I love y’all.  I really do.

The comments you made on my post yesterday (as well as the private e-mails many of you sent) have been a bigger encouragement than I could possibly tell you.  Thank you, thank you.  I urge everyone to read through those comments, when you have time, because there are some seriously wise women out there in bloggy-land.  How’d you get so smart?

The truth is, while there are plenty of foggy, anguished moments like the one I wrote about yesterday, there are some very sweet moments as well, moments in which I feel God bringing some things into beautiful clarity.

My emotional response is to sell everything I own and move to Uganda and disdain America, etc.  The less-glamorous reality is that there really is much I can do here.  I’ve hesitated to say it, because it kind of sounds like a cop-out–but there is something to be said for the "givers", the people in America whose life situation is such that they can give, and give, and give to those doing the work in the field.  One of the things I most love about Compassion is that they’re not an organization of Westerners swooping in to "rescue" the locals.  They’re a funding arm that empowers the locals to rescue themselves.  Big difference.

(And by the way, I know my FAQ on Compassion details is long-overdue.  I’m working on it, I promise.)

Furthermore, God offers grace and compassion to wealthy, misguided Americans, too.  Shouldn’t I?  The blindness caused by too much stuff can be a very powerful trap (oh-have-mercy, I’m speaking from experience).  African children aren’t the only ones who need deliverance–rich people do too.

Still furthermore (I’m on a roll, baby!), I think it’s important for us to acknowledge that God is not limited, but we humans are.  My husband and I feel very convicted to determine very specifically what God is calling us to do right now–we want to follow Him with maximum obedience.  But when we’re doing that–when we’re faithfully obedient to do what He’s leading–there is great freedom to rest and live in joy.  There is room to gratefully and humbly laugh with my kids and love on my husband.  Dare I say it?  I think there’s even room to enjoy my hot showers and my Sam’s Club lasagna and my Lost

Reader Sherry shared the most wonderful quote (thank you, Sherry!):

Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special attention to those who, by the accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you.

– St. Augustine of Hippo

I have officially gotten off my duff.  I’m not sure yet what my life will look like in six months or ten years, but I know Who does.  Both in the fog and out of it, I’m going to take it a step at a time, knowing that my comfort zone will likely get smashed a few more times. 

Get off your duffs with me, my friends!  You can start right here.  If you haven’t stepped outside your comfort zone lately, I’ll tell you, the view from here is pretty fine. 

14 thoughts on “Unfogging

  1. LeeAnn (AKA Frazzmom) says:

    Well said and Amen!
    I don’t know where God is calling my husband and I to be in the future- we are praying about full time missions work in Africa… But God has been teaching me to concentrate on what I can do now- while I’m waiting…

  2. Lightening says:

    Please keep writing like this!!! I think I need to hear it and be reminded. I’m finding it very challenging right now not to get swept away in the busy-ness and materialism that is the Western world (and I don’t even live in the US – although Australia has many similarities). I actually wonder if it’s harder to be a lone voice in the wilderness than to go overseas….maybe not harder but has as many challenges (even if they are different challenges).
    I think you are amazing and strong and wise. And you’re in a position to really USE the voice you have to make a difference in many peoples lives.
    It’s also important to keep in mind that God often works in spite of us rather than because of us. All we need to have is an open and willing heart and he does the rest. 🙂

  3. jenny says:

    Last year when I went to Mexico I had some of you same responses. Although Mexico is in better shape than Uganda, povety is still povety. The first month or so, I cried a bucket of tears. One of the hardest things for me was not being able to stay in touch with a couple of the women who I connected with. One lady named Olga, really grabbed my heart. But as time went on I have been able to let it become part of who I am and not just a part of where I have been. (If that makes sense.) We are going back this summer if all the details work out and I dread it on one hand and on the other I am so excited I can’t wait!
    Have a great day, and remember to let the experience change you so that you realize that while the physical povety is horrible there it is only for time, but the spiritual povety here has eternal consequences.

  4. warillever says:

    It is fitting that you quote St. Augustine. Despite a Christian education, he was an idle young man that flirted with heresies and dissolute behavior. In his 30s he experienced a moral crisis that brought him back to Christ.
    To some smaller degree you have put us all in the same position of reconsidering what God is calling us to do. Now we just need to sort out what that means in our lives.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Let’s not forget about the poor and needy in our own country. Lots of people need help in our own backyards.

  6. Anne says:

    You hit upon the key right here:
    “When we’re faithfully obedient to do what He’s leading”
    That’s where the rubber meets the road; that’s where the Christian needs to be living each moment of each day!
    Good post!

  7. Llama Momma says:

    I’ve often commented to my husband that it would be much easier to love my neighbor if I lived in Africa or Mexico. My heart swells with love for the poor, the downtrodden.
    But the rich lady next door? Notsomuch.
    To share God’s love and hope in my well off suberb? A constant challenge.
    Many years ago my husband was at an Urbana conference and felt the call of God on his life to GIVE. To SEND. And so we have settled into a lifestyle that is comfortable, but significantly less than we can afford. And we give.
    And the blessings? I cannot begin to count them.

  8. pam says:

    “But when we’re doing that–when we’re faithfully obedient to do what He’s leading–there is great freedom to rest and live in joy.”
    So, so true. That makes all the difference in the world. Well said, my friend.

  9. Shalee says:

    I love that quote. We can’t do it all, but all we have to do is to love like crazy… just like Jesus did.
    Thanks Shannon for taking that huge step from your comfort zone and letting us watch as God changes you, seeing the good that is being done. Please know that as he is shifting you, he is reforming many of us as well. It hurts, yet it feels so good.
    Love you, my little shape changer!

  10. Marianne says:

    Well said!
    And I think you’re being harder on yourself than you need to be; you’ve not been sitting on your “duff”, you’ve been noodling your way through a life-changing experience – and sharing it with all of us.
    That’s a brave thing to do.

  11. MizFit says:

    didnt think I needed the prodding —-BUT I SO DID.
    duff? consider yourself leaped off.
    and comfort zone (DEEP BREATH) Im leaving ya.
    thanks for the post.

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