Monday, April 18, 2011

Creating A Life That Allows For The Daily Good

Note: I am traveling the country with Max Dubinsky. You can read his blog here, and you can follow my photos documenting the trip at seethecities.tumblr.com. If I've met you on the trip: hello, and welcome to the blog. Thank you for what you have taught me and how you have loved me.

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It's been hard to write lately.

I am seeing so much.

I am being called out daily on how poorly I've been living my life. On my priorities. On what I've both chosen to ignore and have accidentally not seen.

Studying what it means to be created by God, created in Jesus to do "good works," which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

Finding I've sacrificed my daily "living well" for a one-day "live the best."

Observing others' lives silently, from city to city, confronted with the sharp contrast between those living for others and those living for themselves.

They speak differently, they listen to you differently. They ask different questions.

I found Jesus today in a couple of young men and women who never mentioned any ultimate life plans - who barely talked to me about jobs and college and family and church and money.

They just woke up in the morning, like every other morning -- quietly braced to help victims of crime learn to speak the language so they can hold a minimum wage job, and help single mothers correct the mistakes the government made in assigning their food stamps so their children can eat.

I sat on the floor of a nearly empty building, sorting through stained children's clothing - because stained is better than none on the streets.

I caught myself half-praying for the little boy who would end up wearing size 5T jeans with holes in the knees, half asking myself when was the last time I did anything this real. This simple. This wholly good.

Good works.

Submerged in the fight against legalism in the middle upper-class white suburban church, I have come down hard against "good works."

Because it is by grace we have been saved. And I have had my fill of being broken and watching brokenness caused by a never-satisfied list of requirements for a faux-salvation.

No one is asking you to do good works - to be perfection - to be good enough for God.

Because Jesus says, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent." (John 6:29)

To believe is enough for you. For Him.

But it's true. We do take it and leave it at this. We accept and struggle and wrestle through this salvation, and fight hard to keep Jesus at the center of our life. In our church, our family, our school work, our career choices, the $30 we give to sponsor a child every month.

But now, this isn't enough. It's not enough for me. Because that isn't daily Jesus. If I'm being perfectly honest with myself, I haven't been living the way Jesus has asked me to live. I've merely dropped Jesus into my life, and asked him to stay there.

I've taken him nowhere with me. I've done very little simple, wholly good.

What are you doing with your life? How are you living?

Are you doing what God created you to do? He created you for something.

For something simple, but so powerful it will change humanity.

And slowly but surely change the way the world sees Christians. Followers of Jesus.

Daily love. Daily giving. Daily other-focus. Daily community. Daily God. Daily broken you.

Daily anything that says to another human being, "I was created to do this: to love you."

That is what we were created for.

That is what comes first, not second. What we build the rest of our life around, not what we fit into the gaps.

Doing good isn't not-doing-bad. It's doing good.



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13 comments:

chels said...

http://www.kingdom-dreams.org/

kelly summers said...

i love you. thank you. i needed this.

I, Beth said...

Abosulutely true.
Something we all lose sight of and always need to be reminded of.

What a blessing it truly is to be reminded of this. So humbling.

kinsey french. said...

SO true. I needed this as well! Thank you. <3

Jenna said...

thank you for sharing your words today. as usual, they hit me where I live.

Kristie @ Kristie Colón Was Here said...

"Doing good isn't not-doing-bad. It's doing good."

Thank you for helping me remember that it's about being and doing while also being gracious with ourselves and with others.

Your writing really seems to hold space for the paradoxes in life. Thanks, Lauren.

Just me said...

I would've said you were already doing something to powerfully change humanity. That you want to do so much more is amazing, inspiring, and humbling.

Thank you for this, as always.

kathryn-louisa said...

So true, and so beautifully put. Well done.

X

eloranicole said...

beautiful, lauren. it seems as if this whole notion of "purpose" has followed me around lately. looks like i need to take a few and dwell on what it is He's trying to tell me. thanks for posting.

Barry said...

Lauren you seem like such a beautiful person, the world needs more people who think and feel as you do. Much love from Toronto. ♥

vee ! said...

Lauren, it's awesome that God's been softening your heart to the distress around you through the service you've been doing on your travels. But I also want you to be careful to not let your compassion turn into self-righteousness. That is, I know a lot of people who serve the Lord in different ways. It's easy to become judgmental and see "different" as being "inferior."

vee ! said...

I also want to say that you and Max have really been challenging me lately on what it means to serve others. Like, in a good way. As in, you've forced me to grapple with the way I serve and love others.

josh-stephens.com said...

This post is great! I've been thinking a lot of the same thoughts lately and have been put outside of my realm of "functioning", or "normalcy". Thank you for reminding everyone of the simple promises and commands God has given us!

-Josh

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