My Unsexy Missional Life- a reflection and review of Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker

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I wish I could say I had something profound to say. Something to say that would make you want to change your life. But today, at this moment, all I want to do is lay flat on my face before Jesus. I want to cling to his feet and beg Him to tell me that none of this is true. That the unthinkable suffering and death that we have seen in these last weeks is not true. I want to scream at God and tell Him to take it all away. To make Himself known on this earth. I want Him to stand before me and tell me that we will wake up from this hellish nightmare that continues to flash before us on every media avenue. I know it sounds arrogant and demanding. But there are some days I just need my Father God to hold me and take all the anxiety away.
But I know He is. He is here. He is in you. He is in me. He is the prayer that we plead. He is in the tears that wet our pillows at night.
I have been feeling helpless. II imagine that I am not alone in this feeling. Helpless in the struggle. I can read. I can watch videos or TV. (I didn’t, I can’t. Call me a coward, but I call it guarding my mind. I don’t need to see Satan to know he exists.)

But what can I do?
But what can we do?
We can do the next right thing. I know it seems obsolete. Like it will make no difference at all. But it does. I am not saying that to change the world, to take away its evil you need to join the Peace Corps or move to Africa ( my hippie self wanted to do both, and I still do) . But in the small and large decisions that we make every day we can be a part of the healing.
This summer I have been privileged enough to be asked to read and review a book that literally wrecked me. I have been ready for a change and especially these past few weeks I have been aching for it.

 

If you are plagued with tension or discontent or a nagging sense that there must be more- that there has to be a faith somewhere that rings true and hopeful and gracious, a faith other that this mean, ugly, partisan, judgmental, self- indulgent version of Christianity, which has to be total bunk-then get down on your knees and thank your lucky stars. God has blessed you with this inner conflict. He isn’t leaving you in complacency and boredom to check boxes and do church. He has enlisted you in the cause of your generation and is calling you forward. You lucky think. You will not be left and lost, wondering what all the fuss is about. Wishing things would never change. – Jen Hatmaker, Interrupted.

 

Jen Hatmaker’s newest book Interrupted, revised & expanded, she suggests that to be the church, a world changer, a mission minded person you just have to do the next right thing. And sometimes the next right thing isn’t what you are thinking it is.
What does it look like?
This is it. We can follow our Jesus to every dark, scary, broken place He just insists on going, determined to heal and restore people, because He is a good Savior and we can trust Him. (Interrupted,xx1)
It doesn’t mean the next right thing that feels good. It doesn’t mean the next right thing that will make you more popular. It doesn’t mean the next right thing that will make those around you pleased.
It means quieting your soul and asking your creator what it is that HE wants you to do in that moment.
For years after I first visited Liberia, Africa with Samaritans Purse I assumed the next right thing to do was to move there. I came home and immediately started pestering praying that my husband would take a job with Samaritans Purse as a teacher. We would move our entire family overseas and I could raise my kids with red dirt on their feet. I knew that God would agree with my plan, He had to, it was His kind of work. But the next right thing, was my right thing. and God was nowhere in my motives, or at least my timing of it all. The next right thing was to wait.
We waited and I ended up traveling back to Africa two more times for two different reasons. Both were amazing trips and I felt like that is where I was supposed to be at that time.

And here we are, years later and a huge shift has occurred in my life and thinking. God has clearly revealed to me that my mission, my next right thing, is the seven people under my roof I claim to love. ( yes, I included myself, because self care is vital to healing).

 

There is no t- shirt for my mission that I have been called to at this time. It’s not sexy to say that I am in the trenches with a sick child we cannot find the diagnosis for, a child who self- harms, and a marriage that needs to be more than two roommates existing. No one is going to organize a fundraiser or create an Etsy page to pay all the medical and therapy bills. There is no “home from the therapists” gathering as we come home. It’s hard. It’s ugly. It’s lonely. And usually that is just my heart.
Me getting on a plane to Africa and serving in a third world country was easy for me. Leaving my family to fly across the world was safe for me at that time. It was safer for me to serve, than it was to face what was about to happen at home.
I needed to really look  and be honest with what was going on around me. To stop working with the big and sexy missions at this point in my life. The missions that get the attention, the blogs, and the t-shirts and start serving the ones under my roof. To pay attention to the disconnect. To acknowledge the silence in between commercials. To admit that I would rather be with my friends than try and connect with my husband.
The moment I realized that I only have two summers with my oldest home and that doesn’t sound like enough ice creams in my heart, I knew that this is where I am called to serve. It isn’t glamorous. It isn’t going to get any media attention. But that is the thing. To be the church. To be the church that is missional and different we need to just do the next right thing. And the next right thing for me is to love the people under my roof well.
What is your next right thing? How can you be a part of a missional church?
I am giving away two copies of this life changing book! In order to be entered into the drawing leave a comment below telling me what your next right thing or tell me that you have shared this post. I am telling you if you read no other book this fall this one has to be it!

 

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Comments

  1. I’m leaving a comment because I am so proud of you and this work you are doing. And so you know that you have opened a door in my heart that had been slammed shut against all things Christian for so long. Thank you, dear one. Thank you.

