Funny question: When’s the last time you read something you were afraid to read?
Maybe a book you thought you’d find to hard to deal with — something you thought would poke at some old wounds? Maybe an envelope that came in the mail with a yes or a no in it?
Funny answer: Last year, I read a book I probably would’ve avoided, had the sweet friend of mine who works at the library not handed it to me and said “I think you would love this.”
The book was Daring to Hope, by Kate Majors Davis. She’s the author of Kisses from Katie and she is (in my humble opinion) like a modern-day-mother-Theresa serving orphans in Uganda. This story, in some respects, picks up where her first bestseller Kisses from Katie left off.
If you know the slightest bit of backstory — that I served as a missionary in southern Africa for a couple of years — you might wonder why I was extremely hesitant to open the cover.
Here’s the thing. Even though the Hero Hubs and I felt completely confident that it was absolutely clear that our season in South Africa was coming to a close and it was time to move to the US, even though the Lord just about put road signs in the sky for us to say “This is the way, walk in it…” still, I was afraid I’d just feel plain guilty that I am here… living, breathing and writing in North Carolina, and I am therefore no longer there.
I decided to be brave enough to open the cover and start reading. Instead of condemnation and guilt and shame washing over me, I was embraced by grace, love and… hope.
Katie wrote about her everyday life, and she wrote about what it looked like to be faithful to Jesus, right where she was, doing the things each day that she felt the Lord calling her to do. Baking the bread. Feeding her many children. Caring for the sick in her community.
“As I’m tempted to wallow in guilt over all that I am not for my children, gently He points out that I was never meant to meet all their needs anyway.”
And I said in my heart, “Me, too.”
“This is such a simple truth, yet it strikes my heart in a profound way. To dwell in the place I have been given. To do the things I have been given. To love the people I have been given. This is not mysterious or far reaching, yet this is the truth of a God-ordained life.”
And I said in my heart, “Yes! This is the truth!”
And as the encouraging words unfolded, story by story and page by page, I was reminded something I’ve been telling myself all along: my job is not to do what anyone else is doing.
I think the good and profoundness of these six words only hit me when my neighbor wrote them down on a notecard and put them on her refrigerator: Your Race is in Your Lane.
If God calls me to Uganda or Sri Lanka or Argentina, I will go. But what if He is just asking me to be kind, to love well, and to live my life in my lane right here? Is that any less faithful?
I finally decided I didn’t need to be afraid of anyone else’s story — because my faithfulness will not look like theirs, and it’s not supposed to.
“As it turns out, faithfulness was in the ordinary, in the everyday things that do not feel glorious but, in fact, lead us to His feet.”
And when the last page was read, I took a deep breath — relieved. With a sigh and smile and maybe wiping a tear or two, I gave thanks to a God who doesn’t write the same story for everyone to live. He has a million stories up His sleeves. SO many different threads to weave together in the beautiful tapestry He’s unfolding.
Are you maybe comparing your story to someone else’s and feeling like you come up short? Comparing your Mom skills? Your productivity at work or your volunteer hours or your kid’s performance on a sports team?
If so, please hear this and believe it: Your job is not to walk anyone else’s walk. It’s not to talk anyone else’s talk. And it’s not to fulfill anyone else’s calling.
Whether you’re on a farm in Kansas or in a penthouse in Hong Kong, keep on asking:
Please show me what it looks like for me to be faithful today. Lord help me to stay in my lane.
And then my friend, go out and live your extraordinary-ordinary beautifully-unique story — you’re the only one who can live faithfully to the beautiful life God has planned for you.
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