Friday, September 19, 2014

A Lukewarm Christian Is As Bad As Lukewarm Coffee

Things learned in Philly:

  • "yous" is not nearly as catchy as "y'all"
  • scarf weather comes much earlier here than Arkansas
  •  A good book can take you far
  • It's hard not being close to your best friends
  • If you're nice enough to a friar he may buy you a beer
  • Three year olds don't quite grasp the concept of a structured environment
  • What was once "daily wear" now constitutes as "dress-down" wear
  • The quest for the best cheesesteak may in fact never end
  • A mother's advice whether in person or over the phone is still unbelievably helpful
It's weird, I was talking with my friend and old roommate, Margaret, who is living in Boston for the year and going through something similar to me. We were seen in Arkansas as these big city slickers coming from St. Louis but here we are seen as country-folk. In the last 4 years she and I have gotten really good at being the outsiders. Sometimes it's fun, sometimes it sucks. I am normally one to thrive on difference. I like talking to new people from new places doing new things. I think Margaret would agree. For the past couple of days though I have been getting an itch for familiarity. I'm sure this is normal, but it's also bothersome. 

I was talking to my incredible advice-giving mother today about the new stress of where to go from here. I know, I know, you must be surprised to hear me planning already. (ohhh the sarcasm) Anyway, after expressing the frustration to my mom about the backwardness of the American education system and how expensive life is, she helped me to realize how incredibly blessed I am. Blessed with the time to do my research. Blessed with the time to build my resume. Blessed with the time to also pause the grad school application process and explore a new city. A city that I'm not sure I'll be ready to leave in a year (hence the open tabs on my computer to different MSW programs in Philadelphia). I am blessed beyond words in so many areas of my life, and while I wanted to scream earlier today with the curse of grad school, she helped me turn it around. 

Along with all these blessings, I am also blessed with the time to read good books. I am currently rereading Crazy Love, by Francis Chan. In one of the chapters he discusses what a "lukewarm Christian" is and how easy it is to become one. Let me share a section that really hit close to home. It's kind of long, but bare with me-I will make a connection at the end!

"Lukewarm people do not live by faith: their lives are structured so they never have to. They don't trust God if something unexpected happens-they have their savings account. They don't need God to help them-they have retirement plans in place. They don't genuinely seek out what life God would have them live-they have life figured and mapped out. They don't depend on God on a daily basis-their refrigerators are full and, for the most part, they are in good health. The truth is, their lives wouldn't look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God." 

Here's my connection: I have seen and experienced the people Chan takes a whole chapter to describe. I don't believe I am currently one of those people by any means-but I do have a fear of becoming one. My mom reminded me today that I can't function without a plan. Sometimes I am content if I know I'm living out God's plan but sometimes I try to take the reins and it doesn't always end in contentment. My mom suggested that maybe my plan for the year is to do what I'm doing: using the time I have been blessed with to explore my options. The option from God's plans will shine through eventually, I can't forget that. 

I need a plan. But I also need God. That is how I know that I am more than lukewarm. 

I have been reminded by countless people that grad school is expensive and social workers don't make a lot of money so I better plan for that. What if God's plan isn't for me to make a bunch of money and live comfortably just yet? Maybe these student loans that everyone is telling me I should be scared of is just another way to depend more on God. After all, anyone going into social work or really any helping profession isn't normally doing it for the money. My career and my life won't be based on monetary success. It will be based on how well I can follow God's plan. 

More to come from Philly later!

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