"Challenges undertaken for the greater good bind us to people.
The pursuit of comfort, however, leads to isolation."
-- John Ortberg, The Me I Want to Be
Anyone reading this blog who has walked with the Lord for any length of time knows that He often sends a similar message from several different places at the same time. As we draw nearer to the time when we will add Katie Wilkes to our family, I find myself questioning everything about my daily life - Is continuing to work part-time most honoring to God? What the heck will it be like to spend all day alone with a newborn and a toddler? What if I homeschool, and never have one moment to think about myself for the next eighteen years? What if I homeschool and I am horrible at it? What if I give up my to-do list to pursue community? What if the people I want to spend time with don't find me at all interesting?
A couple of months ago, dear friends challenged Bryan and me to step outside of our task-oriented life and put more time into our friendships. It wasn't easy for us to hear, because we already knew we need to do it. We often talk about developing friendships with other couples that will travel - to the beach, to the backyard cookouts, and through the end of life. But we get so wrapped up in the things we want to get done around the house, trying to build family memories, obligations and commitments, and other "good" things, we have never fully acted on this desire.
Then I heard a sermon three weeks ago about Peter's address to the rulers and elders of the high priest's family in Acts 4. The Bible tells us he was "filled with the Holy Spirit, " and when he finished speaking, they could see that Peter and John were "unschooled, ordinary men" and they were "astonished and took note that these men had been with Jesus." I was reminded that my own fears - of being rejected, of under-achieving, or never "getting ahead" in life - could very well paralyze me from what I know I should do. I will never learn or grow without just diving in and doing it. And, if I don't spend time with Jesus, I will most certainly look like me, instead of like Him, as I try to accomplish anything - in any realm!
Then the above quote, read the very same week.
I am not yet clear on how exactly these fit together, or how to act on them, but I am certainly about to enter a time of challenge in my life. Lots of changes, lots of decisions. How will it all shake out?
"Listen to me, house of Jacob... Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you."
-- Isaiah 46:3-4