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little thoughts this week…

February 8, 2010

tonight i was pondering the future. and i started to think about those people who have goals. serious goals. i mean big time, no nonsense, make-a-plan-and-stick-to-it-or-else goals type people. people who know what they want and why they want it and pour all of themselves into getting it. how did you people get to be that way? i think sometimes i wish i was more like you. something about you sounds really nice to me. you know where you’re going and i like that about you. it sounds simple. and not in the simple, no hard work kind of way, but the simple, matter-of-factual kind of way. do you know what i mean?

i love God. and i love people. and i love how the Gospel is so true and how it touches the lives of people in such real ways and reconciles people with the God who made and loves them. that its not work but a gift. i love that we’re born again to a living hope. i love the local church and the community that it is for all believers who make it. i love how in it, we fight together to be holy, to love, and to know God. and we’re sent out to make disciples. i love that i’m promised a great inheritance that is imperishable. it is those things that i know. things that do not change. things that are real to me whatever my hands find to do.

knowing all these things, i am still not one of those people. i like to do a lot of things. and cannot tell you today that i know what i want to do years and years from now. “career” seems like an awfully big word.

somedays i want to always be serving in this way. i’ve learned so much here about the meaning of discipleship and the purpose of the local church. i’ve met so many wonderful people who love so much. somedays i want to go to the unreached.. the unengaged… and somedays i want to move to new york or san francisco or portland or some quirky city and wear chunky scarves, go to art museums and used bookstores and drink vanilla lattes at a cozy coffeehouse. i want to live outside of the south and experience a different kind of american culture. see the context of Christian community outside the “bible belt” and learn more about living a lifestlye of mission in that place.

somedays i want to go to seminary. to learn and study and ask in an academic environment. to get a syllabus and assignments and reading lists. to research and write papers and buy school supplies. its the nerd in me… and other days i want to learn ceramics. or go learn to cook really well. not just cook, because i know how to cook, but cook really well. or learn how to start a small business. one where i would get to do and create and make things i love everyday and somehow earn a living by being creative.

somedays i love the idea of working for a non-profit. some organization that exhausts itself for the Kingdom. one that is a voice for the voiceless and uses the meeting of physical needs as an opportunity and platform to share the Gospel…and other days i want lead a quiet life, work with my hands and learn to play the harmonica.

it can be a challenge to bring together all those great and little things you enjoy. i wonder a lot about that. do you guys? about what that looks like, i mean. sometimes they could not be more perfectly blended – people intertwine their passion for God and His Kingdom with their creative passion and it works and it’s great. and sometimes they compete for direction, time, perspective and affections and tempt you to think that this life is about you.

i think sometimes we feel like we have to peg ourselves in somewhere. like we really need to figure this all out as soon as we can and that we aren’t free to move around a little. or that we think it’s a weakness to say “i don’t know.” i think i’m in that not knowing but super curious place right now.

and there’s something about these years here that help you to learn a little bit more about you. and you start to learn not just about where you are going but what sort of person you are actually becoming. your discipline is challenged, your compassion is stretched, your understanding of the Word and of who God is grows. and you learn to trust Him more as He directs your steps. but the curiosity is still there. or it is for me, at least. just processing it all out…

anyway, it’s just on my mind this week…

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Meg permalink
    February 11, 2010 6:24 am

    Keelster. I love this processing. I mean, I really do love it. We are such processing machines.

    I think there’s a lot of value in “not knowing” b/c it makes you open to where God wants you to be. When we’re “set” on achieving things or living here or there, sometimes like you said it becomes all about us…about creating our kingdom. Yesterday the IMB woman downstairs, Kari, prayed that we would be passionate about building God’s kingdom and not our own. God loves that. He loves it b/c he knows it’s the most fulfilling and satisfying thing we can do and He gets so much glory. And suddenly everything falls into place when we seek his kingdom and not our own…”and all these things will be given to you.” “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” I’ve been encouraged by these things lately. I pray that God gives you all the desires of your heart so that you can see Him in them all and worship him through your joy in them.

    I support this post. And am printing it out and praying for these things.

  2. Cara Maddox permalink
    February 17, 2010 3:30 pm

    I hear you. I was definitely in this processing state about a year ago and driving myself crazy with all the “options.” (you may or may not be driving yourself crazy) (For example, I looked into librarian school, being a futurist, thinking about owning several businesses that I though and strategized about a lot, and a myriad of others things—the only thing that has changed since then and now is that I am at peace with my circumstances—that is a different rabbit to chase) But, the truth was there were really only a few options that would have worked at that point in my life. True, there were a lot of possibilities that I could “make” happen, but only a few that would in some way “made sense.” I think the “make sense” plays a pretty large role in what we should be doing “next.” I usually tend to ignore “make sense.”

