Saturday, December 17, 2016

Breaking Out: A New Understanding of Purpose-Filled Living

Sometimes our gate gets left open.

I know this isn’t a good thing, but it doesn’t induce panic because, despite the ability to run, our dog doesn’t go anywhere. She might eye the area, but she always opts to stay in the backyard.

Sometimes I watch her, amazed that she makes no effort.

And then I get it.

I’m just like her.

As much as I don’t like to admit it of myself, I choose a pretty safe life. I thrive in space I know, doing things I know how to do, in places I like to do them. Yes, I will take on some risk, but within the confines of a setting where success feels likely or without great loss.

I dwell in the familiar.

I like the backyard.

I tell myself that I’m better off here. That I know my grounds. That I won’t mess up. That I will claim (or tweak) what I do like a boss.

Ironically, there is a sense of bravery that comes in existing like this. But it is false, to be sure. 

Confidence is not the same as purpose-filled living.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been challenged to step beyond my comfort zone. Important work lurked beyond boundaries I’ve always honored, drawing me into conversations I often shy away from.  It took the loving encouragement of many to hold my hand and challenges that got under my skin for me to bring my wobbly knees into the conversation. 

And, it’s honestly come at a cost. 

Tears. Frustration. Investment in opportunities that lie ahead because my heart, in good conscience, will never be able to back out of this situation intended to benefit humanity (and did not resolve as I’d hoped).

I still feel scared, overwhelmed, and not enough.

But in living safe I also didn’t realize all I was missing.

Change for God's glory dwells within me. Within you. Oh. My. Stars.

I have to think God looks at me asking the same question I do of my dog. “Why do you hang in the backyard when I’ve opened the gate and given you all kinds of territory to explore?”

Friends, a world stands waiting. Will we hang in the safety nets that actually confine, restricting us from using the fullness of our given gifts? Or, will we trust that in our humility The Lord might use us – knees knocking – to benefit the good of all?

The gate is open wide.

xx Melissa

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