A Couple Things We’ve Said

A quick note:  We are living in a strange season.  People that I know, people that you know, YOU, may be going through some real financial challenges.  Some real LIFE challenges.  

What I’ve written isn’t meant to be taken as a solution.  This is simply a telling of how Nikki and I have dealt with various financial and life challenges of our own during our years together and maybe you can find a small slice of encouragement.  This is not a one size fits all answer to anything.  We are DEFINITELY not saying “do exactly what we do”…oh my goodness, no. 

We all are living a different experience.  We all have had different highs and lows in life.  We come from different backgrounds, different family situations, economic situations, etc.  Please don’t hesitate to talk with someone regardless of what you are facing.  Life is too short to “power through” and keep our mouths shut.  There are non-judgmental people that exist who are willing to hear you.  To really help you without condescension because they’ve probably been somewhere similar in their own lives.  They want to listen.  They want to walk this road with you.  Because one thing we all have in common…none of us have it figured out. 

Maybe you feel like you’re seeing your “dreams” go down the tubes or at least on shaky ground.  You were going to “retire” this year, next year, in 5 years, 10 years.  Maybe you simply don’t feel secure because that number that provided so much comfort is not what it once was or feels a bit flimsy. 

Or maybe it’s not money.  Maybe your life is “fine”, but you feel like you’re just surviving, not thriving.  You’re living the best you know, but something just feels “off” and life feels a bit foggy. 

Whatever it is. You’re filled with uncertainty and feeling various amounts of unsettled.

Uncertainty seems to have taken the throne in the minds of many.  I don’t mean this to simply be a churchy answer, but God is a God of certainty.  He has a purpose for all of this, for your life regardless of the season, for everything, He wastes nothing, and He wants to use it to increase the peace in your heart…or place peace in your heart for the first time.  To give you a new perspective.  

This is not our eternal home.  Things like what we are living through, other seasons of our lives, remind us of this.  If we ever forget this earthly home isn’t the end, then maybe this world has taken too tight of a grip.  It’s okay to loosen it. We encourage you to loosen it.  This life isn’t the end.     5/1/20

In the film Silver Linings Playbook, (a film that I am not endorsing, but also not not endorsing.  It’s a film.) Pat has just been released from a psychiatric hospital and is going home to live with his parents as part of a plea deal.  He had been in said hospital because of a bipolar disorder that had led to some violent behavior. What led to his hospital stay was his wife was cheating on him and he assaulted the guy she was cheating with so a restraining order had been placed against him by said wife, but through it all he is determined to win her back.  

Silver_Linings_Playbook_Poster

He places new habits in his life such as jogging, reading books that she (a high school English teacher) places on her syllabus, and faithfully attending mandatory counseling sessions.  

Pat’s therapist desperately wants him to continue his therapy in all of its forms, but Pat feels not all of it is necessary due to his new outlook on life….that he is now going to look for the positives, the “silver linings” if you will, in everything that he experiences.  

Pat uses the Latin phrase “excelsior,” translated as “always higher” or “ever upward,” as his mantra for his new optimistic outlook.  So regardless of the situation, from mildly annoying to downright catastrophic, he abides by his new life phrase even sometimes shouting the word out loud during difficult life events both big and small.  It helps him to focus, to regain a proper perspective, to remember who we really are and who we truly want to be.

Nikki and I have two of our own “excelsior” that we have said to one another throughout our years together.  From when we were dating during our days in seminary to just this past week over 17 years later.  

So much of a relationship are the little looks, the recognition of what the other is thinking without the need for words.  A relationship is also made up of little encouragements, little phrases said to one another that speak to a struggle, a discouragement. 

Those little encouragements can make all the difference.  Especially when life comes in like a freight train loaded with discouragement cargo looking for any mental track to use to choo-choo directly into our brains.  

thomas-the-tank-engine-1151611-1280x0Something like that…

My relationship with Nikki has been largely calm and smooth since before we were dating.  Our relationship had a rhythm to it long before we started down the road of marriage and lifelong partnership.  God’s complete grace.

But…….

The world around our marriage and partnership has been chaotic.  Full on chaos. 

Career chaos.  Relationship chaos.  Financial chaos. Ministerial chaos.  The list goes on. We’ve made mistakes in life, no doubt, but most of this chaos has simply been a fallen world falling on us.  In varying degrees I’m sure you can relate.

