Living Passionately: Belonging
I can't believe I've been in Miami for a little over a week! It's been a bit of an adjustment (like not wearing makeup because it's too hot for foundation and blush!) and I haven't yet moved into the house that I'll be staying in for at least the next year, but I'm loving it so far. I'm excited to tell other people about my journey down here, joining The Brook Church and serving with Branches.
I think having the mindset of a missionary is aiding my current enthusiasm, but I'm trying to keep myself from overcomplicating the idea of missions or being on mission.
The Great Commission applies to everyone, not just "missionaries" - as if we even need that term. We're all called to be on mission no matter where we are - Bible Belt or Miami; America or Oversees - every Saint is given the command to share Christ through our service to others.
I've been learning more in recent days, as well as the past few months, about what it means to serve and live life with others on purpose, deliberately and intentionally. In other words, living passionately.
"We exist to bring glory to God by making disciples where life exists" - Muche Ukegbu, The Brook Miami
Where life exists. That's everywhere! I tend to make discipleship immensely complicated, when in actuality it is choosing to live life with people, daily. It isn't just sitting down at Starbucks once a week and going through some sort of curriculum. It isn't the 30-second life "update" that many Christians exchange to one another every Sunday - "Hey, how are you?" "Good. How are you?" "Good." "Great, see you next week".
Discipleship is prayer, studying the word, and fellowship (Acts 2:42). All three. Consistently and intentionally. It's having a genuine interest, concern, and burden for the lives of others. Discipleship is a choice to be known and know others for the purpose of knowing and glorifying God.
There's a risk that we take when we choose to belong or be connected to other people, but it's easy to do a quick Heisman and keep people at a distance.
Choosing to live in community can be a scary thing, but how else will we grow and learn if we don't dare to belong? I don't mean belonging to people who are like you (race, ethnicity, class, faith, age, love for hummus, etc.), but instead, choosing to belong and live in community with people who are nothing like you.
We dare to belong when we work out differences; when you fight to find middle ground because you get cold easily and your roommate likes to sleep in cold temperatures; when you throw out an idea to your teammates and no one responds with amazement; when you share the deepest parts of your heart with a friend expecting them to listen or offer advice; when you choose to step back and follow the lead of someone who has greater strengths in a particular area; when you say hello and ask someone about their life even if you believe you may come off as awkward. If I've learned anything it's that people LOVE to talk about themselves - just ask questions!
All of these things, and more, are components that help us build genuine community. These are tiny steps that we take to belong or help others belong.
Building a relationship with someone is scary. Choosing to be vulnerable with the uncertainty of whether or not your feelings will be crushed is a risk we take. It causes tension and is highly uncomfortable, but there is joy in living intentionally, deliberately, and passionately toward one another. The result of that is unification and a greater picture of the love Christ showed for his Church. The fruit that we bear after great tension and discomfort can be immensely beautiful...should we choose to not run away from the challenge.