It’s that time of year again….
“So, what’s next?”
“Where are you going?”
“What will you be majoring in?”
Not that graduation is the only time you get these questions – but transitioning out of high school, there’s definitely a barrage of them. After that, it’s constant – an opener for small talk, a definition of who you are. “So, what do you do?”
These aren’t bad things, obviously. Excellence, planning, and purpose are stitched into who we are because of WHOSE we are.
But I’m a little nervous for us. A lot nervous, actually. Because we miss the point over and over again.
“What should I do?” – all the time. People thinking about coming into CompassionCorp, people who have been in CompassionCorp, and young adults with the world in front of them. Old adults as well – all of us are still growing up and asking what we want to do when we are older!
But the economy we are operating in defines success by comfort, bank accounts, prestige, what looks good, our names and status. We then, therefore, get stuck on this question and don’t know which direction to go. As followers of Christ….I think part of it is because we are unknowingly warring with ourselves. We forget it, miss it, or never see it in the first place – there is a definition of success in the Bible that collides with, and shatters, the picture that culture is painting for us. One shouts “pull yourself up, bootstraps and all” – the other proclaims “Seek first the kingdom” and our loving Abba will meet us there. Is the Spirit causing us to sit on a question of next steps longer than it should take, because He knows that our flesh is leading the decision whether we know it or not?
Culture is loud, 24/7, without our intentional redirection.
So instead of “first seeking the Kingdom” (what should be our definition of success), the rest creeps in. Sometimes with what seems like great intentions. In fact, they ARE great intentions. But we are mixing up our values and their priority levels because we are not checking our hearts and their motivations. In that decision that you are sticking so hard to – is it because you feel, deep in your soul, that it is the way you personally have been led to seek FIRST the kingdom?
Parents who are overjoyed that their children are involved in a local church are the very ones telling them that an international trip that the student feels they have a “God nudge” to go on is not an option.
There are skilled, educated, EXCELLENT project managers out there who are loving their family well, serving in their church, and giving generously. Are they called to move away and give it all up, to a field where their skills are desperately needed? If so, culture and our flesh can tear down that argument in two seconds. From fundraising to family moving – an awful idea. God is doing a ton where they are, where they are a successful balance of the American dream, an upstanding citizen, and a respected member of their local body!
Fresh out of high school and with limited experience in the world to know yourself, you are prepping for university and planning out your four years, which will lead to your lifetime. You are about to start the journey of school debt, while not having spent time to get to know yourself and what skills and passions you’d like to hone in on.
But…seek first the kingdom.
Not because God needs slaves, but because He calls lovingly to his chosen, adoptive, seen, heard, and saved children and has BETTER. Because we are the building blocks to the grand scheme where Jesus is the cornerstone. Because, as the one who designed the Caribbean ocean on the other side of the street I am writing from and the one who planted all of those skills and desires inside of you – He can be trusted to lead you to what is GOOD for you. BEST for you. No matter what other promises are there to choose from.
I am both proud of and blown away by who we have on the ground. Every single person in Compassion Corp was called a fool, “traitor”, simple minded, over-spiritual/over-emotional, silly, and selfish at some point. Some were laughed at, others were isolated. Every single one of them pushed ahead anyway, seeking first the kingdom. Some will tell you they tried other routes of success – only to be unable to escape the nagging of a different kind of success! It takes courage, perseverance, and determination to live in a different definition of success than the world.
But take heart, for that is exactly what He has overcome.
We literally could not be who we are at Breathe without Haley, Olivia, and Brooke. If you have met them, if you have been on the ground and interacted with them, that’s it. That’s what it looks like to “seek first the kingdom”.
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33