Well ladies, we've done it. We've finished reading the book. But before we put it on a bookshelf, let's take time to consider the final three chapters. Our contributor this week is Kandi Tucker. And if you don't know Kandi, you're new. I type that with a smile because Kandi is probably the most welcoming person I've met at church. Thus, she is very well-known. Kandi makes every possible effort to ensure that each person she meets is included and loved. She remembers people's names, she invites them to get involved, she checks in when no else is checking, she serves when no one knows she's serving. Kandi loves on so many of us, and she is very much loved by us in return. So if you haven't "met" her already, you are long overdue. I am happy to introduce Kandi:
“What would your life look like if you followed Jesus completely? No excuses. Wherever. Whenever. Whatever.”This sentence pretty much summed up Not a Fan to me. Let me begin by giving a quick definition of the wherever, whenever, and whatever:
- Wherever – Following Jesus out of our comfort level. Kyle asks, “Where is the one place that you find most difficult to follow Jesus?”
- Whenever – Immediate obedience. Following Jesusright now! No excuses!
Am I the only one a bit intimidated by this list when it’s laid out in black and white?!?! No excuses? What about my kids waking up at all hours of the night so I’m too tired to pick up my Bible in the morning… What about letting other people reach out to that person that I don’t seem to have much in common with… What about those hours I spend on the computer each night… I can’t speak for anyone else, but my life certainly needed this reminder by Kyle to follow Jesus completely. Let me start by giving anyone reading this a little history.
- Whatever – Giving Jesus every part of my life. Making Jesus the only priority of my life.
I grew up in the jungle in Asia with parents who gave up material and relational comforts to serve God. Two of my siblings currently live in extremely uncomfortable environments touching lives for Jesus in Southeast Asia. In my mind, following Jesus meant some type of direct ministry or a huge sacrifice of comfort and family. Thus, for years I’ve battled guilt for my materially comfortable existence, living the “American Dream.” Oh, I’ve been able to go on some fantastic vacations and buy some beautiful clothes for my kids, but it would all seem meaningless afterwards. It was all so superficial and empty to my heart that wanted to do bigger and better things. At the same time, I felt so helpless since I didn’t know how to change anything. I couldn’t exactly leave my kids to go on a missions trip for a week or open my home to foster children without my husband’s blessing. To solve this battle in my heart, I just kept telling myself that I would do it all later when my kids were older.
God has used the past year to show me that while I was always thinking big and looking ahead to what I could do for God in the future, I was neglecting following Jesus completely in my day-to-day existence. God cared about what I was doing with my time today and about how close of a relationship we had with each other. He has used a variety of events and people to show me that living here in New Jersey with my little family cleaning bathrooms and teaching my children to love Jesus has value to Him. In the process, I’ve discovered that dying to my ambitions and choosing to live a life devoted to Jesus each and every day isn’t easy. However, God has given me so much peace, joy, and contentment in my current circumstances that I know He will continue to do so in the future. This is why I was challenged by these last three chapters. Once again, they forced me to examine my personal relationship with Jesus and whether I could honestly say that I am following Jesus completely today. Not tomorrow or the next year, but today!
I think it would be encouraging for those reading this post to share our wherever, whenever, and whatever’s with each other. How are you, right now, stepping out of your comfort zone by making Jesus the ONLY priority of your life? Here are a few of mine:
-Picking up my Bible to read instead of the computer.-Turning off the television to pray-Serving my family without consideration of whether I am being served in return.-Continuing to pursue relationships with women in my community without fear of rejection.-Choosing to remain content daily with the distance that we live from family.-Rather than purchasing the latest fad, use my money to bless other people.
These are all things I’m currently working on with some days containing more victory than others. Don’t they all sound so basic?!?! Whew! I’m thankful today that I can be a slave to Jesus even while living this simple life that he has put before me.
Okay, ladies, so this is our final "Not a Fan" blog question. How are you, right now, stepping out of your comfort zone by making Jesus the ONLY priority in your life? Boom! I guess Kandi didn't want to let us off easy on our final question, huh? Ha - but no, in all seriousness, let's consider this. How are we stepping out of our comfort zones RIGHT NOW? Don't wimp out on us now. Let's hear it!
And thanks for a great book study, everyone - it's been fun :) xo!