely make things more difficult?!”
“You doing this is going to be very hard on your family. That couldn’t be God’s will for you.”
“Why would you put your kids through something so hard on purpose? Life’s hard enough as it is.”
These comments reveal a huge misconception about the Christian life. So many people seem to think that life is supposed to be happy and easy, that the goal is to create a good life, avoiding difficulties at all costs, and when they happen to us, you get through with prayer and faith. Very few people are willing to knowingly step into a storm. The thing is, stepping into storms is exactly what we are called by God to do.
We are called to something so much more, so much bigger than clean houses with Pinterest-worthy decor, trendy outfits, perfect marriages, park play dates, and getting more likes on Instagram. We’re called to run toward the broken, the tired, the hungry, the homeless, the orphans. We are called to do things that scare us for the sake of God’s people. We are called to move mountains and be world-changers who raise world-shapers. We are called to follow our call, and there’s nothing safe about it.
That doesn’t mean we have to be afraid. Fear has no place in the heart of a world-changer. The call is something we can rest in, a shelter from the storm while we stand right in the eye of it. Following the call means we are doing what we were made to do- being Jesus to this lost and broken world.
So why would I knowingly step into a storm when things are “going just fine” for my family? Because God is calling me to, and the point of my life isn’t to be happy or live as easily as possible, it’s to further His Kingdom. I will sweat and cry and die to myself for that until I breathe my last breath, because that’s exactly what Jesus did and I am called to be Him to this world.
We, as believers and followers of Jesus Christ, are called to act like He did when He was walking this earth. Did he have a cushy life full of all His favorite things with the occasional hardship? No. He spent His time with the sick, the prostitutes, the murderers, the tax collectors– those who were hated and feared and shunned. He served people; He loved on people.
Whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.
1 John 2:6
I think social media plays a big role in our misguided thought-process about how we should be living. Perfectionism reigns online and it’s everywhere. It’s so easy to get caught up in thoughts like my house needs to be decorated better… I need to dress cuter… my life isn’t as good as hers… my house isn’t as clean as hers… my kids aren’t as well-behaved as hers… it goes on and on until we are so focused on making our lives as perfect and as happy as possible that we’ve forgotten the call.
We have lost sight of the whole point.
Instead of pretending there aren’t orphans while we sit in our two-story homes in our perfect neighborhood, instead of ignoring the tug on our hearts to move and nestling further into our comfort zone, instead of looking the other way when we pass by someone in need, instead of only hanging with those who are like-minded, we are called to reach out, to touch the broken and hurting people of the world, to expand beyond our bubbles and be Jesus to people. We need to stop building walls that separate us from those who sin differently than us, and those who are hurting at a level that makes us uncomfortable, step into the storm, and take their hands.
Life isn’t about setting up a world in which we are most comfortable, safe, and happy. It’s about opening our arms, outstretched in full surrender, and saying “yes” to what He asks of us. Maybe that’s in a beautiful home with our kids, maybe that’s in another country in the mud with the people of an impoverished land, maybe it’s in another state, maybe it’s so far out of your comfort zone but the tug on your heart is so strong you aren’t sure you can take it anymore. Wherever you are right now, however you are spending your days, can you honestly say it’s where He wants you?