Tuesday, August 7, 2018

bearded man from the dollar general

I was standing in line at the Dollar General. The bearded guy in front of me was an old friend I've known my whole life, like most people in this town. He was happy and told me he and his wife had decided on a name for their little boy. We left the store and continued our conversation in the parking lot, as he asked me about Hong Kong and my future. 

I gave him a one sentence summary of my life; that I'd be in Asia until December, then move in with my sister's family in Kentucky to help at their church for a year.

“Isn’t it cool that you can live so free?” 
He smiled and appreciated my life, right there in the Dollar General parking lot. 

A few minutes later, as he told me about the nursery they’re preparing for the new son, working a 9-5, and that he was on a snack run for his wife, I felt the difference between our lives. I don't know what it's like to live his, nor he mine, but I know we both get the opportunity to live "so free."

I don’t know about owning a house or decorating a nursery for a baby of my own or having a husband get me snacks. But it sounds awesome and I’m sure it is. 

I know what it’s like to live with women from Africa in a house in the mountains of Hong Kong and rejoice that our pasts are washed clean.  

Both me and my bearded friend, we're alive for the same purpose; to be loved by God, to love Him back, and to help everybody on the globe know that's why they're alive, too. 

Being home this trip has been different. I’ve had lots of feelings to sort through and Jesus is in the middle of all of them; loving me and telling me I don’t have to be afraid. “I’m here” He says over and over. 

I've had a tendency to start grumbling about my life. The sorry-for-myself feelings have been giving their A-game and I guess it's the same for everyone; we get plenty of chances to decide we're not going to let self-pity stay. My bearded friend could get down in the dumps that he's got to be at work every day at 9, while I could cry for myself that I have to buy my own snacks at the Dollar General, and we both could let self-pity take all the hope and fun and Jesus-likeness out of our perspectives. But let's not. 

When I'm feeling self-pity, I'm not agreeing with the truth that Jesus says to me. Getting alone with Jesus- for me that looks like a Bible, a journal, lots of colored markers, usually some twinkle lights and a candle, and often a cup of coffee- fixes self-pity. He tells me the truth and changes my mind. 

"So free" are two words God wants to write over all of our lives. When I'm listening to King Jesus' words to me, I start agreeing with the bearded friend from the Dollar General. "So free" was bought for us by Jesus. It kills self-pity, pulls us out of the down dumps, and fills us with joy about the lives we're living. 

We can all be people who change the world with the size of God’s Heart living in us. When the focus of our lives becomes letting Him love us and helping us love him back, people notice. Then He changes their focus to love, too, and we all get to be "so free" together. That's what His love does. We get to live these "so free" lives in Hong Kong, Kentucky, and everywhere in between. Red light districts and family dinner tables; they both get to be places we pour our love into and places where freedom grows.

We get this one life to live and God lets us choose what we do with it. If we choose a 9-5 in the U.S. or a move around the world with the Gospel, let’s let our lives be filled with surrender and listening to Jesus whisper truth into our hearts and letting Him make love grow in us while we live "so free." 

His job is to extend the lordship of Jesus Christ into every part of society and to take His Good News to every person on the planet. As the Lord of the harvest, He will tell us the part of the field where we are to work.”
-Loren Cunningham 

Make your life a prayer. And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God's perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus.
-1 Thessalonians 5:17, TPT