Has it been life and death?  Not really. Has it been a level of chaos to where we are suffering like some of our brothers and sisters around the world?  Of course not. But it’s the level of chaos that is potentially more dangerous in light of our journey with God.  Because it’s at a level that’s juuuust crushing enough to make us want to bow out.  To go numb.  To zone through life.  To fall asleep.  

This “just enough” level of chaos is the type to give us the desire to simply turn in our papers and call it a “safe” life.  Go get a “safe” job, carve out a nice calm existence, go on our vacations, get excited at our retirement account and….call it a life.  I mean, we’ll serve a bit here and there in our church, we’ll be generous and whatnot, but in the end we’ll keep it safe.

This level of chaos encourages us to spend our lives trying to convince ourselves we are “doing it right” but deep down we know we’re just dipping our toes in the water of living this life to the eternal fullest.  We’re allowing the things of this world, largely money and stuff, to be our blanket of comfort and a blanket that never quite keeps us warm. 

The just enough level that causes us to make a slight turn, a slight drift on our journey road to a more “predictable” path that makes sense…but a less impactful one…a “safer” one….and ultimately a less fulfilling one.  

Nikki and I don’t want to make the slight turn.  We don’t want to take the safer road if it means getting numb, letting this world seep into our veins, becoming impactfully dull.  To lose our verve to the life God truly desires for us.  

What we do want is to look beyond what we can see in this life and into all that we can’t in the next…yet know in our hearts it’s fully there…waiting for us on that day the Lord takes us Home.  We want our lives to count.  We want our eyes to open.  We want to wake up.

I trust you want some of these things, too.  

Because in the end we’ve found, as I’m sure you have, this world never truly satisfies.  Like a meal without seasoning.  It’s fine….but it needs something. 

This world never truly delivers, and it was never meant to regardless of how hard we try to make it happen.

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” – C.S. Lewis

So in that vein, two things Nikki and I have said to each other at least 846 or 847 times in our years together have proven vital in our lives as reminders. They are not magical.  They are not Shakespearean in their phrasing.  They are definitely not deep. They are simple phrases, but sometimes the simplest things help the most.  For example…

“Tie your shoes”  “Wash your hands”  “Be kind” “Don’t pick your nose” “Never hug a bear” 

These simple phrases have helped us to focus, to regain a proper perspective, to remember who we really are and who we truly want to be.

The first “excelsior” is temporal in nature and something people think about way too much, and we are all susceptible to placing an overly spiritual attachment to it in hopes of helping to justify our flat out obsession with it. 

Clear as mud?  It made sense in my head. 

Money.  I’m talking about money.

So off we go….

#1 – “God Math”

Nikki and I have had many, many financial challenges and we say “God math” to one another quite often.  I can say with thankfulness that very few of our financial challenges have been self-induced other than one biggie….  we’ve never taken a job based on money.  

For some this next statement about how we’ve handled money and the repeated opportunities for more of it over the years is going to make us look really foolish.  But this is how we have felt the Lord wants us to treat any and all jobs, job offers, potential jobs, etc…

We’ve never asked how much a job was going to pay.  

We’ve always had the following belief.  If we believe God wants us there, if it’s an eternal calling, whatever type of job it is, churchy job/non-churchy job, then we’re going to go regardless of the pay.  We believe if God has asked us to take the step, then God is going to provide.  

Let me say it this way in the form of a question and maybe this will sum it up….

Why would we reject an eternal calling for a temporal reason?  

Why would we reject a heavenly calling for an earthly reason?  

If we believe God is going to provide and He has asked us to be obedient in this way, then when it comes to our financial lives… 

God is in charge of the math.  

(I say this with complete sincerity and let me just get this out of the way early if you’re thinking the following….yes, you have to be wise with money…yes, you have to be careful how you spend it, use it, etc., etc.)

So we have lived by this.  But you know what? We’ve been challenged on it.  If we knew going in that our careers would have an upward trajectory, if we knew that each job we were pursuing would come with a pay increase, then it’d be pretty easy to “be obedient” and “move forward in faith” and boldness.  

But “upward career trajectory” largely hasn’t been a part of our life story.  It obviously doesn’t mean upward career trajectory is bad, this is simply the path the Lord has had us travel.  Our eyes are wide open.  We’re not naive.  And it doesn’t mean we haven’t had spiritually confused looks on our faces, looked at God and said, “Huh?”, when we sense what God wants us to do next. When that career move looks completely opposite of what it says in Chapter 3 of the book “How to Make Smart Career Decisions and Move Up in the World”.   Like I said a paragraph ago….we’ve been challenged on it, but the circle of eternal influence He has led us to has at times simply come with a less impressive title on the door. 

