when we begin to feel comfortable with our lives. something is off.
God did not call us to be comfortable, but to be irresistible revolutionaries. this theme has been a constant throughout things i have read and things i have felt God stir in me. i love to read books by Francis Chan, Shane Claiborne, Donald Miller, etc. etc. and a constant theme i see weaved through their outpourings is that God does not want us to be comfortable. i heard a quote one time that went something like this “if our plans are not big enough to intimidate us, they are likely insulting to God” this makes crystal clear sense at the same time that it baffles me. first off, while i love to make plans and spreadsheets and anything that can make life a little more logical like a math problem, those things are also the death of me. as soon as we settle into a plan, it gets wrecked. as soon as we think we’ve figured it all out on our own, God says “umm hello, what gives you the right to think you can make plans without me?” a few months back in my journal i wrote about the following verse:
“Don’t shoot off your mouth, or speak before you think. Don’t be too quick to tell God what you think he wants to hear. God’s in charge, not you—the less you speak, the better.” –Ecclesiastes 5:2.
That will hit you hard. too often I do that. it’s so easy, and honestly fun, for me to make spreadsheets of my life and plans and check lists and to do lists and fill up journals after journals of my wants and desires, but that’s almost insulting to God. 2009 has been a journey for me of allowing God to help shape my plans. i’m still one of the biggest control freaks you’ll ever meet, but it’s been a daily struggle of mine to not plan things out myself, but to see the signs and people God has placed in my life and use His guidance to direct my paths. i’m still struggling with whether there is a ‘right vs wrong’ path or if we are simply called to seek after Him on the path that we choose for ourselves. I know God gives us free will, like characters in a life-size Sims game, and we can choose whatever we please, but I still believe that there are certain choices he’d rather us make, certain paths He’s rather us take, certain moments when we can choose what He lays out for us or what our human nature thinks are best. maybe this is all a more big picture thing and the little day to day things are still up to us.
maybe it’s not so much about A vs. B but about glorifying him through whichever we choose. about which of those will help us become the person he desires us to be. Francis Chan talked a few weeks ago in a podcast about how we, too often, struggle to DO what god wants us to DO instead of BEING who he created us to BE. we were all created in His image, and I believe, in that image, He gave us certain character qualities that will affect all that we do. I believe this goes back to a big picture view of things. if we are not who we were created to BE, how can we express his love in all that we DO? we can’t. i realize things as i write them down, and i began to discover this 2 years ago in a blog specifically about that, so i won’t go into it, but if you want to read it (http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=22657232176)
back to the notion of planning and making sure we are living up to who we were made to BE, i found a passage which sums basically all of this up the other day. Exodus 4. it’s about Moses and how God tells him something to do and Moses says “really, me? i don’t talk to people, i can’t do this” and God goes on to pretty much say “really dude? i’m god, I can help you do anything if you just let me. after all, i kinda made you so i know what you can and can’t do, not you” and Moses is shown that his brother Aaron is good at speaking, so God kinda makes them a team to do what He has laid out to be done and Aaron talks and Moses does and it all works out in the end.
it’s insulting to God when we tell him what we can and can’t do and i know i do this all the time. that’s what’s happening when we make plans and choices without carefully and prayerfully seeking Him. when we do it on our own and then end up saying ‘i can’t’ after God has said ‘you will’ it’s an insult. it’s like when you know your best friend or whoever is capable of something and they won’t just because they’re scared and you repeatedly say “i’ll help you’ but they repeatedly refuse. pretty much the same thing.
not only does God remind him that ‘dude, i made you so i know what you can and can’t do’ but he gives him a person close to him that can help him. he gives Moses another tangible person who will physically be by his side helping this. he gives him someone who knows him (his brother) and who will help him.
maybe i’m reading too much into that, but to me, it’s kinda a gentle reminder that God will give us the people around us He needs us to have to do what He’s called us to do. for me, that’s a struggle. i know that is true but sometimes i don’t see that in my life. i begin to feel lonely and i begin to question why God has my best friend 12 hours away, but u know she is there. it’s just a constant mental thing i have to wrestle with.
while this has been ridiculously scattered. it’s basically something i’ve been reading through and i guess struggling with/contemplating for awhile off and on as i skim back through my journals. God made us, he knows what’s best for us, he won’t take us where we cannot survive and he won’t ever leave us wherever we are, even if its not where he wishes we were, he is always there. He is the one constant we can count on. He is the one stability in a world of uncertainty. He will also not accept when we tell him ‘i can’t.’ that is an insult to him. i like to think he will bug the crap out of us and show us things over and over again reminding us that we can and he will give us the people we need to do what He wants us to do. it’s a weird thing to wrestle with because its a very big picture concept, but i believe its important. its important and its comforting.
this does not mean He will always make us comfortable. i believe it means quite the opposite. we are not called to be comfortable. comfortableness means we have settled more often than not. another weird realization. but who really feels alive and exhilarated when they are comfortable in the life they have. comfortable-ness is one step from boredom which is a terrible place to be. he gives us good and bad days for a reason. in my journal from a few months back, i wrote about ecclesiastes 7:14 that says:
“On a good day, enjoy yourself; On a bad day, examine your conscience. God arranges for both kinds of days”
the basics of ecclesiastes, or what i got from it the first time i read through is that it all ends up as dust anyway, so live the life God has called us to live and be who he made us to Be and quit worrying and just do it. he won’t leave us so we shouldn’t be afraid of that. he won’t give us things we can’t handle so quit being squeamish about that. just live and seek Him and His closeness in everything and enjoy the ride. just put your hands up on the rollercoaster that is called life.
i have, in the past, referred to the rollercoaster feeling times of my life as bad, but honestly, those are when i felt most alive. when i was losing friends and gaining new ones, i was at emotional extremes, but i felt God by my side. when i was transferring schools, i was terrified, but i knew He was there. in high school when i felt i had lost all my friends over something stupid, i knew He was there. i’m not saying our life should be a constant battle of emotional extremes, but if we consistently become complacent, what fun is that?
i think our comfort should be in knowing that the only certain thing is God and that should carry us through. this is much easier said than done, especially for a control freak like me, but it is true.
i’m sure i’ll write again about this, but in case i don’t, another passage that has helped me realize all of this has been Hebrews 11. this was a theme in “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan and was also one of the kickoff passages of PSF this semester. this passage centralizes that we are to live constantly ‘by faith’ because ‘by faith’ God works.
Hebrews 11: 1 : Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:40 : God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.So that we won’t take anything for granted
^we are all part of a story. God’s story. we are all integral parts in that story and unless we are constantly seeking to allow God to show us what our part is, the story will not be what it could be.
i’m not sure necessarily what all of this means for me right now, but its something He is showing me.
proverbs 16:20: It pays to take life seriously; things work out when you trust in God.
proverbs 16:9: We plan the way we want to live, but only God makes us able to live it.
proverbs 19: 21 : We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails.