Today's photo is of my Aunt Mary Ann and Uncle Dave, taken at Thanksgiving this year. It's the sixth day of the second week of Advent, and yesterday was rough. I talked about this back in October, and I talk about it on the About page. Sometimes, my life in Owosso stops making sense. Yesterday was one of those times.
Standing in the hallway at the high school, waiting to go in and watch Abby perform with the Symphony Band, I ran out of reasons to be living in Owosso. Looking around the hallway, it seemed like an insane decision. Every other person, it seemed, was there supporting their children or their grandchildren. And me? No children, no grandchildren. No family of my own, no worldly reason to live in this city, to be at this school, to have anything to do with any of this.
In that moment, a lot of ugliness ran through my mind: "I am an outsider. Here I am living and working in this community that has nothing to do with me. I'm single. I'm 25. This is a city for families. I have no family. I'll probably never have a family. I'm a loser and an outcast. Nobody wants me here. I have no idea what I'm doing."
But then, thankfully, I sat down to listen to the music. And then we got up and we went home. And then we sat around in the living room, laughing and joking and smiling. And sitting there with Marlene and Ted and Abby, everything made a lot more sense. Living in Owosso - sure, that makes no sense. But sitting here in this living room? That makes perfect sense. I love these people, and I'm here for a reason. I'm here to build a church, to fight poverty, to help run a non profit, to start a business, to build a city that is on earth as it is in heaven.
And sitting there, I was reminded of these words, spoken by N.T. Wright, to an audience of undergrads at Wheaton:
"Jesus did not say to his disciples, 'Yeah, I've got a great plan for your life'. He said: 'Anyone [who] wants to come after me, let them deny themselves and take up the cross and follow me'. Whenever God is at work, there is a cost. Whenever we are called to follow Jesus, there will be a cross ... Whenever we discover that we are gifted in particular ways and want to use those for the glory of God, rather than for our own glory, then there will be something which causes us pain."
And so, according to this teaching, I will probably continue to have these moments of insecurity. The giving us myself is painful, and will continue to be. That doesn't mean that I'm not doing it right. That means that I'm a Christian.
I'm grateful to be surrounded by friends and family that love me. I'm even more grateful to belong to a church that takes as its mission: the making our city, through the power of God, on earth as it is Heaven. I'm grateful to be called into that work with them. I'm grateful to be here.