God doesn’t judge the effectiveness of our lives using the metrics of the market economy, and God doesn’t assess the fruitfulness of our lives based on the quantity of people we are around but by the quality of our service to the people around us.
And we learned you don’t always have to leave to build a life of significance. In fact, sometimes the most significant thing you can do is to stay in a place—stay for the long haul, stay and give your life away for the good of these people in this place. . . .
We all wrestle with feeling unfulfilled, with feeling stuck. We all battle boredom and, at times, suffer from an impoverished imagination that keeps us from seeing the latent potential of the place we inhabit. We all have complex—and sometimes even downright difficult—relationships that, at best, make staying feel like too much work, and at worst, feel impossible, even dangerous. And we all have seasons where we are struck with a sense of failure, and that feeling often colors our associations with the place where we live.
Very often we think the cure for these bouts of self-doubt and unfulfillment and complex relationships will be found in a new life in a new place. And sometimes it will. There are times when a move is necessary; if you have to protect your children from a dangerous and violent ex-spouse, if you need to find healing from a toxic church or work environment, or if you require affordable housing in a different region of the country. If that’s you, please protect yourself and your people. Create the space necessary to heal and to feel secure. And do it without any sense of shame.
But there are many other scenarios that will not require a move. And, in fact, there are times that moving only exacerbates the problem. But instead of doing the hard work that is required, the hard work that could lead to personal growth, we bounce, carrying our baggage with us. Maybe we do this because we think the change will change the feelings we’re struggling with. Maybe it will. But what if it doesn’t?
Lord, thank you for allowing me to do your work. Please help me to love you and serve you right where I am today. Amen.