|Dichotomy: any splitting of a whole into exactly two non-overlapping parts, meaning it is a procedure in which a whole is divided into two parts, or in half|
This picture represents the dichotomy of my life. It symbolizes all the beauty and joy and comfort we have, and also the responsibility that comes with these freedoms. Look closely, closer still, the title of the book I'm reading when this picture was taken is Tortured for Christ.
Over the last few months God has been teaching me, leading me, showing me His love for me. He has healed a deep and ugly hole in my heart and re-filled me with joy and passion, but He didn't stop there. He showed me the mantle of responsibility that was to come with that refilling. He has led to a place of green pastures and still waters, but He has not led me here to rest, yet.
I could waste a lot of time wondering why I have been given much when others have nothing; why I was born free to worship Jesus Christ while every day people die for proclaiming His name. I could look at the world picture of poverty, disease and oppression and declare it too much for one person to do anything about. I could ignore it all, and just keep living the shallow, self-centered American dream.
Or I can do something. ANYTHING.
Since I am writing this now, you can assume I have chosen the latter. I can't save the world or fix all it's problems, but I sure as anything have a direct line to the one who can and will. That's my first step: prayer. Not just mindless random prayers but focused, deliberate prayers for specific people, places and events. God gave me the gift of lists for a reason. I'm turning my lists into directed prayers. I've decided I would rather be a nagging widow than a luke warm chunk of vomit. If simply getting started praying seems overwhelming, I can direct you to a few locations:
International Prayer Network Articles page (don't be alarmed at the Afrikaans, just scroll down to the English links. I suggest starting with "How to spend an hour in prayer. Read it; do it.)
Operation World an amazing and beautiful resource that will tell you specifically how to pray for individual countries and people groups. They'll even send it to your inbox
Pray for the President - Liking him is not required. Agreeing with him is not required. If you are not praying for him you are directly disobeying God who placed him in office. Take some time to learn the names of local leaders too and pray for them.
Most simply of all: make a list. Make a list and start praying. Pray over it everyday and when your prayers are answered, write that down and add more to your list. Just get started.
The second thing God asked of me was to engage the enemy head on. Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy but Jesus came to give life and give it to the full. Become engaged in the battle as an agent of life by choosing one thing, one way to make a difference. Yes, the options are overwhelming as well. Start. Pick something. Dive in. Every day that we engage the enemy we make inroads for other people into the Kingdom. Imagine if every Christian we know actively worked at Kingdom building rather than taking the viewpoint of "Good thing I'm in! Think I'll stay safely inside." Chances are your heart will be broken. Chances are you are not going to feel comfortable, and you are going to be asked to give up comforts in order to meet the needs of others. If you aren't feeling tension in your life concerning where you are and where God is taking you, you might not actually be following the living God.
There are several organizations that I am passionate about:
Compassion International - If you want your heart to light up for God's forgotten people, get involved in the life of a child. If $38 is too much for your family, partner with another family and it's only $19; partner with 2 other families and it's $13. I find it hard to believe that anyone reading this today can't find $13 a month. If you can't invest in the monthly letter writing commitment, look at their critical needs program. Look into their Water of Life program.
Voice of the Martyrs - Christ and His body are being desperately attacked in countries that aren't as apathetic as our own. Find ways to help financially, through prayer and letters to those who are imprisoned and facing death for spreading the gospel. If you are a member of the church, this directly affects you. You are responsible to pray for and help your brothers and sisters.
Northwest Haiti Christian Mission/ Melonnie Kelly - if you really don't believe that one average person can't change the world for Christ, I beg you to spend some time at Melonnie's blog. Closing down brothels, bringing hope to prisoners, teaching people how to live for Christ instead of dying in despair, washing feet and loving children are only a small part of what make her such an amazing person. I am privileged to call her friend, and I love the fact that knowing her is God's way of telling me that even I, with all my flaws and failures can be something incredible with and for Him.
If none of the things I have mentioned so far do anything for you, here's a few more:
To Write Love on her Arms
Gospel for Asia
All of these organizations and so many, many more need help, support, prayer, volunteers, hands, feet and voices. Ignorance is not an option or an excuse. Get involved, sign up for newsletters. Like Facebook pages. Learn and in learning, engage.
You should walk away from this feeling tension. I do. Every day, I do. The words on the gospel of Luke echo in my soul "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." I have been given much. So very much. I do not wish to stand before the Lord having held on to it and closed my eyes and heart to all who could have been saved had I but given time and prayers and help.
Until all of us are free, no one is.