Friday, January 21, 2011

Idolizing "Easy"

Do you idolize "easy"??

I do.

Last month, I stepped out of my comfort zone to experience a week in the life of missionaries in Eastern Europe. Before my husband and I went, I romanticized what the missionary life must look like: vacations to neighboring countries, speaking a different language, walking on cobblestone streets and eating yummy foods amid the beautiful architecture. The reality of what they're truly experiencing is not quite as romantic. Holidays away from family, communication barriers with locals, loneliness, struggling just to learn the culture, changing their very existence - for the sake of the gospel.

Exploring the possibility of becoming a missionary in that land foreign to me, I have been doing some deep soul searching. Digging my heels into the ground, I was determined not to buy into the idea. My resistance began with my want to avoid bitterly cold winters and deep snow, to avoid having to learn to drive a stick shift in the snow, having no homeschool support, leaving HGTV and thrift stores behind. That's not to mention the idea of moving 6000 miles away from family and friends. I realized how selfish my motivations are - how ME-centered my instincts are. My motivations are sinful, self-ish- naturally. I was slowly awakened to idols I didn't even know I had. The ease of my little American life.....

When I found myself grumbling at the thought of experiencing those inconveniences, I realized I idolize "easy" in everything from avoiding conflict with my husband, family, or friends to rarely going to the grocery store during the day when it's crowded. So often my joy, my worship of the Lord, is caught up in how I perceive the convenience of my life, my bank account, my children's behavior, my relationships, my diet, my health and my home. Over and over again my joy is wrapped up in the blessings and not the Blessor.

I am Eve in the Garden. Doubting that what God says is true. I. am. Eve. Every thought in my head reeks of sin and distrust of my Creator preventing me from seeing Christ and His perfect work, His atonement. His grace. which. is. sufficient. for. me.

Time and again God has provided for my every need. Yet I doubt....Even now he has given me work and my husband gigs to sustain us after severance is gone. I do not know how we will make it through February or March or any month thereafter, but I have moved from worry to trust. (This is a big step for me as worry is in my genes). I will still doubt, but I am more confident in who HE is and especially who I am NOT. God has shown me how in control he is of my health, my family, my marriage. He is ushering me to Himself always. Exposing my sin and my pride all the way. My pride in wanting to put on a mask to tell the world I'm doing good and feeling good..when He knows I am not. I like to pretend I'm in "Easy." He stretches me and makes me uncomfortable with who I am, yet reassures me of who He is.

"Easy" doesn't usually get me closer to the Savior. "Easy" doesn't stretch me outside my comfort zone. "Easy" doesn't usually bring the level of worship that I experience when I am in a pit. "Easy" makes me think and live like Heaven is here. "Easy" makes me think I am in control.

I might just need to see God's own handwriting telling me to go or hear His audible instructions to be confident of His will - especially after the year we've had feeling like we'd come to the "wrong" place. But when I was thinking of what it would cost me to be a missionary in a foreign land, leaving everything I know and ones I love, I was missing the boat! I never thought about what it cost Christ. I was acting like this was my life to live - for myself, not for my Creator. I was missing the big picture of why I SHOULD go vs. why I SHOULDN'T or for whom I should go. I took my feet off the brakes of my will and asked for HIS.

Now the truth is, my husband and I haven't discerned God's will in this decision yet and feel that a "no" is just as important as a "yes." While I'm gunshy after the past year of being stuck in a valley, I am more confident than ever that it is He who leads us into the valleys and onto the mountaintops. I would never want to re-live the past year and a half, but He has shifted me from a "we made a mistake" mentality to a "God brought us here for HIS purposes" confidence. And I am certain it was not for my glory, but for His. I am certain that He HAS deeply blessed us in that valley, drawing us to a clearer perspective of who He is.

I must not pursue God's will for blessing, for "easy." His blessings must not be my motivator. Who He Is must challenge me to ever pursue Him, to want Him to captivate my heart. I must worship HIM. Not stuff, not ease of life and health and wealth. I must not hinge my joy on seen things, but on Him who is unseen. Any gospel preached that claims health and wealth and good days belong to me outside of heaven is false. All those things will fade away. The foundation of my house will crack - I must build the foundation of my soul on THE CORNERSTONE and rest there - in Him, not in what I think is "easy."

...Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:10-12 NIV

"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." - C.S. Lewis

Heidelberg Catecism

Question. 1. What is the chief end of man?

Answer. Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.

Here are two ends of life specified.
1. The glorifying of God. 2. The enjoying of God. First. The glorifying of God, 1 Pet. 4:11. "That God in all things may be glorified." The glory of God is a silver thread which must run through all our actions. l Cor. 10:31. "Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." Everything works to some end in things natural and artificial; now, man being a rational creature, must propose some end to himself, and that should be, that he may lift up God in the world. He had better lose his life than the end of his living. The great truth asserted is that the end of every man's living should be to glorify God. Glorifying God has respect to all the persons in the Trinity; it respects God the Father who gave us life; God the Son, who lost his life for us; and God the Holy Ghost, who produces a new life in us; we must bring glory to the whole Trinity. - Thomas Watson's sermon Man's Chief End is to Glorify God

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I love this! I just found your blog and I can't wait to read more about your journey with God!! Makes me really think about "easy", too...