This is most likely the first of a few reflections on this book. For the past few months, I have struggled with how to live life here in America, now that my job has me settled here for a bit.
How can I fully invest here, when for quite a while (10+ years), my life's direction has been to live long-term overseas? Is that part of my story over? Is this just a new chapter? Or am I in a whole new book?
At the Urbana missions conference, I wrestled with a lot of these feelings. One day my sister and I put our "fears/concerns regarding missions" on a piece of paper and pinned them to a wall, at the random request of a World Vision representative.
I wrote down my questions about life here vs. life overseas, and how could God give me a desire to serve him overseas, but call me to live here-- or at least that's what it seemed.
Then my sister and I walked over to the bookstore. The first book I picked up was this one. I immediately realized it was going to be good for me. I read it in about 4 days - which is a record for me reading any book, as I unfortunately am not a reader.
Chapter 2 especially hit me between the eyes, and here are a few quotes and some of my personal reflections on them afterwards...
"...overseas I had learned lessons in attentive listening, generosity, community togetherness, and doing what will matter for generations for eternity. Taking these lessons home to cram them into the shape of my American life was not coming so easily..."
"...the challenge of figuring out how to make life amazing in the land of the free, the nameless and the mundane, without the crutches of airplanes and adrenaline."
Question: "...If you could tell people how to live an amazing life, what would you tell them?"
Answer: "If you are called to be a street sweeper, sweet streets like Michelangelo painted, like beethoven composed music, or like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well." (M.L.K. Jr.)
"Where was the art and masterpiece in anonymity, invisibility, bustle and routine?
"My years overseas had taught me that short-term trips bore little resemblance to the daily routines and tedious repetitions that shape long-term overseas work even in places that least resemble our homeland...Living overseas in its purest sense, had been about seeking the kingdom of God, not seeking dazzling adventures... Like it or not, I had to learn to see and serve God, even while sweeping streets."
Chrissy Jeske has captured some of my exact thoughts. I am thankful that God is helping me realize that seeking Him needs to be my first priority. Not seeking or saving the lost - He's already done that. Not the approval of others - God has already approved of me through the death of Jesus.
My life's direction needs to be God's glory, not a location. Yes, the location is important, but it is secondary.
I want to apply what I have learned overseas to my life here. While they are two completely different worlds, I am the same person - and God is not finished with me yet!