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When little American girls are still…well, little – they dream of the days when they aren’t so little anymore. And so they dream of long white dresses, rows of flowers, big comfy homes with spacious yards and a dog laying on the front porch; a life ever so neatly tucked away wrapped up in sturdy, white picket fences.

I’m that little girl too.

But then there’s always that nagging feeling that there’s something more to life than all of this. 

But we push it out of our minds, telling ourselves that this is the life. Yes, it is the one that could be the antidote to all that isn’t whole inside. These are the dreams that will fulfill us, give us self-confidence and a good reputation…..especially with all those people we don’t really like anyways who seem to be always watching. Besides, we deserve to have the same life and dreams as everyone else around us.

But what happens when we finally possess those comfortable dreams we reached for our whole lives? Or worst, when we spend our entire lives chasing after them, believing that once attained, our lives will be complete. “Then,” we convince ourselves, “that insatiable longing for something more will be quenched.” – Only to discover in the end that still, it is there.

Emptiness & Longing.

The two unwanted, faithful friends that chasing the “comfortable life” tends to brings along with it that nobody warned you about, and anyone rarely talks about.

Don’t misunderstand, there is nothing wrong with “The American Dream” – it is the pursuit of such that steals our souls, numbs us to the desperate need all around us and robs us of the original dreams that had once been breathed inside of us and etched deep into the layers of our souls.

I find “comfortable” to be one of the greatest enemies of purpose and personal destiny.

Purpose. For me….and I would dare to say for most of us, is so much bigger than net worths, big painted houses with spacious yards and little white picket fences.

I like all of those things too…

The trouble is, so often they end up costing us much more than a dollar amount on a bank note. Sometimes, signing up to pursue “the American dream” is like signing your own death sentence to anything beyond what we can see with our eyes and touch with our hands.

This comfortable and safe American dream is fine. But not if comes at the cost of what is eternal.

So do we trade the eternal for the temporal?

That is the constant tension I feel within my heart. I look around me and that is what I see…

Comfortable and safe.

But I honestly can’t find ANYWHERE in Scripture where Jesus says, “Go forth! Spend your entire lives working a job to make lots of money to live a life of comfort and safety with you and your own.”

Instead I find these words: Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” -Matthew 19:21

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. -Matthew 28:19

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.  -James 1:27

But of course, He didn’t really mean any of that for US to actually do….right? Yeah, surely that was only for the disciples in Bible times.

In my fight to maintain only what is “normal” in our culture {the comfortable and the safe}  I keep letting myself off the hook.

hungry mom and kidsAnd then, right in the middle of my pretty little comfortable, neatly constructed life – out of nowhere, the greater need of humanity gets set before me once again. And in their eyes I hear the gentle whispers of the one who lives within saying, “Rachel….you aren’t like the rest. I made you for so much more than this.” 

And again, I have to choose between ignoring or surrender.

And honestly, the tension between it all is overwhelming. Because everything in me desperately wants the courage to know that I could willingly walk away from everything that is my security and leap into the wide open arms of faith.

My heart wants to choose surrender.

Why can’t I just go out and love and serve them and then leave and just get back to life? The hard thing about being faced with the brokenness in the world, is that once you’ve been awakened to it, it changes you and you’re never the same. You can’t “unsee” it all. And after a while, living this way feels a bit like throwing crumbs of bread to a crowd of starving people and saying, “There, here’s a little something to knock the edge off until next time.” 

But still, I find myself trying to reason with God, “Can’t comfortable, safe and surrender co-exist?” 

Truth is, I really already knew the answer. It’s my whole heart He’s after. He’s desperately jealous for every part of me. Even the little pieces I keep stuffing away in the corners, hoping maybe He will just leave it alone there.

I am not sure where to go from this point, and because I tend to be a bit of a control freak, the fact that I can’t see the whole path literally makes me sick to my stomach. All I am sure of is that there is a world who desperately needs an encounter with the love of God through the hands and feet of the true disciples of today.

It’s just that after a while and the more clearly I see personal purpose through the lens of the bigger picture of the Kingdom of God versus the Kingdom of this world – the safe and comfortable house with the white picket fence feels less and less like enough.