08 April 2008

Finding Your Voice

A friend of mine -- Shawn -- recently came to what is (I believe) a life-altering decision.
He decided to change his FOCUS.

Instead of making everything in his life orbit around his political passions, he has decided to walk out his faith in his daily life and let the chips fall where they may. Whether or not this walk will lead to a life in politics or another public forum remains to be seen; He is leaving that up to God. For now, he's focusing on what is really important: being Jesus to the lost, the poor, the homeless, and the "unloved."
I think that is admirable.

Don't get me wrong; I'm all for ambition and goals and changing the world... but sometimes I wonder if we are going about it all wrong? Do we Christians actually stop and think about what we are doing and why?

Are my actions and pursuits ultimately for GOD'S glory or my own?
Do my efforts and actions add to His kingdom or do they possibly detract by distracting me from what I really should be doing?

It's a common trap:
One gets caught up in a certain political view, or a theological argument, or a social justice cause and everything else falls by the wayside.
And we delude ourselves into thinking, "Well, God put this passion in my heart, so obviously, I should act upon it."
We seem to think
if I don't do it, who will?

Sometimes, however, our greatest gifts can actually become DISTRACTIONS from what is truly important.
We can get so focused on an IDEA, and become totally oblivious to the hurting world around us.

When we get to eternity, which will be more important:
The number of articles we had published or the number of souls we led to Christ? Will priority be given to titles and degrees or will God ask us how many of His sheep we have fed?

I believe that we, as Christians, are given two objectives in this life:
1)Lead the lost to Christ
2) Care for the poor, the orphaned, the widowed, the "forgotten".

Again, I'm not saying that one can't live an ambitious life, seeking Truth and justice, but mercy should always trump justice. We should never be SO determined to prove our point or push our cause that we trample over souls in the process. We need to keep our focus on Christ and allow Him to lead us in the use of our gifts.

There was a time when I was determined to go to law school.
I was pre-law the latter half of my undergrad years and during graduate school. I was even an officer in our local chapter of the national law fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta, and I studied extensively for the LSAT.

My dream was to become a Civil Rights attorney and fight against injustice in the world. I hate racism and sexism and any kind of prejudice that goes against the nature of God.
I wanted to change the world.
I wanted my voice to be heard.

But something stopped me from going further with this dream... I could say it was my children, or my health, or even our move to another state, but none of that would be truly honest.
Deep down, inside, there was a check in my spirit that made me know this was not the path I was meant to take.
I would have to find my "voice" another way.

Fast forward several years and here I am today, even further from my former dream of becoming a lawyer. Do I have any regrets? Not at all.
I have a new dream. =)
The way I see it:
As a lawyer, I might have been able to right a few wrongs and heal a few wounds, but how much good could I really do? And who was I really trying to impress?

Changing one's focus does not mean denying or ignoring the gifts and talents God has entrusted to us.
I think my "voice" is heard each week when I sit and pray with a woman who is homeless and destitute.
I think God smiles when I hand a bag of groceries to a young mother struggling to make ends meet.
When I hand a rose to a stripper who thinks that no one really cares about her, I have achieved far more than I ever could in a courtroom. And I have the privilege of serving alongside other Kingdom-focused individuals who I respect so much!

It's true; I may have sacrificed my business "power" suit for a red SERVE shirt, but it's a trade I'm content to make.

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