Thursday, August 11, 2011

Waiting for Life to Start

Right now we are in a season of preparation, of study, of expectation. We know we're in seminary to prepare for our "calling" and to become equipped for the future. It would be easy to believe that we are "waiting for life to begin" when Michael graduates with his MDiv or when we have a baby or move to a new place to "start" ministry. It would be easy to believe that lie.

But I remember that same lie surfacing in numerous life stages. It was just as easy to think "my life will begin when I get married." Or before that, "when I get engaged." Or before that, "when I start college." It's easy for me to think,
"I'll finally be living the life God has for me when...." Or in other words, "I'll finally be in the present when....." "I'll finally be content when...."

Sometimes I really believe that sitting in a classroom (or in an office, for that matter) has nothing to do with now- that I'm only here for the dividends this will pay in the future. "If I can just grit my teeth and tolerate this city and its horrible heat for two more years, if I can get through two more years of classes and working in an office, then my life can start. Then I'll finally be living the life God has planned for me." If I hadn't had this thought so many times before, I probably wouldn't have noticed the problem with it.

What I've realized is that sometimes I look to the future as a way out of being faithful in the present. If I think I'm not called to use my gifts diligently now, I won't feel convicted about just using Dallas and leaving in two years. If I think I need to wait for a title (like "missionary" or "pastor's wife") in order for my relationships to truly be ministry, I won't feel convicted when I give the bare minimum to the kids I babysit or to the inner city girl I shepherd. If I think I need to wait for a more "spiritual" job than office assistant in order to give my best, I won't be as convicted when I sit on facebook all day and complain about the copier not working. If I think I'll share the Gospel and intercede more when I'm on the "front lines" of "the mission field" I won't feel convicted when I avoid difficult relationships that require prayer and awkward conversations.

So here's what I've been learning lately: If I think I'm going to start seeking first the Kingdom of God someday in the future when it's in my job description, then I am going to miss it. Why? Because seeking the Kingdom is not a 9 to 5 thing! It's a way of life. It's a position of the heart. Sometimes I want to make calling all about what God wants me to do in the future, and I completely ignore what He is calling me to now. He's calling me to love and pray for my husband. He's calling me to shepherd the souls of young people. He's calling me to serve the glorious body of Christ by sending emails and making copies, and He isn't calling me to do it half-heartedly in the name of pursuing "real" ministry!

Shame on me for thinking that hanging out with eight-year-olds (and eighty-year-olds, for that matter!)- is anything other than the "front lines." Shame on me for thinking that the time for seeking God's Kingdom is any time other than right now, in my home, in my office, and in my city.

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