So all that to say….coupled with the fact that we haven’t taken jobs based on pay…and you have yourself a marriage where finances have been a consistent challenge.  So what do we do?  How do we not freak out?  

What about you?  Maybe you’re reading this and you’ve recently lost your job, your salary has been cut, a medical bill or repair of some sort has come at the worst possible time, or the physical manifestation of your “financial portfolio” is the equivalent of a worn out coffee stained manila folder that you don’t even like to think about, and it has a weird smell to boot.  

Whatever it is….whatever level of concern over money….

We weren’t created to worry about it.  And in the core of how God created us, it should be impossible to do so.

But it’s not easy.  It’s impossible…. apart from Christ.  

We equate “financial freedom” with having enough money to live “comfortably” and retire.  God’s definition of “financial freedom” is living in the freedom of knowing He is our provider, both now and for the remaining years of our lives.

Nikki has to remind me of it.  She reminds me that we’re relying on God to provide for us…not us to provide for us.  

So we say, “God math”.  We let Him handle it. Because He said He would.  

Most of the time we don’t know how He provides.  We can’t connect the dots. It doesn’t make sense, but more importantly…it doesn’t have to.  And since when did God always make sense? Honestly.

Worry over money doesn’t have to be a part of our lives.  God gives us permission to live as if He is going to provide.  He gives us permission to live free of worry over money, free of the disease of obsession over money, over anything.  

Matthew 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 

Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Another quick aside: Do we work hard?  Do we perform every job we’ve had with excellence as best we can?  Yes. Are we smart with the money the Lord allows us to use? We definitely try to do our best.  We try to be more than generous. We stay out of debt. All that stuff.  So this isn’t a slothful or lazy view of money or a view that lacks responsibility in our financial decisions, but it is a view of money that we always try to keep on the proper shelf of our minds.  When we do it…. we feel awake.   

We have had situations where there was no way the bill was getting paid.  Rent (God Math), medical bills (God Math), car repair (God Math), you name it.  God was our option. He has never failed. Ever.  

When you have an income that is not going to pay your bills, you know you are exactly where the Lord wants you to be, and your financial conscience is clean because you know you have done all that you know throughout your marriage to keep said bills as low as possible, etc., well…

It’s like going down the Screamin’ Eagle with your arms raised, screaming at the terror of the upcoming drop, the latch on your car isn’t securely fastened, and for an extra thrill you fully feel the physical and emotional impact as you regret the decision to hurriedly finish that day-old chili dog from 7-Eleven right before entering the park and yet… even through the fear….  He provides.

sixflagsFair representation…

But like the children of Israel, and unfortunately like every human ever, we have a “What have you done for me lately” kind of thing in our nature.  (It’s okay.  You can go ahead and sing a few bars from Janet Jackson.  I’ll wait.)      

God provides, we feel good, the next challenge comes, we doubt God is going to come through.  

God provides, we feel good, the next challenge comes, we doubt God is going to come through. 

Wash, rinse, repeat.  

But if it happens enough times, as God continues to come through again and again and again, you start to believe.  

You just have to be ready to get on that roller coaster. That’s faith. You can trust God as your option….or you can trust yourself.  Pick one.

So the next time you are uneasy about your finances and you find yourself asking, ”How can I solve this?” “How can I provide?”  “How am I going to afford to purchase the amount of Twinkies my diet requires?”

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…and my diet requires a-lotta Twinkies.

Instead of those questions?  Start asking God how He is GOING to provide and what part you have to play.  

Will it mean sacrifice? Probably.  But only the temporal kind.  Will it mean not financially fulfilling all that you envisioned for your life? Probably.  But remember it’s only a temporal vision not being fulfilled.  

Because the most powerful thing it will do? PLEASE DON’T MISS THIS….it will change your perspective on this life.  Change your perspective on why we are really here.  It is not to find “comfort” and then love our neighbor.  

It’s not to get…but to give.  Not to gather….but to release.  Not to drink it all in for ourselves…but to pour it all out for everyone else.  

“It is not your business to succeed, but to do right; when you have done so, the rest lies with God.”  C. S. Lewis

In our financial lives together as husband and wife this has been the single greatest thing that God has provided through our financial challenges. Not money… but perspective. It’s not that we don’t have a care in the world about money (see above: Twinkies), it’s how the world works, but we do have it in proper perspective (most days).  

Some would say to live this way is reckless. Yes. It’s 100% reckless….but only temporally.  Not eternally.  It’s not “safe” to live fully for the Lord.  But it is ultimately good to live fully for the Lord.  

