“We’re going to miss it somewhere. We’re all wrong somewhere.”
I heard this at a church service while we were in the States, and I am resting in it. Yes, we are all wrong somewhere, and more than ever I am seeing that I am wrong in so many areas. I am so lost, so unprepared, so unfaithful.
Putting so many of my thoughts into print and post them about the internet is a huge risk, particularly knowing how lost I am and knowing that I am definitively wrong in some way if not most.
So take this with a grain of salt, along with everything else I rattle on about. This may be just another “wrong somewhere.”
At a few points throughout our time home, I was asked how many conversions I had had since we were in Mae Sot.
For the record, the answer is zero.
The question really just started me thinking. First, I began thinking about the very religious phrasing of “conversions” and “asking Jesus into your heart.” When did it become such a defined moment? When did the goal or the measure become a single moment in time?
I see stories in the Gospels where there were moments, where Jesus would send someone out saying their faith had healed them or their sins had been forgiven. So the moment started something; but was that the end?
I look at my life, and that “moment” was a very small piece. It was the start of a journey that has taken me around the world and into very uncomfortable places. It is a race that is wearing me out. It’s a life of hearing the Holy Spirit speak over this current moment, this current child of God. It’s alive; it’s changing and pulling and pushing.
To squeeze it back into that defined moment years ago seems very limiting.
And all this made me think of our neighbors, who I always seem to be thinking of. I ache for them to know hope, to feel unending grace, to grasp unfailing love. But really, I don’t want them to have a moment of conversion or to simply “accept Christ.” I would feel like I was cheating them of the Kingdom.
I don’t want them to just convert, I want them to really know and love Jesus. I want them to experience the renewing of their minds. I want them to know him for much more than a moment.
When I was in AWANA as a Chum, we did a study called “My Heart, Christ’s Home.” I don’t remember all that much of it, but there was a flannel graph board with different rooms that we discussed how to make each room a place where we welcomed Christ in.
Sometimes it feels like that: like I am discovering the mansion of Christ. I am always finding new rooms, some full of wonderful gifts and surprises; others full of things I must clean out. Some maybe aren’t about me at all, but are just pieces of the character of Christ that I am working to grasp. There always seems to be more, things much bigger and grander than I could create myself or dream of. And there is something, even in the dark areas that must be reconciled, about the greatness of Christ. The luxury of the Kingdom that is incomprehensible and still chooses to include me.
I feel like a conversion is like giving out a tent. Here is a moment–it provides shelter, and it’s probably very appreciated. But it’s still a tent, while I discover this glorious mansion and bask in the luxury of things I don’t understand.
That said, if there aren’t any conversions whatsoever, we haven’t even given out tents. I guess we’re just opening the windows of the mansion, and what has that accomplished at all?
I have wondered–often, and still more recently–what impact we truly have here, there, or anywhere.
I enjoy my work, and I believe it is productive and helpful to the people of Burma, whom I believe God has given us a love for.
I love our community, and I want to be a true friend to them all. I want to know them and share hope. I’m trying to do that as best as I possibly could: trying to think about loving wildly, trying to be selfless, trying to be cultural sensitive, trying to be a safe haven, trying to be sustainable.
So really in all these things, we try desperately and fall short consistently.
And really, at the end of the day–or to be generous, at the end of over two years–what has truly been accomplished? Is it even good?
I have no idea.
I have more questions and fewer answers than I have ever had before. The line between wisdom, faith, and hope seems shockingly blurred with foolishness. I have very little defense of myself or my struggles or this messy life.