I am Different

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. ESV 1 Peter 2:11

Riding the carousel with my daughters today, I realized something: I am different. By choice. I was at Six Flags, surrounded by people in North Face jackets (or so it seemed). I really want a lightweight, black, North Face jacket. But I’ll never buy one. My wife bought me a perfectly functional black jacket on Amazon for $30. It looks good, keeps me warm and dry, and saved me $100 that we have invested in God’s kingdom. During that carousel ride, I also realized we rarely go out to eat as a family, only take “vacations” to our parent’s homes (or to a friend’s condo in the off-season). My car has a fading/chipping paint job and I really can’t stand it. But it drives well and has 150k miles. I’m not interested in paying $1,000 for a paint job just to have a shiny car.

I pray you hear the heart of this post. The point is not that I think any of the above things are sinful, or that I’m any better off because I don’t do them. What I’m trying to communicate is that in these areas, God has convicted me to live differently for His glory. These are ways we save money to divert into His kingdom. In no way do I expect everyone to live this way. We have chosen for my wife to stay home with the kids. We home school. We have five kids and are adopting 2-3 more. We have people into our home a lot…so much so that it impacts our food budget. I’ve chosen not to float my resume to get a bigger church, but rather to pour into the place God has me. Each of these are conscious, strategic choices we feel God has called us to make. They make us different.

We are very careful with our money, and God has blessed. I remarked to my wife yesterday that if everything breaks right in the next few years, we could possibly sell our house, move some things around, and build the dream home we both would love…large, new, stone/stucco front…classic $650,000 home in Calvert County. Then we looked at each other and said, “Who are we kidding…if we had that kind of money, we would probably adopt 3 more kids…” It’s just not what we are called to do. Again, in no way am I saying I think it’s wrong for people to have a nice home. In fact, tomorrow I hope to write about all the ways I splurge and the worldly things I engage in and enjoy with God’s blessing. God calls us to enjoy these things. For today, I just wanted to share that I’m slowly becoming comfortable with who I am…the guy that would rather wear a $30 jacket from China than a $130 North Face jacket so I can sponsor a Compassion child for three more months. There is a tension in my soul–it’s not always easy to live this way. Some days I regret the choices I’ve made. But most of the time I’m content with the calling God has given me. I’m slowly learning to embrace that calling and acknowledge my differences.

What about you? How has God called you to be different? Perhaps God has called you to maximize your career. Perhaps He has asked you to intentionally limit your family size to free you to pursue other kingdom things. Perhaps wearing a North Face jacket allows you to connect to people I’ll never connect to (I already run most people off with my 5 kids and pastor job–nothing kills a conversation faster than answering the “so what do you do?” question, or by introducing my kids as “all mine…and we are adopting more”). The only point I’m trying to make is that God calls us each to be different in various ways, and we need to embrace those unique callings. How are you different?

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