This includes our finances.  We have this tendency, even if we don’t mean it, to give everything over to the Lord…. as long as we have enough cash saved up.   

Because please remember, especially if during these days you are really struggling financially and wondering how this is all going to work, the God who has provided for you today will provide for you tomorrow, next month, next year, and in 20 years when we’re old(er) and gray(er).   (It’s also helpful to make sure our definition of “God’s provision” is in good shape.  Daily manna plus what?  We struggle with it, too.)

When we take hold of this new perspective on money, when we find ourselves in the next financial pickle, all of the fear, the trepidation, the unknown that goes along with it, something happens.  Over time you realize, like those who have ridden the Screamin’ Eagle countless times, you’ve ridden this ride before. You know the turns, you know the drops, the climbs, the parts that are slow, the parts that are fast, and something changes. 

Your perspective changes when you get on that ride.

It goes from fear to expectation. From timidity to even… exhilaration?  There is joy in total dependence on Him. It’s not binding….it’s liberating.  And again, we feel awake.  Like we’re seeing new colors.  And it provides peace like nothing else.

Because you know God is going to come through like He always has before. You’re better at anticipating upcoming turns that scare you. You see them coming. They don’t bother you as much.  You can live free.  When the next market crash hits you’re more concerned about making sure you don’t burn the burgers.  It’s not being naive.  It’s living free in the knowledge that God is in control.

burnedburgers“Flip ’em!!  Uh, oh…”

We have had situations where I’ve looked at the amount in our account and it simply went up.  I looked at the amount one day and looked again later that day or the next and the amount had increased.  No explanation. Couldn’t figure out what had happened. I spent hours going through our account. All deposits and withdrawals. It would never add up.  God put the financial blessing whammy on us. 

“Must’ve been ‘God Math’.”

We have had medical bills that were going to put us in real trouble, we opened the front door to our apartment and a check fell down from the ceiling.  Surely it was shoved into the top of the door jam?  I guess?  No idea.  Wherever it fell from… 

“Must’ve been ‘God Math’.”

Early this year we were told instead of our annual tax refund we had a very large number we were going to have to pay back.  It was an ugly number, too. Four digits.  

I’d be lying if I said Nikki and I didn’t give each other a disappointed and somewhat freaked out look.  We’re not robots.

But it didn’t take long before we realized… we’d ridden this ride before.  We knew this turn. So our countenance quickly changed from fear and timidity to confidence and exhilaration.  How was God going to come through this time?  

I shared our tax situation with a few people when it happened and they asked what we were going to do, so we told them to ask us again on April 15th and we would tell them how God came through.  We didn’t know how He was going to do it, but He was going to come through. God was our option.  We had no other. 

A few weeks later He came through. We received a check from someone anonymous for more than we needed.  

“Must’ve been God Math.”

One of the great things about marriage is when one is weak, the other is strong.  When one is struggling in their faith, the other is there to pick them up.  

So whenever we have a financial challenge, when one of us is struggling with belief in God’s provision…. 

“Don’t worry…’God Math’.”  

I see so many people completely locked up over money.  And I get it.  No judgment.  Yet my indigenous missionary and humanitarian friends in extremely poor countries don’t think about it all that much.  Why? Because “financial security” isn’t a thought in their minds. It’s a farce. It’s an empty promise of tomorrow.  They live each day to survive.  They don’t have a “cash surplus” to “wisely invest” in their “financial future” and are simply thankful for their daily manna.  They live each day to please the Lord.  To live it to the fullest.  And they’re joyful.  God knows what they need. 

They have their days, but for the most part they don’t worry about what’s going to happen.  What could happen.  They trust that God will happen.  

God is our resource.  We are not self-sustaining.  He is our caretaker.  And again, this isn’t about being irresponsible with our finances.  But it is about the heart.  It is about holding on to something, trusting in something that takes the place of who we are to put our trust in.  About where we derive comfort for tomorrow.  About where our hope lies as the years go by.  

When it comes to how we were created to be, worrying about money was never meant to be a part of our make up, it was never meant to be an option.

This life is temporary.  Like the cold breath in the winter you can see…it’s there…then it’s gone. 

James 4:14 – What is your life? You are a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

God will provide what we need.  Live free.  

Which leads to the second “excelsior” in our lives.  Something that reminds us that this life is not the end.  

