You’re reading because you were curious enough to see why anyone would ever desire an awkward, difficult, inopportune, untimely, ill-timed situation on purpose. It’s safe to say the goals we strive for are sometimes met with inconveniences that can’t be avoided along our various journeys. But when I set out to live a life of intentional inconvenience last year – I grew far more than I ever imagined possible. Living an inconvenient life turned out to be the most fulfilling year of my life.
When I say inconvenient — I’m talking about striving to live the way God says. Meeting the needs of others through the church is a lifestyle characterized by undoubted sacrifice (John 14:15). Anyone who lives in obedience to God would probably agree that doing so can sometimes tax one’s time, money and energy. I’m calling this lifestyle inconvenient because it sometimes went against what I naturally felt inclined to do. It was a push, a climb, a stretch – if you may call it so. The most meaningful inconvenience you can imagine.
Please don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining about it. I’m celebrating it. Remember when I said it was hugely fulfilling, that wasn’t fiction. For me, this lifestyle included serving/volunteering in the church, hanging out with people who made me uncomfortable, and offering a major end of year (tithe/offering) to God.
Serving the Church
I served at church on a bi-weekly basis. It wasn’t much, but I was devoted; all the while working full time and juggling the joys of wedding planning. It didn’t matter if the weather sucked, or if I was feeling under the weather; I was there. Another volunteer from the church once painted a picture for me that forever changed my outlook on serving the church. She said “Think of one person in your life who you love, but is far from God, if they finally decided to come to church one Sunday, you would want everyone who serves in the church to be there; enthusiastically ready to welcome and usher that person into the house of God”. It’s the body of Christ that shows God’s love with a sacrifice and devotion to people who need a little help in the God department. Although sometimes an inconvenience, I made it my goal to show up and to do my part to the best of my ability. Today, I’m not living a life of inconvenience, characterized by the things I’ve touched on. Other than financial giving, I’m not sacrificing much for God (and that’s the honest truth). I’m pushing myself to get back to a place where my time and energy is spent in serving people. It’s this rewarding inconvenience that I’m in search of.
Hanging out with people who made me uncomfortable
During this time, I pledged to hanging out with people who were nothing like me. Instead of retracting, I pressed towards them remembering that “it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick” Mk 2:17. It’s so easy to find comfort in people who make you feel good; those who think like you. But I felt God whisper to me early last year that I’d never grow if I continued to socialize in familiar circles. It’s when you can co-exist with people who aren’t like you, that you learn the most about yourself. Remaining true to who you are in the midst of being with people who are far from God is an exercise that’ll stretch you.
Giving your cash
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. Malachi 3:10.
God doesn’t need our money to get things done. Our contribution, while impactful, can and will be given by someone else if we fail to. Honouring God with our finances is the ultimate form of worship in my opinion. The pastor at the church I was going to last year said that “It’s a form of worship, which says to God I trust you”. Even though I would rather buy those shoes from the mall, I trust you (and God) even though I have a friend’s birthday dinner to attend, I trust you as the ultimate provider. By being challenged to give a larger than usual end of year offering in 2014 while amidst fast accumulating wedding expenses, I was able to say to God – “I don’t know how I’m going to pay for this wedding and still have savings, but I trust you. It was inconvenient because I didn’t plan to give a lump sum of money, it was a decision made within a short period of time. But when I do something for God that costs me, I am certain God has me in the right place and frame of mind. It’s these kinds of inconveniences that I am looking for again. These sacrifices to grow me as a believer, establishing myself as someone who relies on God alone.
Today I challenge you to look for those moments of true sacrifice. When you find yourself tugging with something that has taken you off course, or you run into a responsibility that has placed you outside of your comfort zone—you can rest assure that God is growing you beyond the temporary inconvenience.
I want a life of Godly inconvenience, and I plan to purposefully seek it.