You said go I went And you sent Me Into adversity I struggled through Until I knew You’d said “you’re done” And so I’ve come And came To wait Alone You say change I shift I create a … Continue reading
In celebration of the five year anniversary of my experience in living out of my car, I am posting a series of journal entries never before revealed. The hope of my Walden series is to share both a journey and a story of my attempts to live and find a real and living God. I hope the snippets entertain and inspire you as much as my experience of them has entertained and inspired me.
Car Blog entry 1st week of April 2010:
I sat across from Brent at Barnes and Noble and smiled as much to myself as I did to him.
“I’m going to live in my car.” I told him.
He stared back at me, sucking on the straw sticking out of his large chocolate frappe.
Was his response. His question caught me off guard a bit. I had expected a different reaction.
This was the beginning of a story, a story that I did not know the climax or resolution of…only the theme. As I sat across from Brent explaining all of the great reasons why living in my car would be awesome for his television show and my own experience, I felt excited and a little desperate.
I needed something to work on and work towards. I needed clarity. The previous Christmas and fall had worn on me, the stress of school and moving were driving me from my mind quite literally.
Is it so strange to want to find oneself through isolation? Through testing of the stuff you’re made of?
When I told my stepfather over the phone that I wanted to live in my car he laughed at me. He understood. He always understands. Sometimes I feel like he’s the only one in the world who is listening to me when I talk and not just responding to my stimulus.
He described my goal as a ‘right of passage’. This seemed strange to me because life had already given me a premature ‘right of passage’ which sometimes I feel makes my soul look like a baby with wrinkles. There is something unnatural about someone so young looking so old…as if innocence of youth had been destroyed by the wisdom of experience and the physical body hadn’t caught up. But the truth is, is that life moves at the same rate that I do. And at some point a true ‘right of passage’ must come for those of us like me who are hoping to fully divorce themselves from childish methods. These methods were developed originally for survival but are now outgrown and ineffective to the life that I am in right now. I suppose, what I mean to say is that my life must age so that the wrinkles look more natural.
My stepfather gave me a few tips on how to shower in public restrooms and told me to find a place to hide my camp stove while hot incase the cops came around to check me out and I needed to hide it. And then he told me he would be praying for me and if I wanted to do any wilderness survival he could hook me up next time I was in Idaho. I’m still considering…
It’s hard to explain to yourself and to other people why you’re embarking on a journey when you won’t know what the journey was until you’ve finished. I told my roommate Heidi once that I was doing it to get away, as a sort of retreat. I find myself often feeling like I need to be away from this place…from the life and world that I’ve made for myself. The bible says that we are not citizens here any longer, but that we have a citizenship in heaven with Christ. I believe that. I believe that because sometimes I’m here and I feel like I’m participating in a play. It’s a good play, a story that I get to help write, but it is still a play in the end. And sometimes I want the curtain to draw, the lights to go down, and to be able to go home where it is something meaningful and real—where it isn’t as temporary as this world is. Because you know that this life really has only one inevitable end. Everything in this world is bent towards depreciation ultimately leading to its own demise. And so, I think that it is my search for life on a planet bent towards death that makes me seek adventure.
Henry Thoreau said that he wanted to suck all of the marrow out of life. And so do I. Jesus said that he came to give life and life abundantly and I will spend the entirety of my short existence on this world seeking after the life that he promised and sucking all the marrow out as I am able. The paradox which I know only in part in my soul is that by seeking life with Jesus Christ it will in some way lead me closer to my death; so that while seeking life I will find death, and when this death comes I will know fully what it means to live. He promised that if any man believed in Him, though he may die…he will live!
So because and despite of all of my philosophical wonderings April 1st arrived and I moved into my car.
If you aren’t on missions yet but you want to be, be a good steward of the responsibilities that God has seen fit to give you. Chances are God has placed you where you are right now with people who need to be loved and reached for the body of Christ. How are you reaching them? Who are you discipling now? Who has God put in your life to pour into? What job or task should you be taking seriously?
God loves blessing his children. Grace, salvation, can never be earned. Righteousness is never going to earn us forgiveness. It just won’t. But don’t think that means God is a bad steward of his kingdom. He won’t give responsibility where it will not be stewarded well. He may give you a period of grace. He may give you a chance to repent and grow to be a good steward of what you take on, but ultimately responsibility in the kingdom is given to people who have proven themselves faithful with less.
The idea that you are too good for any job is poison in ministry and stewardship. Because really if you are too good for it, you should be able to do it well and with a good attitude.
The principle of stewardship forces you to accept and be grateful for what you have been given. It’s unfortunate but a good many students graduating from college have an unrealistic perspective of their abilities and what they ‘deserve’. Intentional stewardship demands that you don’t sneer at tasks you find distasteful. It calls you to learn everything you can from your situation and to grow, while humbly looking for opportunities to earn more responsibility because, really, responsibility is earned.
Your life right now is the training ground for future missions. If you have classes, be responsible with them (even if it’s pointless). If you have friends, disciple them well. Be the best friend you can be. If you have a job, serve that job with an attitude and a work ethic befitting the responsibility that you want to have.
If you are wondering why God doesn’t open doors for you to be a missionary now, ask yourself what responsibility he’s given you now and be faithful in that until he opens other doors. It’ll be time soon enough, enjoy what you have now and be grateful.