“Where are you from?”
Who hasn’t been greeted with this question at some point? We usually ask it to get a feel for someone’s roots; their personality; their style.
I am one of those small town girls that can claim a lifetime split between two towns. The biggest town I’ve ever lived in has a population just above 3000 people. I enjoy living in a place where the only traffic jams are caused by the train blowing through town, where you can find a parking spot anywhere you go unless it’s for a packed out sporting event at the school, and where you can let your kids roam a little bit without worrying *too* much.
Maybe you’re someone who lives in a big city, or maybe, like some of my classmates from High school, you couldn’t wait to get out of this small town and get to somewhere with more opportunities and less drama. For what it’s worth, I believe those last two things are all a matter of perspective, as it seems to me that there is drama everywhere, and opportunities are often only seen when we have the biases stripped from our eyes and really start looking at the unique people and places around us.
Wherever you find yourself right now, no doubt has an impact on how you see yourself, how you see the world, and how you live your life.
As a mom trying to raise three kids alongside my fiercely dedicated, hard-working husband, my view of where I live is sometimes one of sheer gratitude, but all too often, one that’s weighed down by a spirit of poverty and discontent. “I can’t do this today God. I’m not sure why you thought I was a good choice to be a mom to these three kids. I’m too tired and my attitude is ruined. I never do it right. Summer is coming. How on EARTH am I going to handle having all the kids home all the time and referee the fighting and resist the urge to zone them all out in front of the TV so I can get some dang peace around here?? Why is it so hard to keep up with everything? It doesn’t seem this hard for other moms and I don’t even have a job to go to! Sure I work at home for the orchard, but I can’t really count that because it’s sporadic. Even worse I have to use Daniel Tiger as a babysitter so I can get all that paperwork done. Why do I keep falling behind? Why can’t this be easier? Now I feel guilty for even feeling that way because I know I have it a lot easier than some women. I have a husband who loves our family and works hard AND I have some help from grandparents.”
Obviously right now, as a mom to three kids living in a small farming town, my outlook on life tends to be extremely swayed by my circumstances.
God has a better idea.
In 1 Chronicles 16, I was reading what King David wrote about God, and what he had to say about His dwelling place:
For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and joy in his dwelling place.
Right after I read that, my mind immediately went to Ephesians 2:6:
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus
That’s not a future tense promise, that’s a right now reality.
That’s where I live. And did you see what dwells there in the verse from Chronicles?
Strength and Joy.
So the next time I find myself wondering how on earth I can make it through, why life is always feeling so out of control, bogged down with guilt about how I’m always behind on everything, and feeling shame about my bad attitude, I have to just remember this simple reality:
My spiritual dwelling place is already established and active, and though I can’t yet see it with my eyes, it’s actually more real than my physical reality.
It’s a leap of faith to believe that Jesus has in fact redeemed humanity, including me, and He’s brought me into His home. In his home, a couple of the things that prevail are strength and joy.
That’s some seriously good news for anyone who finds themselves living in a place or a situation that seems to be insurmountably difficult or discouraging.
No matter where you live, you can reside in a place with unlimited quantities of strength and joy. Why would you pass that up?