For the past week I’ve been standing on a precipice staring down into the yawning maw of the unknown. On Monday I posted about feeling like it was time to make a decision… All in… or not. Because God loves us, I think he would genuinely understand and be okay with it when someone opts for “not”. I think he gets it. Leah and I have spent the past several years creating a life that we truly love and enjoy. We have fun. We try new things. We laugh. We discover new ways of loving each other. I think God takes joy in that. We could foreseeably continue on in this way and find ways of making each other and God happy…
But I can’t shake the feeling that such a life might still be lacking. I feel like Leah and I have potential to do something really cool, and living a life that isn’t moving toward something feels like a life wasted. So what’s the dilemma? We’ve been terrified of what happens if we decide to truly and completely hand the reigns over to God. We’ve all heard stories about what happens when God really gets into somebody… People give up lucrative jobs, move to the far flung corners of the earth, and are only heard from again in the form of newsletters. I’ve witnessed with my own eyes God getting into the lives of friends causing them to move to other continents, adopting children, and choosing to live in a house with what seems like an excessive number of people (speaking to the last point, admittedly, more than two people in a house feels a little crazy.)
After my last post, I heard back from some of these fine folks and the consensus was pretty much as expected… “It’s AWESOME. A little weird, sure, but AWESOME.” The trouble arises from the fact that none of those things look particularly awesome to Leah and I. What if God has been plotting to send us to some country this whole time? What if he ordered us to go build a one-room cabin and fill it with… I don’t know,children or something equally gross and scary?We would then be forced into the position of deliberately ignoring God (not good) or ignoring our desires (not fun). Remaining ignorant seemed like an increasingly viable option.
But… God is tricky. How tricky is God? Tricky enough to drop my amazing aunt and uncle into our laps despite the fact that they are missionaries to the Sudan. Seriously, it was the confluence of several events that happened to put them in this town, let alone when Leah and I are pondering the notion of being “all in”. How could we waste this opportunity? We asked them about their own lives… How did they end up in the Sudan? When did God pull the rug out from under them?
It was greatly comforting to hear that their trip to the Sudan began twenty years ago. At no point did God ever pull the rug out from under them, instead they simply focused on whatever God put in front of them… Becoming proficient at their careers, developing life skills, raising two daughters, being good spouses to each other, whatever they had to do on a day by day basis. In fact, my aunt likened herself to Bill Murray’s seminal character, “Bob” from “What About Bob?” She said her spiritual life had been one long exercise of taking baby steps. They never would have guessed God would have led them to be okay with going to Sudan. They have no clue what God is going to do next… They simply approach each decision, examine it, pray about it, and do whatever feels right. (I think it’s worth noting that this particular pair of missionaries admitted to rarely ever being more than 75-85 percent sure they were making the right choice.)
I told them that at the heart of the struggle we were having, was the question of “Does God want us to be happy? If not happy, how about content and fulfilled?”. Their answer was that the real crux of this conundrum is deciding what makes you truly happy. For my uncle, it’s sharing the Gospel with people that have never heard it. The difficulties they endure, the unglamorous grunt work, the days of feeling under utilized are all made worth it when he gets to tell somebody about Jesus.
By the end of the conversation, I think Leah and I had already made up our minds. We’re in. Of course we’re in. I kind of knew all along that we would be, the idea of living a life half-lived is scarier to me than living a scary life. Nothing really feels any different. There wasn’t a light from on high or the sound of an angelic choir. But I think the difference is that Leah and I know that God is there… Just beneath the surface of our lives, preparing the next big thing… All we have to do is baby step our way towards it.