Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Funky Town.

In case you've watched Parenthood... no, that kind of funky town ;)

I have been in a bit of a writing funk lately. Actually, maybe just an overall funk.

Closing on the house got delayed... again. And again, and probably will one more time. But who really knows, because our brokers are not exactly being communicative anymore. Fun, right?

I had already scheduled the painters, given our rental agency a move-out date, hired movers for our really big stuff, and was going to call Stanley Steemer, but now I need to rearrange all of that. I've actually been waiting until the last-minute to initiate all our utilities for fear of closing getting delayed, and I'm super glad I did. Our signing date was going to put us in a pinch because of a High School event I need to attend in my hometown, but now we don't even know when signing will be, so we're waiting on that detail. And I'm trying really hard not to look at the house with too much longing. I know it's just a building, and I want my hope to be on Christ and His work, but this has still been a trying process.

In reality, this is all just regular life stuff. No terrible road bumps, no deaths in the family, no financial disaster (unless you count spending all our savings next week), no threat of my husband losing his job, no crises or drama that is completely out of the ordinary. Not for me at least, but there are many for which this week has been filled with far more uncertainty than I can imagine.

In all of the recent drama with Trump's executive orders I have been forced me to look more closely at the lives of refugees and immigrants around the world. My housing troubles seem very small in comparison to the lives many of these people are enduring. I don't even enjoying hiking with my kids sometimes, because they whine and bicker over the course of one or two miles. I cannot imagine endless hours of walking through dangerous territories, or on over-filled life-rafts, or wandering aimlessly through packed tent cities. And this is just a small area of the world, not including the villages, cities, and countries enduring massive poverty and danger on a regular basis. It is heart-breaking, eye-opening, and humbling.

I read a really great article by David Platt about the way Christians should respond, and I think you will benefit from reading it too. If you are not a Christian, I hope you will still read it and see that this is the heart of Jesus, the desire of God - the protect, offer refuge, and give hope.

I am sharing all of these things for a couple reasons. I want you to be updated with our house-stuff. For some reason, a bunch of you are interested in it ;) I also want you to consider your responses to those you witness enduring hardship. Are you cold, uninterested in what you can do for others? Or are you compassionate, but possibly lacking ideas on how to participate in helping those in need? Or maybe you are already actively serving, helping, meeting needs to those less fortunate. In every circumstance, difficult or easy, I think J.F.K.'s quote seems very appropriate: "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."

I know there are extremely varied opinions about what is best for our country, but we can all look at our family, our friends, and our neighbors, and ask what is best for each of them. Jesus did not look at what was best for himself, but what was best for those around him, for us. If we can take our eyes off our own troubles and can serve those around us with a genuine interest in their well-being, our country will be transformed, person by person, neighborhood by neighborhood. It's too easy to wallow in the challenges we face, but the world needs us to take our eyes off ourselves and get to the hard work of serving each other.

Witnessing all of this uncertainty, both in my own life and seeing it in the lives of others, I am learning how little I actually need to know in order to be an agent of love. It's easy to think we need to figure things out and wrap our minds around everything going on in order to be of use, but it simply isn't true. Loving and serving are effective tools in creating relationship, being a positive impact, and making the world a better place. While our words can be lasting and powerful, our actions are proof of those words. They confirm the words we speak (or type) are true.

As you go about your week, I hope you'll consider the correlation between your words and your works. I hope that for every time you think about your own problems, you are praying for the problems of others. I hope your days are not filled with self-consumption, but investment in the people around you. While history often only highlights people of prominence, it is the individual people of our world who make our lives better, and if we are busy making the lives of other people great, our world will be great as well. Check in with your kids, your spouse, your friends, and your co-workes - see what you can do to make their lives better, not for the sake of being a great person, but for the sake of showing the greatness of genuine love.

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