well O.K., since about last Thanksgiving, Tyler and I have begun to discuss a topic that was huge for us before we got married.
No, not sex or how many kids we want to have, or our career dreams (although I guess we did talk about those things too).
I mean, it's not to be that UN-expected. Really, come on.
We met on a missions trip.
It happened like this;
Before we got married we were set on living simply, as both,an expression of our faith, and also as a pursuit for deepening our faith. To us, this means living counter culturally. What does counter-culturally living look like? Good question. I think it means something a little different for everyone. To us, it means not putting our value in our salary, in our appearance, in our accomplishments or in our security. It means fighting hard against the culture at large that spews out lies of bigger, better, more means happier and loved. It means getting our value from God, and having our security in Him. It means having open hands when it comes to things, knowing that all things come from God and if we got it once, God will surely provide for us again, and again, and again. (Matthew 6:26). It means loving every human alive regardless of their past, their present, their nationality, their color, their language, their age, their sexual orientation, their religion...basically it means if alive ==>love it more than anything not alive. Love it more than yourself. That extends beyond people. It means loving Gods creation (nature) and guarding it as if it is a living treasure to be nurtured and cared for (it is).
In short, it means intentionally following hard after Jesus.
OK practicalities, in a nutshell this means:
- No. 1 following and striving to live like Jesus (1 John 2:6 (thank you Derek Porter for sharing this verse today)
- Using our gifts talents and education to further the Kingdom (especially to serve those who are less privileged, marginalized and/or forgotten)
- Live in a way that least negatively impacts others and creation
- Live in community with others who share this view and mission
- Share this with our children, so faith in God and Christ is alive and experienced, not something talked about on Sundays.
Let me tell you though, as hard as it is to describe and put in to words, it's even harder to DO it.
For Tyler and I, we thought it would be easier to do this if we just escaped the modern world of the US of A and all we despise about it. We thought hey, lets go love the orphans in Africa, the widows in South America, the abandoned in Asia, the cold and hungry in Europe. As for Australia and Antarctica, well...who's got problems in Australia and who lives in Antarctica? I'm kidding, everywhere there is people there is surely a mess. And those in Australia and Antarctica are surely suffering just as those in other places.
But the point is, it seemed really way easier to leave the comfort of our culture and our home, to 'serve those in need' elsewhere, than to sit calmly where God planted us, fight against the machine from the inside out, and extend a hand here.
But, over the past 6 months as we have pursued going abroad, we have felt a push to do just that.
It seemed like the more we pushed to 'go abroad', the more we realized that God has opportunity here for us to do exactly what we would be pursuing abroad. After a while actually, it felt like we would give up real opportunities to actually do all of the above, just for the sake of geography.
It came down to this question:
Why give up a dream and opportunity, to pursue it elsewhere, when you already have it?
We couldn't answer that one.
So, for now,
It was a long journey, but we realized that no matter where we are, there we are.
So, if we want to live a certain way or do certain work, we need to just do it. As a wise woman and dear friend said to me in Guatemala once,
Bloom where you're planted.
So there you have it, Tyler and I are stetting out to live missionally -I prefer intentionally- right here where we're planted - in St. Paul, MN.
And if that changes in the future and we feel called to go abroad - bring it on.
For now, we're rootin' on down.
Lord, you planted us here. Please help us bloom.