We all live in a tension between seeming opposites, sliding between one extreme and the other as though we were children sliding back and forth across the kitchen floor in our footie pajamas.
We want to accomplish much during our day, and we wish we could curl up on the couch with a book or the remote.
We plead with a good god for help when things fall apart, and we wonder how any god but the cruelest sort could watch while life disintegrates.
We would die for our children, and we feel a strong urge to toss them out any nearby window.
We long to dream big and serve those who are suffering and downtrodden, and we despair that anything we could do could possibly make any difference.
We desire to follow after Christ with all that we are, and we secretly speculate whether He even exists.
Emotions are fickle and are often the source of these tensions that send us skidding back and forth in an attempt to live well. Even on our best days when we yearn to serve God with all of our heart, we feel unsure of what that really means.
One day we think that perhaps we should sell our home and move to the inner city. The next we think that perhaps God wishes for us to love our right-now neighbor whose cat has just dug up our roses.
One day we think that we should create something beautiful that will point millions to God. The next we think that we should write a letter to our uncle who needs to hear about love.
One day we think that God asks us to sacrifice much and preach gospel to those who despair. The next we think that God asks us to be obedient in small ways with the family and friends He has placed around us.
What do we do with these tensions? What do we do with these competing wishes and desires? Does God ask for big dreams and risky sacrifices or does He smile upon small acts of faithfulness and childlike demonstrations of obedience?
I am learning that He gives varying numbers of talents to different people, even varying tasks to the same people in different stages of their lives.
I am learning that He asks us to wait patiently for His call, to take one step of faith at a time, to carry out one obedient act that may lead to more. I am learning that He asks us to continue living in tension, knowing that those who get comfortable are not as easy to move, knowing that those who feel most at home in this world are not readying themselves or anyone else for a perfect home.
I am learning that just living in peace with this tension, taking each next step as He guides, is what we are meant to do, even when it doesn’t feel like quite enough.