Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Grace vs. Mission

There's so much that happens in a day; in a life. Today I pulled myself up by my boot-straps and scrubbed the bathroom floor with vinegar. I smell like a pickle. I licked eight envelopes closed - all medical bills. I bought chicken on sale and browsed the lighting aisle of Lowes with my best pals, Silas and Charles. I had dinner with my family (Haven included).

This is my life. It's nothing new. It's a gift and a blessing and many times it's straight-up boring.

What is new is the constant undertow. My thoughts have shifted in recent years. It's officially something from which I cannot hide.

There are many who say that we don't have to go looking for our purpose in Christ. We don't have to try so hard. We shouldn't be searching to find something to do or be when all there is to see is Grace. I understand every point. I see the kernels of truth.

But for me, Grace and Mission are linked at the elbows. They found me together. I looked Grace in the face and found myself wanting to run red-rover between the two and join them right in the middle. There was no choosing. No overlooking.

Don't we want to share the Grace that found us? What if it requires some searching? What if it is really hard work?

I used to love the philosophy that all I needed to do was sit at home and fluff my throw pillows and wait for God to bring someone to my door. If he did, I would be nice to them. (Being nice = Being the hands and feet of Jesus, right?)

Let me be clear, I don't think we all need to be forming Bible studies in the McDonald's play area on the bad side of town. We don't need to search so hard that we contrive something uninspired.

But we need to search. My heart should scan the horizon every single day looking for that opportunity that needs me to go to it.

We've discussed my recent Mission Fail 'til we're all blue in the face. But here's one thing it's teaching me: Mission is not community service. It's not signing up to serve pizza to the poor kids then checking it off the list and resuming regular life. Mission is a heart condition. It's loving the little girl for exactly who she is even if I happen to be in "regular life" mode when she screeches from the monkey bars, even if it's not convenient and I'm not in the mood.

Man, I liked it better when I thought it could pencil it onto my calendar with Calvin's doctor's appointments and nursery duty. I could prepare myself then. I could put on my "missional" britches and greet every single Olivia* with a smile and a Popsicle. I could do a little good then go on home to fluff with a clean conscience and a small, lingering sadness for the grubby faces that smiled up at me earlier in the day.

Friends, I'm not even close to half-way there. It scares me. It makes me jittery to know this in my head before it has settled into my heart. I like to compartmentalize. I'm really good at it. I appreciate the conveniences of a well-planned life. I'm not so great at surprises.

The thing is, Jesus isn't going. He has already gone. A big part of me wants to sprint straight to where He is. I don't want to miss it. Another part tells Him it's a dumb idea to take doughnuts to the girl at the Verizon store. Give me a more normal task, God, and I'll probably do it.

This is the stretch. Right here is the strain. I'm not where I should be. I'll never be "there". But He's going with or without me. That's something I really didn't consider a few years ago.

It seems like a start.

Any and all adoptive parents: Stay tuned tomorrow! I have an exciting plan up my sleeve for us.