Frequently during this process of completely turning our lives upside down, selling everything and going on the road full time, I have questioned our motives. I always suspect that I am running away from something, usually something God wants me to be doing. Was I looking for an excuse to quit my jobs at the church? Was I getting uncomfortable with the demands put on me by the Emmaus Community? Is this tremendous adjustment in our lifestyle just my complicated way of getting out of the alternative? After all, I have been known to go to some pretty great extremes to get out of things God wanted me to do.
As we get closer to our launch date and things are moving faster, people are responding to our Craig’s List ads, dates are set for the estate sales, and our stuff is finding new homes, Shannon keeps suggesting that I write a blog chronicling our progress. I keep looking for the bigger picture. This has all got to be about more than purging and learning how to live with less. This all has to be going so well because of God’s timing and what He wants for us and for us to be doing in the world.
Several years ago I was serving on the inside team on a Walk to Emmaus. I asked one of the Spiritual Directors on the team to recommend some reading for me. He suggested Barbara Brown Taylor’s An Altar in the World, which I purchased and allowed to collect dust on my nightstand for the next six years. When I was going through books for relocation and donation, I saved a short pile that I hadn’t yet read or wanted to read again. An Altar in the World made the stack. Sometimes God really cracks me up!
How did He know that I would need that book right now, right when I needed some encouragement about leaving the security of the four-walled church and exploring God’s huge temple? While my little paranoid-doubter is busy trying to parse my motives, the rest of me is learning to be more trusting, and in that I am able to see the bigness of God’s working in our lives.
One of the things we have done is to join NOMADS, a United Methodist service organization, where we exchange free camping for a stretch of short term mission service. But even that, while still serving under the auspices of the church, seems safe by comparison to just putting ourselves out there and seeing what He puts in front of us. And maybe this is about even more than service, about being a priest in the world. We are being blessed with the opportunity to celebrate God’s glorious creation, to see and experience His wonders, and to be able to do that with the gift God has given us of each other. I can’t think of anything better!