Friday, January 14, 2011

I like to play it safe.

My life isn't turning out like I thought it would.

And yet I have everything I ever thought I always wanted: a loving husband, two sweet daughters, a family pet, a nice house, a good job, wonderful friends, family nearby.

Something is missing.

I have recently been so convicted that I am not living out my faith like I had idealistically in college thought I would be doing. Going to Auburn was the first time I didn't play it safe. I didn't even consider it a choice until February of my Senior year of high school when all of my safe choices were annoying me to no end, and then I chose to go to a place where I knew no one. (What was I thinking?) Going there opened my eyes to taking risks and being radical. Of course I made my mistakes, but I also fell in love with the Lord. I learned about discipleship, and I felt the cost of it. My goal was to help people find the Lord and find Salvation. My college experience lead me into ministry. So idealistically bright-eyed and wonder-filled, I leapt against the grain and dove into making a difference in the lives of college students at my rival campus.

While I loved and cherished many of my ministry experiences, I also was met with the greatest disappointment I have ever experienced in my Christian life. I have never been more discouraged that when church elders, ministers, members turned blind eyes to the corruption of one of its beloved leaders, and in turn, their backs on me and another colleague.

Even though my family and friends enveloped me in love and support, I ran. Thankfully, I ran to Patrick. If anything good came from my heartbreak, it was that I ended up in the same town as my husband who had been waiting so patiently for me to choose him. We married shortly after, and I healed... sort of.

Patrick experienced his own disappointments in ministry, and two broken spirits prayed and asked God to take us out of it. We moved to Nashville, got great new jobs, and started our family. We tried out churches, briefly settled at one, and after other disappointments and discouragements, sought refuge at my home church. Along the way, the corruption that I thought had ruined me during my ministry stint was brought to light, but I found no satisfaction, no redemption, in that either. I just kept going through the motions of playing church and living *mostly* right.

I like to have a plan for my life. I like to keep a budget and really adhere to it. I like to have goals and meet them. I like to save money for something special. I like that my daughters are 2 years apart. I like that Patrick and I moved back to Nashville. I like that we go to the church I was raised in.

However, that all brings me to where I--discontentedly--sit now.

I am not discontent in my marriage, with my children, in the other wonderful things that fill my life, but I am discontent because I don't know that I am living sacrificially.

It's not about me.

It's not. I always get annoyed at people's facebook profiles where in the about me section, they write "it's not." But really... It's not. I pray about so many specific things in MY life, but the only significance about MY life is that it should glorify MY God. So, it's not about my wounds or my goals or my possessions. It is about living in such a way that reflects my overwhelming love for my Creator. For nothing being as important as my desire to serve Him.

I know that my human flaws are real, and they are there so that God's grace can cover me. I am not aiming for perfection, and I even acknowledge the things in my life that have spiritual value--teaching my daughters about God's love for them and how to love others, working on my marriage so that my daughters can see what imperfect but God-honoring marital love can look like, worshipping God in community. But I even want those things to be more glorifying to Him than satisfying to me.

Somewhere along the way, my disappointments with church, with people who I thought were good, with ministry made me put my guards back up. It made me want to play it safe again. I let my guard completely down and got burned, and I wasn't going to let that happen again. So I played it safe. I play at church. I play at being a Christian. I am not being a true disciple. I've made it about me.

I once wrote an article about the cost of discipleship; I really thought I "got" it, and right now, I am not sure what my discipleship is costing me. How is my life different because I am a Christian? Am I living an obedient life? Am I willing to not play it safe again... to go where God calls me, to minister as He urges me, to invest, to purge?

Where I am feels scary. It feels desperate. But for the first time in a LONG time, it feels freeing. For the first time in a long time, I am asking God, What do you want my life to be? And I'm ready to play it not-so-safe.

"I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying, for he speaks peace to his people, his faithful ones." ~Psalm 85:8


We are BLESSED. said...

Great post, Kristy. I "get you" on so many levels here, being kind of in the same situation (I don't have the ministry background, but definitely the ministry "burns" and disappointments.) And let me just tell you that although it ended in a not-so-ideal way, you made a huge difference in my life while you were at UCC; your investment in me, your encouraging notes, your honesty, your book recommendations, your humor, your prayers... they made a huge difference in my life and I consider you one of those "lights along the way" for me, as my Grandmother says about people like you, people that maybe even unknowingly or unintentionally show you the Father's love and give you reason to believe that He is a good Father. So be encouraged in that! (And you've been a huge encouragement since then, too.)

Great post!

Melissa said...

Thanks for being so honest and transparent. Interesting to know what's been going on in your life for the past several years. I will pray that the lord gives you a peace and an amazing rest in him....then and only then will you know what he has for you. I am not good at this, but I know he is the only one who can compell us to love others sacrificially. Thank you for sharing your life... You have blessed me tonight. Oh and congratulations on your newest little princess!

Kiera said...

Very encouraging and thought provoking. I feel like we have alot of things in common and the words you wrote are so close to my heart. Being in the ministry really made/makes me "play" alot of things because of the very things you wrote about. Thank you for opening my heart and mind to being so not-so-safe. I really need to hear that today!

Holly-- The Storm Chaser said...

This post is exactly what I needed to read. I am struggling with many of the same things. Thanks for sharing so candidly.

Jesse Faris said...

This is a really real post. And I love that. Thanks for sharing your heart, friend. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst..."

Rebekah said...

Loved this post, so honest and true! He never promised life would be easy, but unfortunatley at times it feels downright TOO HARD!! I struggle with this too Thank you for blessing me with your words. Love you.