Why we do what we do

I thought it would be fun to take a goofy picture of our move-out process. Our apartment has basically been taken apart at this point and things are sitting in semi-unorganized piles. As we reflect on this week of “lasts” (last week in our apartment, last week for me at work, last week staying in one place for a while), I found a blog post of Donald Miller’s (Portland author of some really good books) that reminded me about why we’re going through all of this.

‘…As I read through the book of Acts, a defining characteristic of the early church is they felt joy in their work. I don’t see a lot of shame and guilt manipulation in Acts, just a bunch of people who act like they are weirdly in love with each other and with God. And I want to emphasize the word weirdly.

So, I’m debating cutting back on the ought to’s and ramping up the fun. Some aspects of service feel more like duty, and others feel more like fun. I wonder if we stopped the “ought to” aspects of loving people and got more in touch with the kinds of service that come out of our skill sets and passions we wouldn’t be more effective.’ (See more from Donald Miller’s blog post about Serving with Passion)

As Jedd mentioned in the last post, our Peace Corps journey has been delayed for now. For me, the option to go to Morocco felt a lot like an “ought to” with the biggest draw being that at least we would finally know our placement. That didn’t seem like the right motivation. I’m grateful that we are able to do the things that are uniquely fulfilling to each of us and to follow our passions. As Donald Miller says, we are pursuing this journey not because we ought to but because (in overly simplified terms) it sounds like a blast. It’s what we want to do. Why are we selling or donating almost everything we own in the process? Not because we ought to. Because it feels good, it’s freeing, and it brings us joy! (Of course, I’m not saying we should all get whatever we want or do whatever we feel all the time. In terms of things like serving and giving, though, the “what I get out of it” factor matters. Otherwise, we grow resentful or burn out.)

I believe that everyone has unique skills, passions, and gifts that are meant to be our contribution to the world. When we use those things in service, they bring joy not only to ourselves but also those around us. I hope our journey will continue to be about new ways that we can be passionate, utilize our gifts, and grow through our weaknesses. How have you found joy in using your gifts, skills, and passions through service? What good things do you do only because you ought to?

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4 thoughts on “Why we do what we do

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  1. When we were deciding to come to Camas, we were given what looked like an easier option. We knew that coming here would be a greater risk, have less resources… basically a no brainer to take the easier option. It is almost always more difficult at first to follow God’s plan.. if it was easy I doubt it would be worth it. It doesn’t always make sense but if you suspend your disbelief and allow God to write your story.. it is going to be an amazing ride.

    1. Amen. 🙂

      I just saw this, but it’s so true. Allowing God to write our story is a lot better than anything we can dream or imagine. I know God is doing amazing things through you both in Camas.

  2. The decision to move to Bolivia has been one big unexpected shift in my life. Never did I imagine I’d live in South America, or take Spanish classes, or pack up all my stuff and put it in storage for an indefinite amount of time. Bolivia basically landed in my lap, and instead of staying in the familiar, or saying “hmmm…it’s not quite what I expected”, I jumped at the chance. Like Gwyneth said, “it doesn’t always make sense, but if you suspend your disbelief and allow God to write your story…it’s going to be an amazing ride”. Well said former office-mate 🙂

  3. Nova – You inspire me. You always have. I’m so excited to hear about your adventure to Bolivia and incredible experience you will have. Hopefully we can come visit you or you visit us whever we end up.

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