Hmmm...I wonder?

Curiosity is the character trait for which I am most often thankful. Without it, I probably wouldn't be married; I certainly wouldn't have children; and I definitely wouldn't be a grad student. Curiosity is probably what motivates me to follow God down mysterious paths that I never would have considered on my own. Without it, I could easily see myself working as a single staff nurse for an entire lifetime...and probably being quite happy. Yet once I learned my job and became comfortable in it, I became restless. Lots of questions popped up. And God handed me answers: in the form of my dear, handsome husband; in the little bodies of the babes that came completely by surprise; in the grad school opportunity that presented itself out of a random Google search and a pie-in-the-sky e-mail to a stranger.

There has to be something that motivates you to risk suffering for the sake of Christ. Accepting salvation as a concept and a gift at age 4 is both a blessing and a curse: having never lived without it, I think my visceral understanding of the gift is lessened. Those who are saved as adults seem to have a better grip on what salvation means, and may be motivated to risk suffering out of thankfulness and loyalty to God.

I wish I could say my own motivation was so pure, but most of the time it is not. I live a large number of my hours completely unaware of God - His existence, His hand in my life, His saving grace. It is often curiosity that pushes me in a new direction, where I find myself suddenly less at ease and more aware of my need. It is curiosity that propels me into relationships, where pain and suffering wound so much more deeply - friendships to navigate, a marriage to work on, children to love and surrender, career dreams of mentoring and teaching college students that must be fought for and labored over.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
~ II Timothy 1:7 ~

These days, new acquaintances seem to walk away from talking to me or visiting my blog with the general impression that I am a) crazy, b) selfish, and c) unlucky. I don't think any of those things are true (although selfishness is something I will always be working on). I think suffering Christians often look that way - as if they either took on all those tasks because they are out of touch with reality, because they selfishly refuse to prioritize kids or family above self, or because they are suddenly overwhelmed by the unfortunate hand of fate. At least in my case, I take on big tasks because I believe I serve a big God. I am also curious, full of ambition, and don't need much sleep - those three things help me along the way! As I live my life walking with God, I find that regardless of how empty my calendar, it soon becomes full, with people and goals far beyond what my personal proclivities would dictate. It isn't the invincibility complex any longer: it is the fact that I have accepted that I am but grass, and have very little time in which to accomplish things for Christ. (Isaiah 40:6-8)

There is no doubt that part of that sense of a short life is the cancer survivor mentality. Cancer is the intensifier in many young lives, the thing that drives home the point that we better get busy living, whatever our philosophy on purpose, faith, God. In my case, already a Christian when cancer struck, it bound me to Christ and His purpose and kingdom in a new, intense way. At the end of every day, I want to be able to mark some tallies in the column of Christ's work on my to-do list. It is what fans the embers into flame beneath me: why I cuddle my kids more than I used to, why I want to get this degree finished so I can start teaching college students, why I won't tolerate mediocrity in my relationship with my husband. Curiosity pushed me onto this path, and cancer propels me at increased speed down it.

I'm not crazy, just curious. I do believe I can do more than just mother my children and make a home, but I'm not motivated by selfishness. I'm not unlucky, I am tested and tried for the sake of God's glory.

It's one thing to burn hot for God for three days or three weeks. It's quite another thing to serve the Lord for the long haul. A faithwalker is someone who displays courage. Courage has to define you as a Christian. Faithwalkers will be asked to do hard things - it takes courage. Being a faithwalker will influence who you marry, your education, your job, where you live, and how you raise and train your children. A faithwalker is also a disciple who lives by his or her convictions. I'm not just talking about theological and doctrinal convictions, but lifestyle convictions. What are the convictions that God is developing in you day by day? You are a Christian? Then live like it. You should look different, act different, talk different. If your aim is just to enjoy this world, James 4:4 says that you can't be a friend of God. We want to be winsome and reach out, but it is Christ in you that the world is attracted to. This isn't my home, and it shouldn't be yours.
~ Rory Whitney, March 9th, Faithwalkers devotional (listen to the sermon online by clicking on the link)

Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
~ James 4:4 ~

Notes from my study & relevant links:
Curiosity can kill the cat, of course: Solomon, who began his journey with an earnest prayer, and ended it in an empty quest for knowledge and experience, is the prime example. (Ecclesiastes 1:17-18) Yet, human curiosity is a God-given trait designed to bring Him glory, and the pursuit of knowledge can be pure, Christian, and God-glorifying (I Corin. 10:31; Phil. 1:10). The Bible frequently tells us to, "Go and learn" (Deuteronomy 5:1; Job 8:8; Proverbs 1:5; Daniel 1:17;Matthew 9:13). I found two interesting articles, one that speaks of inspiring curiosity about Christ in students (from the Journal of Education and Christian Belief, here) and another on higher education and Christian faith (from the GraceFlow blog, here).