When I was a child, going to church was, for the most part, nice, tame, and allowed me to stay in my comfort zone. It was a peaceful part of my existence and I am grateful I grew up in church.
But even back then, when I read about people for whom following Christ meant leaving every comfort behind and potentially even facing persecution or death, I was enthralled. The Jesus I knew was so tame. Did He really ask such things from His followers?
Would Christ ever ask me to the mission field? Were such calls only for spiritual giants or could even little 'ole me have a calling? I thought I was willing to answer if He did call, but I REALLY hoped it wouldn't be to a jungle location. I think visions of walking through swamps and wrestling giant snakes like on "Swiss Family Robinson" convinced me that I was better suited for the plains of Africa than the rain forest of the Amazon.
I had a comfortable plan in case that call to the mission field never arrived. It consisted of college, marriage, a family, and a house with a picket fence. What I misunderstood back then was the fact that EVERY person who follows Christ answers the same call, "Lay down your life, pick up your cross, and follow Me." (Luke 9:23) That call applies even to people with picket fences.
Where Did He Ask Me to Follow?
As it turned out, not only did Jesus not call me to the Amazon, He didn't call me to Africa either. My call was to my family, my friends, and my community. Just because He didn't call me to a foreign land, has not meant His same call did not resound in my heart. And if I can be perfectly honest for just a moment- wrestling a snake in the swamp just might have been easier.
I still must:
lay down my life
pick up my cross
and follow Him.
Daily. Hourly. Minute by ticking minute.
And every step I take has taken me further and further from where I am safe and comfortable and in control. Jesus takes my nice little comfortable box of possibilities and blows it to pieces.
Destruction of the Box
Today as I follow Jesus, I find my path strewn with preconceived plans, assumptions, and expectations. The unrealized dreams lie to the side as the Lord replaces them with His plan.
I don't follow my heart.
I follow Jesus.
Then He takes me places I would never go on my own.
Jesus is my way: He is where I go, what I do, and how I do it.
Jesus is my truth: He is what I believe, dream, and plan.
Jesus is my life: He is my breath, my heart, and my deepest satisfaction.
Where Is He Calling You?
Does your own comfortableness every make you uneasy?
- Every time I feel that holy irritation I find that in some area I am not denying myself, but running over others to make my own goals a reality.
Do you hear a nagging question in the back of your heart that maybe it is the world you are following rather than Jesus?
- I am learning to recognize that still, small voice as the voice of my Savior calling me back to His way.
Do you ever wonder why Jesus would instruct you to take up a cross- an instrument of death- in order to follow Him?
- I discovered I require the constancy of a cross in order to put my grand or paltry plans to death daily. Otherwise I am tempted to substitute the fleeting for the eternal.
An Invitation To Follow
My dear sister, I invite you to a life which will quite literally blow you away. It is a life of wrestling snakes in swamps, dying to old dreams, denying yourself, and living more abundantly than you could have ever asked or thought.
It is an invitation to the paradox of the cross. Jesus died IN ORDER to give us life. And unless we walk in the life He gives we will be settling for our own small, comfortable box and missing out on His extraordinary plans.
I promise you that there is nothing that you are holding on to, afraid to release, that will ever measure up to His eternal plan.