I write for three reasons:
To spread hope, feel brave, and remember what’s true.
So every now and then, I’m compelled to write about this tender South African topic, which can occupy vast tracts of my mental real estate if I don’t intentionally evict it.
I’m not an activist or a politician or given to Facebook rants. I’m just willing to peel off my skin in this space, and say it like it is. And I only do that if I believe God can use my no-skin vulnerability to spread hope, help you feel brave, and remind you of the truth.
When it comes to the state of the nation, the things that unseat my security are –
fear and forgetfulness.
Fear that our economy will crash. Fear that our boys won’t get the brilliant university education we’d love them to access. Fear that everything we read in the news is actually true. Fear that everything we read on Facebook is actually true – where life in other countries is PERFECT and entirely PROBLEM-FREE. Fear that it’s too late for national rehab and that our country will always walk with a limp.
And I forget my theology.
I forget God still has the universe in His grace-grip. I forget He can do all things, and none of His purposes can be thwarted (Job 42:2). I forget He’s designed and secured our earthly purpose and our eternal destiny. I forget He’s called me by name and is able to best position me, for His best use. I forget He can be trusted. I forget that with Him, it’s never too late.
So then, the things that help me face the fear and remember-not-to-forget are –
I was reminded recently that if you’re not sure what you should be doing or where you should be going, go back to the last thing God said. And rest in that.
The last thing God said to me and my man when we set aside time (as we do from time to time) for this stay-or-go decision – time to pray, read, think, talk and listen to the Holy Spirit – was resoundingly,
Until He says something different, we need to just freakin’ enjoy that. Enjoy the 3D, HD, surround-sound lives we lead in Africa.
If ever He says something else, we’ll act accordingly.
Also, our friend Steven rightly says that – like the Israelites who didn’t break camp and move on unless the fire or cloud went before them – we dare not take a step into the future unless we go with God’s presence. It’s just not worth striving and hustling for the apparent purposes of God, without the presence of God.
And when I rest in the reality of how immersed I am in wealth – close family, rich community, deep connections – I catch myself thinking, If this doesn’t satisfy me, nothing will. Because sometimes we strive and hustle far and wide for more – and return home to find we had it all along.
God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). He gives wisdom and common sense. We’re able to reason.
And reason says,
Be as wise as possible and do the best you can with the finite resources and limited vision you have now. Then remember Jesus sees it all. He knows the future completely, and He promises to meet you there.
Make your home a place of peace, where Christ is King. Work on your insides and the insides of your kids, so that you and they will be ready for whatever grace space God is calling you or them to occupy, on the outside.
Don’t be manipulated by fear-mongering, or a particularly depressing news cycle, or other people’s decisions to stay or go. Only God is the boss of your story.
It’s not actually about emigrating or not. It’s about managing change and unknowns. It’s being honest about how much I’m blaming my circumstances or my environment for my emotional wellbeing – when God should be the chief determinant of my peace of mind.
None of us can rise above gravity. Our lives are all made up of moments and movements only just above the surface of this one planet. Motions and promotions, text messages and traffic lights and supermarket queues and bedtime kisses. We all breathe the same air under this same sky. And in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).
But, if you’re bitter and twisted, wherever you are, you’re not living and moving and having your being in Him. And if you leave wherever you are – bitter and twisted – you’ll be taking your bitter and twisted self with you into your next job, next marriage, next church – next country. If you don’t deal with your bitterness and twisted-ness, you’ll just find new things to be bitter and twisted about.
David laid out his requests before God:
‘Lead me in the right path, O Lord… Make Your way plain for me to follow.’ (Psalm 5:8)
It’s ok to lay it all out before God – all your decisions, uncertainties, roadblocks and red tape – and ask Him for clarity.
Tell God you don’t want to settle for anything less than your full inheritance in Him, whatever that looks like and wherever that ends up being.
Ask Him for eyes-wide-open wisdom and all-in courage.
And keep giving Him your dreams. They’re safe with Him, and so are you. . . .
Happy Youth Day, South Africans!
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