Faith. What do you think of when you hear the word? Religion? Spirituality? Magic? Mumbo-jumbo?
I said this career change was a step of faith. And I meant it. As the day approaches to my “unemployment”, I’m trying to rely on my faith more and more. However, it doesn’t “feel” comfortable. As a matter of fact, faith feels kind of foolish. Each time a person asks,
“So, what are you going to be doing?” or
“Have you found a job?” or
“How’s the job search going?”
I really just want to shrivel up and hide. I can see the disapproving looks. I can almost hear their thoughts,
“She must be crazy to quit a stable job in this economy.”
“Why would she quit a career she says she loves to do who-knows-what?”
“If she really was a Christian, she’d just tough it out.”
Sometimes, I don’t even have to imagine, the questions come point-blank:
“If you really have a calling on your life, why don’t you go somewhere else to teach?”
I can only say that I’m trying to do what God wants me to do. No one else can tell me. And that is a little bit scary.
Faith feels like walking in the dark in a house you’ve never been in and expecting not to fall. Or as Martin Luther King Jr. put it, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” I’ve taken the first step…and I have yet to see the next one. This is the part where some fall. If I fall, I fall. But, I believe He will catch me.
The best illustration of faith I’ve ever heard was over 20 years ago from my pastor. He told about a tightrope walker that crossed the Niagara Falls. A crowd had gathered and many were amazed at this feat. He crossed several times more, each act more death-defying than the next, blindfolded, in a sack, and even on a stilts. Of course, news was spreading each time, and crowds gathered to watch. One observer asked another, “Do you believe that tightrope walker can cross pushing a wheelbarrow?” “Yes, of course,” the other replied. They both watched as the man successfully crossed. Then the observer asked his friend, “Now, will you get IN the wheelbarrow and let him push you across?” He refused. And to me, that is a great visual of faith. Many times we believe things for other people or we believe what God says, but we refuse to “get in” the wheelbarrow and let God push us across. (As a side note, I had thought for years this was a parable, but there is a true story behind it! See http://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/dr-ray-pritchard/the-great-blondin-and-true-saving-faith.html)
I don’t want the fear of appearing foolish, or fear of falling to keep me from experiencing everything God has to offer. I can’t guarantee things. As a matter of fact, things are looking pretty uncertain right now. I love what Mark Batterson, author of In A Pit WIth a Lion on a Snowy Day, has to say about this:
Most of us have a love/hate relationship with uncertainty. We hate negative uncertainties — the bad things that happen that we didn’t expect to happen. We don’t like pink slips, IRS audits or flat tires. No fun. But we love positive uncertainties — the good things that happen that we didn’t expect. Flowers for no reason. An unsolicited bear hug from your kids. A surprise birthday party. But here’s the thing: You can’t have it both ways.
Oswald Chambers put it this way: “Certainty is the mark of the common-sense life: gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life.” So, isn’t faith actually embracing the uncertainties of life? And when we do come out on the other side….there’s always a story to tell, and that makes it worth it all.
How are you living your life in a way that is worth telling stories about?