The Company I Keep
There is a man I know who wants to do good but is held captive by his story. He has been shaking up the way I view my world even though he is deep in his addiction. He is frustrating and hilarious. He sees who I am without me having to say it. He gives gifts that are thoughtful and kind. He loves his family when they do not deserve it. He talks to strangers/everybody. He sees the outliers. He cries when he feels his feelings. He has characteristics of Jesus but he doesn't know Him. He is the company I keep. There is a girl I know who wants to make a difference. She has a heart that is pursuing Jesus. She prays with conviction and shares even when it’s hard. She hangs with other Christian's and gets fired up with all the "what ifs" of faith. She gives selflessly. She invests in people. She puts herself out there. She studies and shares about her faith journey. She is creative and kind. She has joy even when the world is lacking goodness. She doesn’t swear. She doesn’t drink. She is of sober mind. She is the company I keep. Both of these people are my people. They have pieces of my heart and I hold theirs. They are the bookends that hold in the wide variety of people I spend time with. I have been dwelling on this idea of community and mission, about letting Jesus transform you, and about being responsible for the hearts you hold. I think a trap we Christians fall into is that we have to go to some mission field in order to be doing God’s work or to be obedient to what God wants for our lives. And in the non-Christian world, we (and yes I include myself in this world) are searching for something to fill us up, that numbs the pain, and helps us keep on merely existing. Every living thing needs food, water, space, shelter, and to feel a sense of belonging. As I think about my people, I think about the Salvation Army's mission. Give them soup, give them soap, and then give them salvation. Gosh, I want to do those first two things really well. I want everyone I encounter to have all their basic needs met. I want people to know Jesus in a very real way. I want our foster care system to not be broken. I want our schools to be safe. I want homelessness to end. I want our streets to be clean. I want people to go back to simple things. I want social media to calm down. I want people to experience camp. I want love to be enough. I have realized that although the company I keep reside on opposite sides of the spectrum, I live somewhere in between these places. Fluctuating as I go through my life. But what I’ve come to understand is that we all could use some change from time to time. The people in my life who are being tore up by addiction or loss or bad luck, they need something bigger than their circumstances to help them live better or to live free them from the numbing pain. They need to break the cycle. Not only do they need to break it but they need to get rocked by Jesus. Your days can be filled with so much more and you can be so much more to the people being raised up behind you. You say you don’t want your nephew to ever do drugs. Make a choice, let Jesus be the change. You say you don’t want to be homeless. Make a choice, let Jesus be the change. It has to stop at some point, the cycle can’t keep on spinning. Break it and just watch your life get rocked in the best, scariest, and most beautiful way. Jesus is radical so get ready for the ride of your life. The church going, Jesus loving people in my life: we need to break our cycles and get wrecked by Jesus. Being a Christian isn’t supposed to be safe or look like anyone else’s faith, it shouldn’t look the same year to year either. There should be a constant shift in the way you live. Getting wrecked means stepping out and facing the things you just don’t want to. We all have those things we need to work on, I know that to be true, but Jesus never said our lives would be comfortable and safe. Maybe Jesus is calling you overseas but maybe He is calling you to feed the hunger and give a home to a child. I don’t know that answer for you but what I do know is that there is such a variety in what God calls us to we should be celebrating how different we are and embrace the chaos with our brothers and sisters. Wrecked and rocked, those are the two words that have been shaping a lot of my thoughts. Getting wrecked is the break down, the point where you realize that you aren’t God, that you are just human, and that’s okay. Getting rocked is the lifting up of spirits, the point in which you are being celebrated and you become more human. Allowing yourself to get wrecked or rocked brings you back to the human arena. Whether being raised or lowered, you are brought back to this common ground, human. But both getting wrecked or rocked by Jesus requires action. They require a moment of pure surrender where He comes in and dictates the change. Christians, take heart that your mission field is so close. There is so much good to do. My friends who don’t know Jesus, take heart that there are people who love you and see what the other side looks like. You can do this. It won’t be easy but God is good and you can trust Him.