Monday, October 23, 2017

"what is this" set-apart life

In my unforeseen, but surprisingly sacred season, hashing out disappointments and confusion with Jesus, there’s a desire to please Him welling up, leading to taking more risks, all the while while nervous about the many Red Seas to cross (matters of steps of faith in finances, security, calling and future marriage). I have found myself in the dreaded position of sudden loss of community, deeper debt, unemployment, and pain of being on the other side of "friend culling". Let me talk in Exodus references, because that's how I'm feeling connected and encouraged right now. Hope you follow. (FYI Christian Bale Mose is my favorite Moses)

The Israelites straight out of Egypt experienced the Lord’s incredible kindness through daily provision of manna. Manna1, transliterated as מן mon is Egyptian for "what". Thus, "what is this" became the name of the mystery food. And an astonished "what is this?" is precisely my reaction every time I see money in my usually empty account. From 4 years of fundraising experience, I've learned that to have to wait for God’s provision is actually a blessing. A YWAM and missionary lifestyle is completely dependent on it! What a privilege it is to be in a vulnerable place where I have to wait for Him to provide, and personally familiarise myself with Jehovah Jireh.2 

But I still feel as far away from my destiny as Midian was from Egypt. I’m 28 and my plate appears full with social pressures to get “a real job”. And a husband. With a job. And from some people, after hearing news of my deportation, I’ve had to deal with opinions, titles, worth, disappointments and “what’s responsible”, a.k.a what other people think is responsible. I know my parents are concerned right now with what is going to become of their unstable daughter. And this week, I was able to look into their worried eyes via facetime-- worried for many other reasons beyond my non-paycheck and ghetto neighbourhood, and say to them “I can’t forget the goodness of God’s leadership in my life all these years." Because I remember His faithfulness. I want to pioneer taking risks with Him outside of a society’s expectation for the next generation to follow. I want my future children with edgy unisex or Hebrew-inspired names to know and hear God in an ever-changing and boisterous world. I can’t change the world if I don’t know how to follow Jesus. I can’t change the world without the Word, “the book that transforms nations”.

I have dreams dropped into my heart. I am becoming aware (or in relevant terms, woke af) of the injustice and depravity of this world, not unlike Moses’ eye-opening witness of the cruel mistreatment of Hebrews.3 So I get impatient. I get frustrated. I get frustrated with frustration and cry all the time, especially when there’s a whole lot of nothing is going on. I just have a meaningless fashion degree (which theoretically, is outdated if you don't put it to good use in 2 years)! How can I make a difference? How can I make a living doing what makes my heart happy? How do I bring His Kingdom? I remember a beautiful bible teacher/scholar/wise-woman, Debi Yu once said during a lecture, “our world is not what it should be.” And that one line pierced my heart. I really care so much about this generation stepping into everything God has called us to. I care about people being loved and treated fairly. I care about the stewardship of this world. But I still feel stuck in limbo, burdening those around me, and helpless to things tugging at my heart.

But this is what I know is true, and will suffice. #TRUTHBOMB Even if I don’t see anything happening right now... Even if it just looks like I’m stuck in limbo (and waiting for the kick), He is going to lead me to the “Promised land". I am waiting to see God make things happen in my life that He’s spoken to me about and proving Himself great. So I’m holding fast to His promises. Trusting in His name; His identity. Remembering who He is. Trusting in His faithfulness; His loving kindness. Trusting that just as God of Moses led Israelites out of Egypt with His angels leading them from front and ‘having their back’ at the rear of camp as they were being chased,4 that He would be good at His job of leading as my Shepherd and defending me from behind.

Part of my conclusion, if you're still following my spaghetti trail of thoughts, comes down to living a life "set apart" a.k.a holiness7. (It's in quotation marks because I'm still figuring out how, like... practically.)  I can’t take anything on without being different, being set apart. I think people who really understand this truth change the world! Remember when God calls Abraham to holiness? He says, and I paraphrase, “Be holy! Be uncommon! Through you, all people of the world will be blessed! Through you, all people will know who I am!” That's it! I want to be holy! Through me, I want people to be blessed. Through me, I want people to know who He is! And if it was God’s original design for Israel, a chosen people group, kingdom of priests, a holy nation, to represent God5, then it is God's original design for you and me. So, let's figure out this "set apart life" together. Because it’ll fascinate people, it’ll challenge people, it’ll inspire people, it’ll maybe/sometimes/perhaps/probably offend people, but it’ll ultimately draw people to Jesus. 

1 Exodus 16:15
or Yahweh Yireh. It means “The Lord will provide” in Genesis 22:14. It is the name memorialised by Abraham when God provided the ram to be sacrificed in place of Isaac.
3 Exodus 2
4 Exodus 14:19
5 Exodus 19:6
6 Genesis 16:19

7 Holy = uncommon, different, set apart, unique. "Be holy, because I am holy" (Lev. 11:44; 1 Pet. 1:16).

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