Lately, I feel like every time I tell someone about something positive I am doing – reading more, deleting social media intermittently, practicing sabbath, watching less TV, delaying gratification, etc… their first response is… “Oh that’s so great! I could never do that.” I cringe Every. Single. Time. Because in reality, they CAN make any changes they find important, they are just choosing not to. Why is that a gut reaction response? Personally, when I hear someone making a change in their life I run it through a filter of “Should I be doing something similar? Do I feel convicted about what they feel convicted about?” and then I ask them questions about what led them to that decision.
I think the first time this started bothering me is when I went to Uganda and Rwanda for a month back in college. Most of the time I was there the bathroom situation was a latrine, which is essentially a very deep hold in the ground with four walls around it. No electricity or plumbing. When the hole fills up, they move 10 feet away and dig another hole. We traveled by motorcycle taxis often and slept under mosquito nets. This is how this part of the world lives. It is not gross, it is actually quite inspiring. So simple. Not distracted. The stories that came out of that trip changed me deeply and when I came back and told people about all I heard learned and experienced the typical reaction was “Oh that’s so great! I could never do that,” and it really bothered me deep in my soul.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand having apprehensions about stepping outside of your comfort zone, but honestly, the reward comes through the experience. It is almost like an adrenaline rush. I know that people think it is easier to take on experiences when you are younger and more naive, but what I am realizing is that every life stage comes with its own risks and excuses. In my current life stage, people cannot believe we travel with our daughter (19 months old) as they “could never” brave the airport or deal with all those logistics, but I feel deeply that they are the ones missing out on life giving opportunities. It IS hard. She does not sit still and it can be a long flight to our destination, but when we arrive it is 100% worth it, because we get to explore somewhere new with her and open her eyes up to new parts of the world – foods, cultures and settings.
I guess I am asking for some perspective. Why live small? Why live scared? I can’t wrap my head around it. There is so much of the world to see and experience. I am a homebody, but also a person who deeply appreciates other cultures and traditions. Don’t we want our kids to know about and experience other cultures? Isn’t that valuable in the grander scheme of things? I think our kids learn flexibility from us, and if we are anxious and rigid, they will be too. If we are relaxed and open, they will take that on. Structure is important, but naps can be taken anywhere, y’all! Can you feel my passion on this subject?
I guess this has been on my heart lately as I look around me and see so many people living scared. I want to shake them and remind them that they do not have to live that way! It IS a choice, and one that can be worked through. I went through a period of fearing flying, like deeply afraid. Bill would have to literally calm me down every time we got on a plane for a couple years. But I faced it, and kept traveling and seeing incredible places and getting to my family on the other side of the country. Because it was important and valuable and inspiring.
It is more than just travel though, there are so many things people say they can’t do! If you feel convicted that perhaps something needs to change, chances are it does! For me, I have felt convicted about the amount of tv I was watching weekly, the amount of time I spent on social media (damn that one is tough to break!), the amount of time I was spending with the Lord (working on this one, and giving it time to develop both organically and intentionally) and the ways I fit the millennial profile of expecting instant gratification. It’s taken me years to get to where I am with so much left to do, but I think the important thing is I am working towards each of these items. Strengthening relationships that matter and casting out fear. Trying to learn to be more like Jesus (Surprise that requires me to actually read my Bible and get off my soap box!).
This is all me processing. Perhaps I need to add working on compassion toward those on a different journey to my list (hits palm to face). But can we agree that we should all be pushing ahead and not standing still? Continuously working on ourselves feels like the most important part of existence to me. I want to be more like Jesus. I believe that comes from scaling back, seeing people as he saw them and eliminating as much distraction as possible.
Please, engage with me on this one. I want all the thoughts you have!