December 5, 2013

Big Things

Every once in a while, Kyle and I have that conversation again. I see a friend's picture on Facebook of the child they adopted, I read a missionary biography, or I simply get restless, and I turn to him with questions: Don't you think we should consider adopting? What kind of ministry endeavors do you think are in our future? 

The underlying question is always this: What next big thing should we be doing for God?

We had that conversation as we returned from Thanksgiving to our now very normal life with our now established and normal church and our now normal schedule and routines. It didn't help my restlessness that I read Anything over the break, prayed a sincere, "Anything, Lord", and was waiting for some bombshell of an answer from God on what big thing He had for us next.
I like the big things and the big moments. I actually enjoyed the whole start-up process of church planting--the fundraising, the selling of the house, the moving--because it felt very "big thing" and like we were making this big splash for Jesus. And then we put the last frame on the wall, looked at each other, and wondered what to do next. We probably went to the grocery store or changed a diaper or went for a walk or something unspectacular like that. That's the approximate moment when my restlessness set in, and my big thing radar turned on, and I searched for the next big splash Jesus wanted from me. That made for an extremely difficult first year.

In fact, there were no big moments after that. I had conversations with people and made brownies for our Sunday evening church service in our living room and went to the playground with my kids and did the daily routines of life with gospel-sharing and people-meeting in mind. We didn't even have an official launch, so I couldn't count that as a big splash moment.

I like the big things and the big moments because the opportunities for faith and obedience are so clear. The fact that we moved to plant a church? Absolutely no doubt a faith-requiring decision. But the everyday moments following the move? Those seem pretty boring and uneventful most of the time. What about that is faith?

I thought about that as Kyle and I talked. He said, "What if the biggest act of faith is doing what you're already doing?" Well now, that just kind of rained on my parade. To go home and make meals and do laundry and disciple the girls I'm discipling and teach Bible study and serve at the kids' school and write? That's what I was doing before Thanksgiving. I want to dream up big adventures and big splashes in the name of Jesus!

But I knew he was right. He is annoyingly always right. I know what it's like for God to clearly call me to a big thing and this isn't one of those times. I'm just restless and looking to escape the everyday acts of faith He wants for me now. The question I really should be asking is, "Am I being as faithful and as bold as I can in what He's already given me?" Eek. No.

I think we all are drawn to the big things and the big splashes, and we sometimes feel like we aren't very spiritual because we're just going to work or doing the dishes or whatever while our friends are working really cool jobs or getting married or adopting kids or whatever.

Maybe He'll give us those big things or ask big things of us at some point in our lives, and we'll be ready to jump in with eyes wide open. But maybe He won't. What if He doesn't have a single big thing for us the rest of our lives?

It helps me to remember that God pushes all the external actions out of the way so He can dig down deep to get a good look at our hearts. I could be doing a bunch of good works and have a faithless, restless heart that He isn't honored by, or I could be doing nothing spectacular and doing it with faith and joy and He would be so delighted.

Paul says that, as believers, we must be like athletes and farmers and soldiers. The way I see it, athletes and farmers and soldiers spend their days doing back-breaking work, practicing drills, and training. That's all rote and not very exciting, but it certainly adds up to something in the end: discipline, fruit, and endurance.

This week, I've thought about that a lot. As much as I can see, the biggest splash that I can make in the name of Jesus is to embrace my life for what it is and to be bold to fulfill what God has already given me. If He asks me for more, I'll do it, but until He does, I'm going to be faithful where I am and with what I have. That may be the biggest thing I can do for Him.

Who's with me?