  2. Alicia Audirsch says:

    My next thing is to be obedient to whatever Gods call us to and to put away my desires for my life. To become a foster/adoptive mom to some kids who need families and to simply listen to God. So many times I have good intentions but they are my grand schemes of how I want to serve God and not really what he has told me. I don’t stop and listen.

  3. Nicki Sweezer says:

    What is my next right thing. That is a very good question. I’m constantly following you and am amazed by all you do. I want to do more, but I don’t know what more is. I’m spinning in circles here. I guess I need to be more calm and listen more intently. Thank you for all the constant encouragement you post.

  4. my next right thing is to true God with my finances. i could “try to do more” to get more money to pay off debts, but instead I am going to trust that I am doing what He wants. I will not add more to my plate with the motive of adding money…I believe in God’s ABUNDANCE. Thanks for the question. Love YOUR mission…only the enemy will say that’s not enough because he doesn’t want your focus there with you at home:)

  5. Shared these powerful words. ~Bethany

  6. Kim Wright says:

    My next right thing is to be still and listen to God. To be ready even when/if the next right thing is not the next feel good thing. Thank you for an inspirational post!

  7. Thank you for this. In the midst of a deep depression, personally, I think my “next right thing” might just be tucking my kids into bed and praying with them…but I’ll continue to look for and strive to do the next right thing at every turn. Thank you!

  8. Liz Clinton says:

    My next right thing is to keep going to God with all my doubts and questions and not run away from them.

  9. amy cooper says:

    I’m going to put anger and resentment aside and find joy in what i do have, not what I think i should have. I’m going to trust that God knows who I am, and it does not matter who my boss thinks I am.

  10. I AM moving to Africa

  11. Jen Hatmaker is one of the most beautiful souls of our time. I was lucky enough to hear her speak at a women’s conference and it rocked my world. She is amazing and challenges us to live outside of ourselves band to fulfill the purpose of why we were created. I ha e not read the book but hope to. This was beautiful and challenging, and I pray many people will read this book! The next right thing isn’t always easy or fun, but it is always necessary. Thanks for sharing this! I’m going to pass it along as well!

  12. Reblogged this on Three Boys and a Mom and commented:
    I have nothing brilliant to add to this. Jen Hatmaker is one of the most inspirational women out there and I had the honor of attending one of her women’s conferences. She challenges us and pushes us out of our comfort zones in the most amazing way. My words could not,possibly add to hers so please just read this and read her book! Do the next right thing, step out in faith, and live boldly for the purpose God has called you to, whatever that may be.

  13. Megan Ernst says:

    I always love reading your posts! My next thing is praying and seeking out where God wants us to move to. It will mean leaving a home and neighborhood we love and being farther from people we love. But we are confident this is what God wants us to do, so we will obey.

  14. Jenifer Pickens says:

    Review hit home. We are adopting a hurting kido from foster care. It’s isolating when behavior are extreme dealing with traumas and loss. Not to mention the team of people we constantly work with to support him. Your encouraging words were exactly what I needed this morning.

  15. shortyred919 says:

    I shared this. Thank you for sharing your heart. Beautiful.

  16. My next thing is the same thing which can be daunting when there seems to be little or no movement toward the door marked success. Thank you for this post Sheli.

  17. Lisa Sherman says:

    Just love this, Sheli!! I feel in the same boat with my next right thing. It’s way too easy to want to rescue the world and push our own families off to the side. If I can’t be Jesus to and infront of my own kids, then I not ready to go off saving the world in Jesus name. My next right thing is my home as well. ❤️❤️

  18. Melissa D says:

    I recently graduated grad school and have been experiencing a frustrating, exhausting job hunt that I never expected. I have had one kind of job in mind for myself and the only leads I’ve had do not match the perfect ideal that I’ve envisioned. To be honest, I’ve been arrogant and elevating myself above a role that leads me to serve “the least of these”. I felt God’s whisper in my heart at church this weekend telling me that perhaps His plans are not my plans, and now this is speaking to me the exact same way. I feel so ashamed. Perhaps my next right thing is to take this job that puts me in the middle of this dark and hurting world, gets me out of my comfort zone, and gives me the opportunity to love on God’s children. I’m fairly certain now that God is trying to tell me that. Thank you so much for helping him to do so.

  19. Amy Nelson says:

    My next right thing is to cry as much as I need to, pour my heart out to God, wipe my tears, and clean up my face and go through the day thanking Him for His kindness, gentleness, and guidance. I believe He has a plan.

  20. Ugh…..this book….I have no idea yet what that next best thing is, but I am cleaning out the wax in my ears with shovels and I am taking a pumice to my heart to make sure I am ready for it when He’s ready to give it to me. My husband and I took this book with us on our first extended stay away from our child and business and it really messed things up…in a good way, but also has left us on edge ever since. Thanks for your honesty in your own mission field.

  21. Amen sister. Sometimes I worry that we are raising a generation of self campaigning christians… and that I am at the forefront of this group! When it all boils down to it: who gets the glory? My next good thing is: to go do the pile of laundry that sits on my bed…. it’s not glorious, not self gratifying, and it sure is heck ain’t fun… but nobody likes dirty panties!

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