#2 – “Today is a One Day Mission Trip”

Life has ups and downs.  Good seasons and seasons of struggle.  The good we want to last a bit longer and the struggle we want to see come to an end, so it’s natural to speculate about tomorrow.  “Will these good days continue?”  “How long is this struggle going to last?”  Whatever the temperature, we need to take it one day at a time. 

“Today is a one day mission trip.”

Let’s start with the struggle.

This life can be brutal.  The tragedies, the disappointments that most of us have had to face a time or three are difficult, but honestly isn’t it also the little stings, the small disappointments, the million shrugs we’ve given physically and mentally day after day that say “Oh, well” and we eventually just give in a smidgen?  We slump our shoulders just a little more each day allowing ourselves to “settle in” and lose our spark just a little bit.  

It’s easy to get caught in the trap of our own minds.  Regretting the things we did.  Regretting the things we didn’t.  Worrying about tomorrow.  Carrying a backpack of regret and fear we were never meant to carry.  

Thinking about the future can be daunting, and remembering the past can be crippling.  

There’s a reason the Bible tells us to only think about today.  That’s one of the reasons I love the Bible. We want to always mystify it, make it untouchable, make it unexplainable, which all of those things can at times seem very true, but at the same time we so often forget how simple and practical of a guide it can be for everyday life.  

Matthew 6:34 – “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Hey, that sounds pretty practical!  

“Today is a one day mission trip.”    

Everyone is different. I think about the future but for me when I think about the past, when I think about certain things of the past, I cringe. It’s not just about “things I’ve done” that I regret but things I didn’t do that really sting.  God’s grace.  

I also struggle when the left hook of life I didn’t see coming causes me to buckle at the knees.  Especially those, the moment they happen, you know it’s going to leave a scar on your life.  Nikki and I have experienced these together.  Job loss, betrayal, health issues, death.  I’ll be honest….I can still remember Nikki’s face during a couple of ’em.  This life can be brutal.  

It’s moments both big and small that we remind one another… “today is a one day mission trip”.  Because we know one day, that day’s trip will be our last.  So let’s make the most of this one together because yesterday’s trip is done, and tomorrow’s has yet to arrive.  We don’t do this perfectly, but the focus helps during the tough days.  During the tough seasons.

So while talking about how life can be brutal and difficult is important, let’s also not forget to mention another aspect of this life…

Life can be amazing.  My hope is that you don’t take what I have said up until this point as proof that I am a miserable human being.  That you think I don’t draw enjoyment from life.  Now I can be a curmudgeon.  I fight being cynical.  And most days I’m convinced that my “spiritual gift inventory test” got it wrong…..my spiritual gift might very well be sarcasm.  I want my money back.

Be that as it may, I most certainly derive joy from this life. 

I am crazy about my wife.  We enjoy 99.9997% of our time together.  (I did the math.  That’s a solid percentage.) Our child could not provide more joy.  I’m a fan of my ladies.

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We thoroughly enjoy food.  We are thoroughly obsessed with music.  Several months ago we went to Pappy’s and then a concert at The Sheldon.  Perfect night. 

We enjoy the St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues, Clemson football, etc.  We love the fall season.  We are addicted to the giggles of our child.  We have a very small but close circle of men and women we trust.  We value those relationships and hold them in highest regard.  We enjoy browsing around a store, any store, for no reason whatsoever.  Nikki likes sour candy and walking around the library.  I like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and walking around Dierbergs (long story). 

(On a side, probably ridiculous, but very necessary note:  While we’re talking about things we enjoy.  I could write a book about my passion for pizza.  It seems like so many people take way too much time out of their lives arguing about liking this style of pizza, not liking that style of pizza, this city has the best, that city has the best.  I have one word for all of this arguing….”mm-kay”.  You’re wasting all of this time arguing about pizza when you could be…..eating pizza! Am I wrong?  Call me unsophisticated but when it comes to pizza, I don’t care.  If it’s called pizza…I’m in.  St. Louis style, New York style, Chicago style, Branson style (does Branson have a style?  If they do, gimme a slice), frozen, fresh, somewhere in between, whatever.  And while people duke it out arguing over their pizza choices?  I’m gonna sneak in and eat it.)

So we have great memories of relatives and friends who are no longer with us.  Great memories of our time in seminary.  Some of the best years of our lives.  

We enjoy the big moments and those moments that are small and simple.  I could go on and on.  Great life experiences.  Great life memories.  We soak it up.  We most certainly draw enjoyment from this life.  

