Oh sigh.

I know. My postings haven’t quite been regular this week. It’s been quite the week. There has been some job instability along with some announcing of sad news from some good friends of ours, meals tossed in the compost bin due to inedibility and various other turmoil that is not common to our normal weeks. (Don’t worry about me, my job is fine, for now.) This post is more for the sake of my journaling out what I’m thinking and maybe engaging y’all in conversation than than my typical crafty, foodie or book related chatting. Hope y’all don’t mind. 🙂

Mostly, Jason and I have also been struggling with where we feel called to direct our lives. We both feel that we’re called to do something more to bless people but we’re waiting for something. We don’t want to be stagnant and come to the ends of our lives and look back to see we only sought after things to make us comfortable and happy, while neglecting those who were in need. I don’t believe that is how we’re called to live. Selfishness is not something I want to pursue although it’s difficult in the culture of America to escape the individualism and entitlement. We’ve always been told to seek the American dream, and personally, I believe there are faults in the American dream (although in some perspectives, Jason and I have recognized the American dream – we own a house, have jobs, are starting a family . . . we’re wealthy and comfortable in comparision to the rest of the world). We are the most medicated, depressed, lonely, overweight country in the world. That may subtly say something about the results of seeking the American dream.

And I guess that’s part of what I have been struggling with most lately – what my faith says does not seem to line up with what I am told to seek in America.  I think joy (not happiness) and contentment are difficult to find in a culture idolizing things/money and I am struggling. I want my life to mean more, I want to serve more, but not because of me, because of how I believe and how I love.

But how do you take action in a culture of inaction and discussion? How do you take action in a culture that thinks that living to love and help others (especially the marginalized) is for the radicals and not the normal person?

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8 Comments

  1. Posted January 16, 2009 at 11:49 am | Permalink | Reply

    Beth — I know this struggle well. I have fought the whole American dream thing for such a long time and then I look around and am appalled at where I find myself sometimes…living it.

    I agree that with all that surrounds us in this culture it can feel hard to break out of the mold, but it is doable. It just takes being a little “radical.” LOL By that I mean, not following the crowd and the dreams the crowd is pursuing. Staying true to God and taking it day by day.

    As for how you take action…you just do. Our culture is not going to change and even though it is seen as radical to love others and to serve them rather than self, it can still be your normal. We have to remember that we are as the Bible says “aliens in this world.” What is normal in the thinking of our culture is not normal to God…Keeping an eternal perspective definitely helps change your mindset as you live according to what God is teaching you.

    This could very well be starting in the small things. Sustainable living, feeding the homeless, cleaning up streets. You are caring for the world and for others — it’s small steps to bigger dreams.

    Just my $.02. 🙂

  2. Marie Larkin
    Posted January 16, 2009 at 11:58 am | Permalink | Reply

    Absolutely right – small ways can change many. You are on the right road.

  3. Posted January 16, 2009 at 12:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Beth, whether you see it or not, others see you as a shining example of sustainable living and as a “real” Christian… the kind of Christian who understands that she is flawed and embraces that to get her story across. What I gathered from your blog today is not necessarily that you’re unsure of what to do, but rather that you’re in need of support so that you can continue to do what you believe is right and share that with everyone who is blessed to be around you. Keep going strong Elizabeth – you were born to play this part!

  4. Jake Box
    Posted January 16, 2009 at 12:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hey Beth,

    Krista and I are praying for you and Jason about this. I really hope I find a bunch of people in Pflugerville that are thinking like you are right now. My entire job is going to be trying to get people to think this way and then move out in action. It is going to be wild work but I really think it is going to be incredibly rewarding. To me, it is when we get into this kind of stuff and come to these kind of realizations we see just how counter-cultural Jesus was and therefore how counter-cultural Christianity is supposed to be.
    Just to say, I’m really excited about what God has in store for you Jason. He is giving y’all His heart. Without a doubt He has a reason why He is doing that. It is going to be really neat getting to see where he takes y’all as a result.

  5. Posted January 16, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Beth,
    there is so much to say about what is wrong in our society today but just know that the way you are living and choosing to love others says something about what is right with God affecting our world. Don’t ever discount your witness. The fact that you are successful and thriving is another way to show God to others. You have been blessed and you ache in your heart to share those blessings. That is a powerful thing. Be encouraged that you do not have to change the world by yourself, just submit to the growth and changes God is causing in your heart.

  6. Posted January 16, 2009 at 1:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I could have written this post. Lance and I have been struggling with this since we moved here. Especially it does go against the grain of society.

    There’s nothing wrong with having money, or having a house or starting a family. Our brother and sister in law recently went to Zimbabwe (where Lance and his brother were born) to serve for a couple of months. We were half expecting them to come back, sell all of their possessions, and move back there. Instead they came back with the lesson that money, etc isn’t a curse… it’s a blessing that needs to used to bless others.

    In fact, I’m learning through downsizing that the pursuit of having less can be just as much of an idol as the pursuit of having more. It’s a strange thing that’s hard to explain.

    Our goal for this year is to focus on others and our faith. Time is a big issue for us. Are we fitting in service, or we we living our life around serving? And the question of: how do we serve? What exactly should we be doing? I don’t know.

    Please share your journey as God shows you more.

  7. nickiberthiaume
    Posted January 17, 2009 at 1:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Beth,
    From someone who doesn’t know you personally, or say the day-in day-out of what your life looks like, what I’m about to say may seem very trivial.

    I know what’s it’s is like to feel a call on your life. I know the excitement of knowing what you want to do is right, and the discouragement when what your aiming for seem s completely opposite of what is going on around you – both in the world, and even in the church.

    Let me encourage you to keep moving forward and not give up. Don’t get so discouraged. There are others out there who are like-minded.

    And ultimately, when it feels like you are stuck in one place and not seeing any results, be patient. God is working with you too, and He has a plan for us and a time that is perfect. If you are called to a thing, it’s a call from the Lord, and He will move you in the direction He wants you to go, and down paths you should go.

  8. Posted January 22, 2009 at 11:22 am | Permalink | Reply

    i haven’t read the above comment this time, so excuse if i repeat someone, and this is just two cents, i know you probably already know this. but this is something that justin and i have been really taking a hard look at (it is an ongoing process) since we started following Jesus. (hard look means it has been painful/uncomfortable at times) thankfully our church is consistently examining these issues based on the gospel, and justin’s work with the irc really keeps a lot in perspective for us. you said, ‘how do you take action in a culture of inaction and discussion’ – you guys seem to me to be on the right track. i think if you look at Jesus he will give you a perfect example. you love and serve people, you go against the grain when it is necessary, and you identify in which ways you need to change how you are already living. seek him & rest in knowing that he will sanctify in perfect timing and ways.

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