I’ve been home from Cambodia about eight months now, which included a short 6-week adventure to Europe, so technically… I’ve only been home six and a half months. In the eyes of most missionaries or expats, my re-entry has still been short, so I’m trying to give myself some grace.
I have moments when I feel myself blending in rather well in America, and other times I want to cry and curl up in a ball and never leave my house.
I see parents feel pressure to buy their children the most expensive shoes or newest tech device, often because they want their child to fit in or not hear their child’s complaints each and every evening. Sometimes, I don’t blame them…. and other times, I want to scream “WHOOOOO CARREEESSSSSS?!?!?!?!?!?” NONE OF THIS STUFF MATTERS!!!!!!!”
I see people who try to restrain from eating out so often to save money because of their own personal convictions, but their friends pick on them and tell them they’re not social enough.
I know people who won’t buy the newest car or iPhone available, and then I see others question that decision because they claim “it’s not safe” to have such an old car, or “everyone has iPhones… they make your job easier.”
I can see it now.
I understand it better.
Not everyone is a shallow, excessive consumer that we claim him or her to be. Maybe they just don’t want to hear opinions from everybody else on how they’re choosing to live their life, so they choose to just fit in. It’s so exhausting.
These are issues in life that fall into the category of personal convictions, and are often rather good, Christ-centered convictions.
And you know what’s crazy? It’s other Christians who don’t allow these people to live up to them. I’m not here to tell you each and every personal conviction I have because that’s not the point, but I know that I have spent much time in prayer and sat through agonizing moments with the Lord to figure that out. And if that’s what my fellow brother or sister in Christ has done also, then I’m going to let them live it out.
I’m not going to tell them to “lighten up”… or “everybody has one and it’s fine”… or “it’s not that big of a deal.”
It IS a big deal.
I live in such tension after returning from overseas that I can’t help but be uncomfortable each and every day whilst questioning my motives and wondering if how I am choosing to live my life is honoring Christ in the best way.
I read this last night in Barefoot Church by Brandon Hatmaker (...and I almost hopped out of bed and shouted it from my dark rooftop):
"Can we ever have our cake and eat it, too? Many say no... so we choose one as a priority and give to the other whatever's left. It's easier to choose one or the other, yet Scripture never releases us from either. Our journey is not about finding a place where we no longer have to struggle to balance this. According to the Bible, the goal is not to live without the struggle; the goal is to find God and deny ourselves throughout the struggle."
Sometimes we need to allow people to change. We need to let the Lord work in them. Many are desperate for it and as the church of Christ, we must allow it.
May we accept this struggle every day. And find God in it.