Sunday, July 22, 2012

The American Dream

I write this post out of complete and utter conviction that I have been striving for easy and comfortable for far too long. Complacency and contentment have stolen years of the life that God has chosen for me to live. Call it a midlife crisis, a wake-up call, or God just rattling my cage. Just know, if this post sounds preachy, I'm preaching to myself.

I've been thinking lately about what it means that I am an American. For what purpose was I born into the land of freedom, prosperity, and opportunity?

While I am deciding which restaurant I want to dine in, somewhere far away is a mother watching her children starve... to death.

While I fill a glass of filtered water from my refrigerator, in Afghanistan, a 7-year-old girl is lugging a bucket of filthy water from the river to her family for the third time today.

While my 12-year-old daughter is enjoying dance camp, a girl of the same age in Cambodia is barely surviving the sex slave trade.

While I pop an Advil for a slight headache, another woman is watching her husband shrivel from AIDS, not because there is no medicine available for the dreaded disease, but because there is no medicine available for him.

Why were we born here? Of all the places in the world, why here?

I don't think it's so we can live easy lives. I don't think it's so we can be comfortable and relax. I don't think it's because God loves us more. I don't believe that the great American dream is the abundant life Jesus talked about.

There is a purpose in our being here.

God had a reason to drop us in a place where mere survival is easy; where we have expendable time with no reason to worry about our next meal; where we sleep comfortably in safety; where basic healthcare, though expensive, is readily available.

Our purpose, as Christians is to glorify the One who saved us.

How are you doing that with the resources (time, energy, money, freedom, knowledge) that He has so readily entrusted to you?

There is no reason to feel guilty for what you have been given, just as there is no reason to feel superior to those that have not. But is it enough to just feel grateful? Are you fulfilling your God-given, American-born purpose by being a good neighbor, living a moral life, and hoping that people will be won over to the Kingdom by noticing your niceness?

God rarely fills us with something without the expectation that we will pour it out for Him.

Pray that He will give you passion. Pray that He will reveal His purpose for you. Pray that He will break your heart with what breaks His. And then pray that He will fill your heart with love and open your eyes to see beyond the nose on your face!

God has so graciously put people in my life who inspire me to see beyond my nose:

My friend Nickole, through her Better Way Imports business, sells items that women who have escaped the sex slave trade make to support themselves. She also uses her shows to raise awareness about the women and children who have not escaped.

My young friend, Emily, instead of presents for her 21st birthday, is asking people to celebrate by donating money to help build much needed wells in areas without access to clean water. Click on her name to see a video for more info.

Another friend, Caroline, is building support preparing to move her family back to Afghanistan to provide aid to the people they have come to love.

Several of my friends have opened their homes and hearts and adopted children with special needs from other countries, who otherwise would languish in institutions.

God put you here, in this place at this time, for a reason. What are you going to do about it?

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