2016 has been quite a year of shifts and surprises. Brexit happened. The Cubs won the World Series. Trump won the election. The Cowboys have the best record in the NFL-what?
As I've been reflecting on the year, one of my biggest shifts in moving to Ireland was leaving such a well established ministry (such as Cru in the States), where I had significant influence in multiple contexts, and transitioning to a small start up ministry here in Ireland where I wasn't the one leading. To be honest, this has been highly refreshing and also quite frustrating at times.
But God is using this experience to press his gentle thumb on me a bit. It's not always where I like to be but I'm really glad He's pursuing me the way He is.
Henri Nouwen refers to some of what I may be experiencing as downward mobility; which results in the virtue of a more compassionate life. He writes in Here and Now the following:
“The compassionate life is the life of downward mobility! In a society in which upward mobility is the norm, downward mobility is not only discouraged but even considered unwise, unhealthy, or downright stupid. Who will freely choose a low-paying job when a high-paying job is being offered? Who will choose poverty when wealth is within reach? Who will choose the hidden place when there is a place in the limelight? Who will choose to be with one person in great need when many people could be helped during the same time? Who will choose to withdraw to a place of solitude and prayer when there are so many urgent demands from all sides?"
You don't always know what God has in store for you when He calls you into new things, but I'm starting to get a glimpse of the places He wants to set me free and how he desires to transform me into a more compassionate follower of Jesus.
Nouwen goes on to say, "The descending way of Jesus is the way of downward mobility. It is the way toward the poor, the suffering, the marginal, the prisoners, the refugees, the lonely, the hungry, the dying, the tortured, the homeless–toward all who ask for compassion. What do they have to offer? Not success, popularity, or power, but the joy and peace of the children of God.”
I'm not sure where this is all leading me quite yet, but I wanted to share a bit of what God is teaching me lately.