Today, I finished a book called Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson.
I enjoyed the whole book, but the last chapter really had the greatest impact on me.
I want to remember this:
Everybody enjoys a little R and R now and then...But is that what makes life worth living? Stop and think about it. What are your most cherished memories? They're not the easy victories or the small challenges, are they? The greatest memories are of the toughest victories and biggest challenges. The most satisfying days are not the days when you had nothing to do. The most satisfying days are the hardest days--the days when you had everything to do and you did it.Reading that paragraph, I couldn't help but reflecting on the path God has led me down the last few years. I am coming up on my three-year anniversary in South America. That feels like a pretty big deal. And when I think about the last three years, my favorite memories are the toughest times. Like how we spent seven months discipling Jovana before the Word really took root in her life. Or how many days we almost felt like giving up, because things just weren't happening. But then God gave the fruit, and we planted two churches in Cusco.
Truth be told, the toughest time for me emotionally was right before I was able to go home after two and a half years. I faced real, intense homesickness for the first time. I really didn't want to stay two extra months to help build a couple chapels.
But this was my favorite memory from 2012:
The dedication services for the church buildings provided for the churches that I helped to plant in Cusco, Peru, will stay in my memory forever. I can still picture being surrounded by Peruvian believers who, just a year or two before, had never been involved in a Christian church before. I can still hear the praises rising to our Lord in Spanish and English as Peruvian believers and short-term volunteers from the United States sang out to our King. I still feel the movement in my heart as I listened to the testimonies of lives transformed by our Savior. And I will never forget each member of the congregation sharing their hearts and taking their place in the fulfillment of the Great Commission, saying, "Now it's our turn! We have to FILL THIS CHURCH."
My best time was proceeded by my hardest time. But that is part of what made it so amazing.
And that is usually the way it goes. We must live out every day with purpose, even on the days everything seems so hard. Even when things seem impossible. Because those are the days worth remembering, and worth living through and living for.
Something else that I am going to take away from Wild Goose Chase is that you can't play defense with your life. That's not how adventures are had. Adventures are had when we play offense, take risks, and explore the amazing things God has called us to.
So live dangerously.
God's kingdom is worth it.