Since I’ve arrived here in Piura so many have told me how brave I am. I hear, “you’re so brave to do what you are doing.” Hmmm….what does that mean I wonder.
In all honesty I do not know how to respond to such comments. For what does it mean to be brave? I think soldiers going off to combat is brave or the astronauts going into space is brave. How is doing what your called to do by God brave?
Sharing the gospel, the love of Jesus, the fire in your soul…is that brave? Jesus says “explicitly go make disciples of all nations.” That’s exactly what He says, but so many of us focus more on what He doesn’t say. This is what he doesn’t say, first get married & have 2.5 children with one dog and one cat. Make sure you have the right job, make sure you’re settled in the right neighborhood, remodel your kitchen etc. Do these five things and then check these items off your list and go. Nope, He never says any of these things and yet we convince ourselves these things are so important and even necessary. Or is it the world and the culture that convinces us?
I’ll freely admit as soon as I watched my friends turn the corner at the airport and my group was gone I thought “Oh no, what have I done?” “I’m here two months alone.” A slight panic set in. I cried a few tears because it was sad to say goodbye, but as doubt creeped in I caught myself and said stop – why are you doubting? You know, doubt never comes from God, nor does fear. So just stop doubting, that’s not from God. And did you notice how the focus and questions were all about me? That too is never God.
So back to being brave. What does being brave look like? Is it being alone in a foreign county? Is it not knowing the language? Is it not being in control? Or is it being and living in the midst of poverty without every day luxuries. Or is it none of these? I’m not really sure what it is to those who told me I’m brave.
To be brave one must be fearless. Now I’m not talking about anything unreasonable, like defying gravity, but being fearless and proclaiming the kingdom and living kingdom life like many of the saints. And we are all called to be saints!
How does one do that you might asking yourself? The steps and expectations I mentioned above tie and bind us up. True freedom is never found there, because true freedom comes from submitting and surrendering oneself to God. Having a intimate relationship with the triune God is first and foremost. Yet, we often worry more about what’s on the outside than the inside. No interior freedoms comes that way. Interior Freedom comes when we get out of the way and make way for the Lord to move in our lives.
Interior freedom is achieved by loving God and one’s neighbor, and by not being overly attached to any created thing (even relationships). In my opinion it’s difficult to describe interior freedom to another and yet you know when you have it or are experiencing it. Now, I’m not saying I live in complete interior freedom in all areas of my life, however I know when it’s present. There is such peace about not having to be in control, the need to know, or to be in charge. No worrying about outcomes or results, and a complete understanding that it’s not you who saves, but Christ.
When you find interior freedom what use to seem scary or crazy is now just living a life fearless for Christ. Isn’t that what the first apostles did? It’s what we are all called to do? The apostles didn’t hang back first getting their ducks in a row and checking things off their life lists before they went out. They didn’t line up their degrees, trophies and certificates either. They waited for the Holy Spirit to come upon them and fill them with power and then they went out, without looking back.
Today, sit quietly and listen. What is the Lord asking of you? Where does He want you to go? Maybe it’s right next door. Scripture says “”Follow me and let the dead bury their own dead”? from Matthew 8:22. He wasn’t talking about funerals arrangements, but the the idea that anything can come between God and the place He’s calling you too. We sometimes try to get the permission from God to skirt a calling. That is when we question our bravery, and yet all we have to do is ask for the grace. It really is that simple.