I value the wrong things.
I focus on the wrong things.
I prioritize the wrong things.
Maybe you do too.
This week, I found myself wandering around my life only half-present. I was caught up in my own world, my own problems, my own trivial worries, my own empty anxieties.
Something had snagged my mind.
I caught myself dwelling on my own little world a little too much. What I wanted. What I deserved. What my life should look like.
And then, I woke up one morning, saw the news and was slapped in the face with the injustice permeating our world. It felt heavy. It felt distant. It felt out of my control. It felt real.
I sat outside with my steaming cup of coffee and allowed the silence of morning to wash over me. I needed space to process. I needed time to grieve. I needed to sit in the discomfort and allow my soul to mourn the injustice, the hate, and the disunity of our world.
Slowly, I opened scripture, doubting I would find anything that could address the stirring in my soul.
Now, let me get one thing very clear.
I’m not usually the, “Flip the pages and point your finger and magically land on the perfect verse” kind of person. It’s never worked for me.
But the Spirit was determined to catch my attention that morning. Without any direction or plan, I found myself entrenched in the story of the boy turned King- Jeremiah. And there was a chapter that put words to the stirrings in my soul.
“This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place....
Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness, his upper rooms by injustice, making his own people work for nothing, not paying them for their labor.
He says, ‘I will build myself a great palace with spacious upper rooms.’
So he makes large windows in it, panels it with cedar and decorates it in red.
Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar?
Did not your father have food and drink?
He did what was right and just, so all went well with him.
He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well.
IS THIS NOT WHAT IT MEANS TO KNOW ME?’ declares the Lord.”
Here’s where I’m at friends. So often, we try so hard to build our, “great palaces.” We work and strive and build and run towards the perfect and beautiful life. We compare our lives to the world’s standard of the “good life” and complain that ours is less than perfect.
Our life isn’t fun enough.
Our house isn’t nice enough.
Our car isn’t new enough.
Our food isn’t fancy enough.
Our town isn’t trendy enough.
Our situation isn’t glamorous enough.
Our schedule isn’t free enough.
Our weekends aren’t crazy enough.
But who told you that?
Who told you that your life had to always feel fun?
Who told you your house should look like a Pinterest post?
Who told you that you deserve a newer car?
Who told you your food should be picture perfect?
Who told you to live in the coolest place you can find?
Who told you your situation should be glamorous?
Who told you that you deserve all the ME time you want?
Who told you to party hard while you’re young?
Who told you that’s how life is meant to be lived?
What if, instead, we ARE told how life is meant to be lived...but we’re ignoring it?
What if the goal and purpose of our lives has already been presented to us, but we’re so busy pursuing the things of this world that we’re completely missing it?
“This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.”
Here are the questions we should be asking:
Are you fighting for what is just?
Are you actually working for what is right?
Are you rescuing real people out of oppression?
Are you providing for individuals who are struggling to make ends meet?
Are you standing up for the rights of the foreigner?
Are you caring for the orphans in your town or around the world?
Are you showing up for the widow who is lonely in your family?
Are you defending the cause of people who have no voice to defend themselves?
Our perfect houses, perfect lives, perfect image, perfect posts, perfect schedule, perfect routine, perfect meals will not change the world. They will not be here forever. They will not matter in eternity.
What will matter?
The sacrifices we made for PEOPLE.
The love we showed to PEOPLE.
The resources we gave up for PEOPLE.
The time we poured into PEOPLE.
I’m done trying to grasp a life the world tells me I should have.
Rather, let's give everything we are and sacrifice everything we have to see justice thrive, hope grow, love multiply and redemption received.
This is worthy of our lives.