Following Jesus can be scary

“Better than a crack house I suppose?”  I told myself as I walked my way to room 225 of the unsightly motel on the back side of town.  I had been working with the local homeless mission for a few months when the director called to tell me about  Sarah, a young mom they just place in a hotel for 2 weeks.  Sarah and I had kids the same age and the director knew Sarah was desperate for a friend to help escape the crack house.

Knock Knock

In 30 seconds that felt like 3 hours I questioned my sanity and thought about running away, but then a 5 year old boy opened the door with spiderman pajamas.  He gave me a hug and invited me in.

This began my dive into the deep end of the rich and poor divide.
I fell in love with this little family.  I learned her husband left her for drugs and other women.  She had no education, no car, no home, no bank account, terrible credit and all her friends and family were in similar situations.  We grew up only miles apart but it just as well could have been different planets.  When I was a kid, I came home from school my mom greeted me with snacks and homework help, when she came home from school her mom was passed out on the couch from trying to OD…again.

I’m an “all in” kinda girl.  When I decide to commit to something I pour all of my blood sweat and tears into it.  I pull long hours and recruit everyone I know who may possibly even have a hint of passion along with me.  With the help of the amazing community and my overzealous, determined, persistent  phone calls, we got her an apartment, a car, a great job, child care, and a housewarming party to boot.  My husband taught her how to handle money and I watched her kids so she could go get her GED. I poured my everything into this girl and couldn’t be more proud of all she would be able to accomplish.  She was going to overcome the chains of poverty, she would be a success story! 

The only problem was, I wanted her success much more than she did.

Almost as quickly as it came together I watched her let it fall apart.  She stopped showing up for work, She had excuse after excuse of why she couldn’t make rent.  Finally facing eviction of the apartment so many people helped her furnish. I woke up early calling all hands on deck, how could we help her, what could we do?  At 11am when I still hadn’t heard from Sarah I went to her apartment.  I figured she would be frantically working trying to find an odd job to make the rent payment,  No, she was asleep.

She was able to glimpse what it looked like to be on the other side of poverty, it was different, it was unfamiliar, and it scared her.

I felt like I was watching a bad movie. I was pleading and crying, “can’t you see you are making terrible decisions, can’t you see the amazing life you can have?” but she wouldn’t hear it.  She pushed me out of her life and went back to her old self.

Lessons learned

I have been just like Sarah, the only difference was the circumstances.  How many times has God shown me a better way but I was just too scared of the unfamiliar path so I didn’t take it?

How many times have I been offered a chance to sacrifice something small for the chance to have something better?

How many times did I, as a college student, throw up after drinking too much swearing there was more to life than this but scared to take the road less traveled?  How many times did I say I wanted a good Christian guy but I thought I would find him on the highway of kissing too many boys?

Just like Sarah I too wanted the more abundant life but none of my friends went down that road, It was unfamiliar and scary.  While the road of hangovers and heartbreak was collapsing in on me, at least it was familiar.

All the while Jesus is pleading, there is a better way my sweet daughter!

If God is all he claims to be then i lose NOTHING for putting down my lesser ways to follow his much more abundant ways.  Let’s live that abundant life we are called to live! Let’s hold hands and walk together and chase Jesus through the scary parts to find the abundance on the other side of scary.

Everything worth having requires sacrifice.  What am I holding onto that is so much less than what God is offering?  Can  I put down the less so I have room for the more? 

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