So, what the howdy heckin' hay am I doing out in Colorado anyway? I'm not really sure. Not that there are a lack of good reasons to be here... mountains, family, an abundance of coffee shops, red rocks, hippies... see, all kinds of good reasons! But still, to give some more purpose to my new adventure... and so as not to change my hippie-wanna be status too much, I have decided to take on a new challenge. I've also just been needing a good spiritual kick in the pants.
A couple of months ago I read Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream. Carrie had recommended it to me and then let me borrow her copy. It was a short read with a big impact. The title is pretty self explanatory as to the goal of the book but to give you yet a better taste, I'll share an excerpt from David Platt:
“You and I have an average of about seventy or eighty years on this earth. During these years we are bombarded with the temporary. Make money. Get stuff. Be comfortable. Live well. Have fun. In the middle of it all, we get blinded to the eternal. But it’s there. You and I stand on the porch of eternity. Both of us will soon stand before God to give an account for our stewardship of the time, the resources, the gifts, and ultimately the gospel he has entrusted to us. When that day comes, I am convinced we will not wish we had given more of ourselves to living the American dream. We will not wish we had made more money, acquired more stuff, lived more comfortably, taken more vacations, watched more television, pursued greater retirement, or been more successful in the eyes of this world. Instead we will wish we had given more of ourselves to living for the day when every nation, tribe, people, and language will bow around the throne and sing the praises of the Savior who delights in radical obedience and the God who deserves eternal worship.”
I have to say that it certainly is easy to get comfortable living the American Dream. While a big, brand new home in a safe neighborhood with a super successful bread winner, a couple of perfect children and a cute little pupster may not be my current dream, I certainly like to live comfortably and am constantly dreaming of my next big adventure/vacation. And yes, I do have the dream of owning my own home and filling it with all my wonderful junk. If it starts becoming obsessive, I justify it by telling myself I just want one of those old cheapo homes in Fountain Square and most of my belongings will be thrift store finds and garage sale snags.
So see, I'll hardly be spending any money on my dream home! And for that matter, I'd be happy to cruise the country on a Greyhound bus and stay with strangers to fulfill my adventures. So for me, it may not be the biggest, best, newest, shiniest, and most expensive that entices me and therefore lets me think, "Bigger and better? Nope, that's not me. Guess I'm not hung up on the American Dream."
But don't worry, I know I've not escaped from getting caught in our cultural trap. It's become all too easy to simply try and be a nice person striving to be a smart, capable, independent person. While there is certainly nothing wrong with being a nice person who is also smart, capable and independent, there is a problem when these qualities become the main focus and aim of my life. I strive after these qualities because I want to be well liked and happy. And in that process, I seek to make much of myself. This is where those good qualities become ugly. My goal in life is not to make much of myself but to Make Much Of My GOD.
At the end of his book, Platt gives a list of five things that he challenges readers to implement in their life over the next year.
The One Year Challenge
1. Pray for the entire world
The goal is to pray specifically for each country of the world... a bit of a daunting task! First of all, knowing the name of each country will require some investigation, not to mention knowing what kind of needs that country has and how to pray for them. Fortunately, my job has been made tremendously easy thanks to Operation World. They give a list of all of countries and then give demographics and prayer requests for each. Now I have no good excuse not to pray specifically for each country of the world!
2. Read through the entire Word
I have decided to read through the Bible chronologically and am currently working my way through Job.
3. Sacrifice my money for a specific purpose
I have always been completely content with my freebie cell phone... until recently. Mom and Courto both upgraded to an iPhone a while ago, giving me the opportunity to hold one of those fancy smart phones in my grubby hands. It didn't do too much for me at first. But then, I would find myself constantly asking them to look up where this restaurant was or what that word meant, etc. I was starting to get the bug. Then I'd be out by myself, trying to figure out the name of that one town that is home to the World's Largest Egg, reach for my phone, look down and remember, "Oooooh, that's right, I haven't made that upgrade yet.... where are my trusty iPhone toters when I need them?!" I knew things were getting desperate. I really wanted an iPhone. Heck, I needed one! I mean, how can one go about not knowing where the World's Largest Egg is? Not to mention, if I had an iPhone, I could get that sweet looking Volkswagen cover for it! Anyway, all this rambling is getting to a point. And here it is: I have decided to continue to delay my purchase of an iPhone. The money I will not be spending on a monthly data plan, I plan to give away. As to the specific purpose I will give it for, I have yet to figure out.
4. Spend my time in another context
While I probably won't be going back to Mzuzu, Malawi for a month, the idea is to spend some time, a weekend, week, month or the whole year in another city, state or country helping someone in need. Where this goal will take me is still unknown.
5. Commit my life to a multiplying community
My multiplying community - a place of spiritual accountability, encouragement, and growth - will no longer be my beloved Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis but I will be looking for a new church family here in the Springs.
So yes, there are still a lot of unknowns in this new Colorado adventure but this one year challenge does put some good goals in front of me as I begin this new undertaking.