By: Krista Fox
Originally posted in Shout! Outdoor Adventure Magazine
I am driving down the road in my comfortable SUV, taking my youngest son to his lacrosse game. As I drive this particular route, I am in awe of the large Rocky Mountains laid out before me. It is a beautiful mixture of country plains submitting themselves before the large Colorado Mountains. This is a road I have taken many times, and yet this time this particular drive is freeze framed in my mind. I see the beauty of my surroundings as if it were the first time and it is as if my world has slowed to an almost stop, although everything and everyone else around me is continuing on as normal.
This is the strangest place to be. I have experienced this ‘slowness’ only a handful of times, and it has been exclusively associated with grief. Why am I grieving? I haven’t lost anyone, I have a great home, awesome husband and great kids…life is comfortable. And there it is. I am grieving the life and the comfort that I currently have, and trading it for the life that God wants my family and I to now have.
Our house is now like an empty shell of what used to be our home. I find myself wandering around the different rooms reminiscent of what each one had looked like, how I used each for some different purpose and how nice, and peaceful it was throughout the years. Each day, my husband and I are more in awe at the simplest of luxuries that our current life has allowed. All these years I’ve never taken the time to really appreciate any of these things as I do now, it took me giving these things up to really appreciate them.
God gave me the opportunity to enjoy these great blessings and luxuries, and showed me the comfort that each provided, and now, it is time to turn those comforts in for something else. I could have easily stayed in my life, served as I had been doing before, and lived life as the majority of us find as normal; however, I do not believe that God calls us to a life of comfort, He asks us to follow Him, and to follow Christ is not always easy or comfortable. He allowed me to be comfortable all of these years, to grow me in my spiritual life until He knew that I was ready to truly answer the call to follow Him.
The idea of selling everything and following Jesus is easy. In reality, the actual act of selling everything, or denying yourself some luxuries or comforts, and following Jesus is much more difficult. Jesus knew this. In the gospels, Jesus told His followers numerous times to deny themselves and follow Him. "If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). It is easy to read these scriptures and say that of course we would deny ourselves and go, or sell everything and follow Him. Yet He told the rich young ruler that came to him, “one thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow me” (Mark 10:21).
It is easy, until you have to do it, and we are all called to do it to some degree. As I look back at that drive with the plains bowing down to the mountains, I can see the beauty of what God has created and laid out before me, and while the realization of what I am giving up gives way to grief at times, it also invites excitement. I may not know what is before me, but God does as He has been there before Me.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). The excitement and obedience to serve God wherever and however, thankfully, outweighs the fear of selling everything and serving God on a 42 foot sailboat. While the sadness, fear, and unknowns naturally come with exchanging one lifestyle for another, I am content to be in God’s will.
One of the most unexpected blessings of this whole process thus far, has been sharing my family’s story with others and hearing what God has put on their hearts. For us, leaving our friends and family, business, and selling most everything we have to buy a sailboat to be missionaries has been a normal process because it has been completely guided by God. He has calmed our hearts during the tough times, and has opened the door for us. Our willingness to leave all normalcy behind opened up the conversations with others about what God has called them to do.
Sadly, many people are not obeying their callings. Many think that the desires put on their hearts are either too small, too big, or too out of the box. The enemy has done his job when he convinces people of God that it is not them the Lord is calling because of doubt, or lack of confidence, but somebody else. To all of these people I say, rise up, follow in the footsteps of Jesus and do what He has asked us all to do: follow Him to wherever or whatever that may be.
As my family and I continue to submit ourselves to His will, there have been and will be many obstacles. These trials have come in many forms, but to us it all comes down to Spiritual warfare. As our calling is not what is normal, or typical to many, it has given ample opportunity for doubt, discouragement, and/or fear to creep in. Through these trials, the burden to sell everything and go, and follow Him has only become stronger. Through the obstacles, the naysayers, the fear, the anxiety, and the grief our faith has only deepened. It has deepened into something I have never experienced before. I’m stepping from an easy and comfortable life into one filled with many unknowns, and I go in full confidence of who I am in Christ and trusting in His promise that He will not leave me or forsake me.
Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6).
God has given my family and I the opportunity to experience a real living faith. I’ve learned that having faith is relatively easy when it doesn’t cost us much. I am no longer interested in easy faith. As hard as it is to give every aspect of your life over to God, it is what He is asking from all of us. I would have never understood how dependent I was on myself, and things, until I was asked to give those over. He wants it all, and that is the cost of discipleship.