    Plus, there are seasons for everything. You obviously do not have to do all of those things that interest you right now; there may or may not be a season for those things. God could take away those some or all of those desires and replace them with new ones. (I have seen this time and time again in my life—God taking away certain desires i.e. to work in refugee camps and has replaced them with I want to be home with kiddies and household to take care of—I would have laughed at this a year ago).

    Plus, certain things will not or probably will not make sense later on. Like being in seminary will probably not be conducive if and when you are married and have children… So, basically this goes back to the season thing, “What makes sense for me now?”

    Plus, (on a tangent) there is no need to move to Portland; you hardly know hardly anyone there. To some degree you’ve already done that (moved to a foreign place out of the bible belt and done adventuring…) I honestly think you would love seminary. It would only take a year or two to get through. So, you should move to Louisville where you know people who know and love you, will help you process Botswana, and will introduce you to other people who will know and love you. Plus, believe it or not, it has taken me a long time to be able to say this, but Louisville is a Northern city. Seriously, we are 10 minutes from Indiana. This place is not Southern, as a whole. Plus Plus, Louisville really is a great city. Plus, plus, Plus, you would truly love and relish in seminary education. I truly believe this.

    I have learned in this season of my life: husband in school, living in Louisville, being in seminary-world, working at a job I am not wild about (yet extremely thankful for), etc. that the Lord does not want me to live solely in the future. He wants me to be present in where he has me right now. He wants to be glorified in my circumstances right now. I, to some degree have give up the knowing or strategizing about what my next “move” is. (that is not mean that I do not think about or “dream about” where we or what we will be doing in five years, but I decided that I am going to do everything I can to grow, learn, and be joyful where the Lord has me today. I have confidence that the Lord is shaping my next steps, and typically, what has been true for Devin and I the last year or so in terms of the next steps we needed to take was that the next step ended up being what was not an option six months before or even a month before. (i.e. us coming to Louisville and Devin being an intern for Dr. Moore was not an option a week before the Southern Baptist convention)

    I have been so changed and encouraged by these verses(basically the whole of Matthew 6) for the last few months:
    “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him (vs.8- “them” being those who babble on with flowery words and profound thoughts). Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name (vs.9) Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (vs.) Give us this day our daily bread, and (vs. 11) forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (vs.12) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (vs. 13)For if you forgive others their trespassed, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (vs. 14) but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (vs. 15)… Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal (vs. 19) but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. (vs. 20) For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (vs. 21)…. No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (vs. 24) (good part) Therefore, I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (vs. 25) Look at the birds of the air; they neither sown nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more value than the? (vs. 26) And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? (vs.27)And, why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grown; they neither toil nor spin, (vs. 28) yet, I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these (vs. 29). But, if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothes you, O you of little faith? (vs. 30) There, do not be anxious saying, “What shall we eat? Or what shall we drink? Or What shall we wear? (vs. 31) For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. (vs.32) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (vs. 33) Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (vs.34))”

    Love you Ke-Ka.

  3. Raymond Redd permalink
    March 3, 2010 1:35 pm

    Keely – it’s Hannah’s Dad again – still reading your stuff and following your work in Botswana. I just read your post and thought it was wonderful. As a bright, well educated, passionate young lady you’ve got so many possibilities in front of you. Who knows what God has planned for you? You may do ALL those things, or your life may not include any of them. Goals and milestones are important, but they’re not the main things. Goals should serve us, not the other way around. Again, don’t get me wrong – goals are important and often give structure to life, but don’t allow yourself to become a slave to a goal. Just follow His leading. Even at my age (perhaps ESPECIALLY at my age), I’m becoming more and more attune to God’s plan for the moment in my life. His plan doesn’t change, but he seldom reveals the future to us (at least to me). Psalms 119 says that He is a lamp unto our feet. Think about that – just a little yellow pool of light right at our feet, perhaps enough to dimmly make out one step ahead. But certainly not a brillant spotlight shinning far into the distance.

    So, all of that to say this. Don’t be concerned too much with the pull of different directions or of setting life goals, other than to listen carefully to our Lord’s leading and to maintain our commitment to following His directions.

    BTW – I spent several days recently with Hannah in Mali and am more impressed than ever with her and the rest of our international mission team, including you. You remain in my prayers.

    Raymond Redd

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