I have a confession to make – I’ve been living a Lukewarm Life most of my life, and am now looking for the faith and courage to step over the open door’s threshold to live a more purposeful life.
Right after Christmas, our family got away for a bit with our four boys. As our children have gotten older, it has become more challenging to spend quality time together, so I feel exceptionally blessed and grateful when we can. My 21-year old twin boys brought a bunch of books to read. They were sharing books with each other and I was curious what they were reading.
Here are some of the books they read and that I would highly recommend:
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan
Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by Bob Goff
Scary Close: Dropping The Act and Finding True Intimacy by Donald Miller
The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller
I have to say, my boys continue to surprise me – at how deeply they are thinking about life at such an early age. At their age, I never thought that much about the impact I wanted to make in this world, what my purpose in life was, or my relationship with God. I also didn’t think through what marriage was really all about before I said “yes” to my husband’s marriage proposal.
The Lukewarm Life
This week, I finished reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan. The chapter on living a lukewarm life really struck me. Much of my life, I’ve played it “safe.” I’m not a risk taker by nature and risking my comfortable life feels a bit scary. But, I’ve been wondering a lot lately about what life is really meant to be. There’s got to be more to life than just working day in and day out, or retiring and then sitting back and enjoying the rest of our life playing golf, tennis or doing whatever we like. Shouldn’t we be doing something to make an impact that will make this world a better place before we’re gone?
The idea of us just existing with no purpose doesn’t make sense to me. Were we truly created just to let our life drift by day by day? Humans by our very nature want to feel relevant, needed, wanted.
The other night, I watched the documentary, “The Minimalists.” Accumulating material possessions doesn’t lead to happiness because we are never satisfied. Being a minimalist might reduce stress and give us more time to do more meaningful things, but I’m not sure it brings happiness either. I think the key is knowing we have a purpose in life, trying to discover what that is, and taking action to fulfill that purpose.
The Purposeful Life
For me personally, I feel most fulfilled and purposeful when I’m helping someone in need, whether it’s being a friend to someone that needs a friend, cooking for someone in need of nourishment, or taking care of someone who can’t take care of themselves. I believe we can all make a difference, in small ways and bigger ways – our purpose is never over. Even my 89-year old father and 90-year old aunt whose health is declining continue to live purposeful lives by being gracious, staying positive, never complaining or self-pitying, always thankful, ever faithful. This is what true grace looks like.
Loving the Unloved and Forgotten
This quote by Mother Theresa really hit me hard recently:
We are all lonely at times. But imagine being completely alone – feeling like nobody cares and that if you died tomorrow that no one would even notice. That to me is truly tragic.
It’s not hard to help friends in need, but it is hard to help people we don’t know or might not even like. It requires us to step outside of our comfort zone, forgive people that might have hurt us, sacrifice our own desires, our time, and our resources. But, if we can do it, and do it with joy, without complaining, and do it truly from the heart, I believe there is much we can gain that no material possession can ever satisfy.
I’ve lived a lukewarm life most of my life. Sure, there have been periods when I’ve taken risks and gone all out to help people I don’t know, and those times have been the greatest growth spurts I’ve experienced. But, I have to admit that I live a lukewarm life most of the time. What holds me back from going all out? The fear that I will have to sacrifice so much of my time (selfishness), the fear that I’ll get too stressed out (not trusting God), and the fear that I’ll miss out with time with my family (in God’s world, everyone should be our family).
Jesus said “Follow me.” He did not say follow me when you have time, or when it’s convenient for you. He didn’t say all you have to do is check the box that says I’ve done my share or I’ve done enough. There is always more we can do.
What Did You Do With Your Life?
I want to make the most of life here on earth. As a Christian, I believe I will go to heaven one day, but that’s not the end story. I never used to give much thought to what life would be like in heaven other than it’s going to awesome. However, I now realize that the time I have here in this world is really for training and preparation for heaven. I’ll have a new “job” in heaven. And when God asks me what I did with my life with what He gave me, I don’t want to utter with great embarrassment “Not much.” I want to have a meaningful answer that a father would be proud of.
So, I’m challenging myself to live a more deliberate, all-in life, looking for where needs are and trying to fill them using the gifts and talents God has given me. Instead of hesitating at the threshold of the doorway, stepping over the threshold and trusting that God will equip and guide me to complete the tasks I am called to do.
I ask God for the strength and courage I need to do this. It’s scary and I know it’s not going to be easy.