But all of the great moments, all of the great experiences and all of the great memories of life.  All of the brutal and disappointing moments, all of the brutal and disappointing experiences, all of the brutal and disappointing memories of life….they all have one thing in common…

They’re rubbish compared to what’s coming.   

Isaiah 65:17 – “I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.

Our hearts weren’t created to be drawn to this life.  To be satisfied by what we make of it.  We’re choosing to live our best life later because our hearts in this life were created to be drawn to the next.  And in the drawing….the joy in this life increases.  The peace in this life increases.  

Because we know death is not the end.  Death is merely the middle.    

God doesn’t want us bound by temporal things when compared to eternity, keeping us locked up in these short years we have here to make an eternal impact.  There is so much more to this life than living in the shackles of a number.  Living in the shackles of failed dreams.  Failed expectations.  White knuckling it.  Hanging on for dear life. 

Or worse….droning through life.  

We remind one another, “Today is a one day mission trip.”  Yes, during the days of struggle, but especially during days of the mundane when it’s so easy to zone through it.

Please be patient with me but about 4000 words ago I wrote about the “just enough level of chaos” that makes us numb.  This also applies to satisfaction.  Let me repeat a few hundred words from 4000 words ago but replace “chaos” with “satisfaction”…. 

No, this “just enough” level of satisfaction is the type to give us the desire to simply turn in our papers and call it a “safe” life.  Go get one of those “safe” jobs, carve out a nice calm existence, go on our vacations, get excited at our retirement account and….call it a life. 

This level of satisfaction encourages us to spend our lives trying to convince ourselves we are “doing it right” but deep down we know we’re just dipping our toes in the water of living this life to the eternal fullest.  We’re allowing the things of this world, money and stuff, to be our blanket of comfort and a blanket that never quite keeps us warm, but we pull and tug and fight with it believing it will cover us if we just try a little harder. 

This “just enough” level of satisfaction causes us to simply make a slight turn, a slight drift on our journey road to a more “predictable” path that makes sense…but a less impactful one…a “safer” one….and ultimately a less fulfilling one.  

Nikki and I don’t want to make the slight turn.  We don’t want to take the safer road if it means getting numb, letting this world seep into our veins, becoming impactfully dull.  To lose our verve to the life God truly desires for us. 

What we do want is to look beyond what we can see in this life and into all that we can’t in the next…yet know in our hearts it’s fully there…waiting for us on that day the Lord takes us Home.  

We want to live a fulfilled life here in preparation for when we get There.  We want our lives to count.  We don’t want to settle. 

I trust you want these things, too.  

Because in the end we’ve found, as I’m sure you have, this world never truly satisfies.  This world never truly delivers.  It was never meant to regardless of how hard we try to make it happen.

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” – C.S. Lewis

So…..

We were created to live free.  We were created to long for something better.  To pursue something True.  Whether the days are good or the days are evil.  “Today is a one day mission trip” …meant to be pursued with an eternal longing for Home.  And that longing, that pursuit, is what makes this life eternally worth living for, giving it purpose, because He is purpose.  When we can remember this then we can truly focus, regain a proper perspective, remember who we really are and who we truly want to be

The longing.  The pursuit.  We try not to let the temporal concerns keep us from the longing for something eternally more.  Keep us from the pursuit of what’s just beyond the horizon of our lives.  Because something truly beautiful is waiting for us…waiting for you….something that has taken up residence in our hearts.

“The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing – to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from…”  C. S. Lewis

Hebrews 13:14 – For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.

Live each day as a one day mission trip.  Never looking back unless you can learn from it.  Never looking forward unless you’re professing your trust in God in it.  Because He will give us our daily bread so that we can be a living sacrifice, loving God and loving our neighbor.  

Heaven is coming and we have a life worth living for until that day arrives.  He knows our worries.  He doesn’t throw us away because of them.  We’re human.  He does want to give us the courage to live without them, so we need to ask.

We try not to worry about provision when the numbers don’t seem to add up, and even when they do…God math.  We try not to worry about yesterday or tomorrow because….today is a one day mission trip. 

We need to make the most of it.  God has a plan for it, and it doesn’t include worrying about it, as crazy as that sounds. 

To love and serve Him and to love and serve others.  Unencumbered.  Without fear.  Free. Awake. We try to keep it that simple.  Because honestly, we don’t trust ourselves if we make it any more complicated than that.  We just want to be truly awake during our years here on earth.

When we think of the next life and live in this one not bound by its worries, we’ve learned then at that moment we can truly focus, regain a proper perspective, remember who we really are and who we truly want to be.

Romans 13:11 – Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to awake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.

 

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