The Foreign Country Behind Your Front Door
By Janel Breitenstein
In college, I was a woman on a mission.
I gobbled up every Spanish course offered, which was perfect for my cross-cultural services minor. I entertained mental images of doling out rice to refugees. Chapel speakers prodded logs of a fire already lighting up my eyes—to live a big life for God.
But something confusing happened: I fell in love.
The guy was a superb match to my ferocity for life. He preferred authenticity to appearance, being with God before doing for God.
But when I squealed yes to marrying him, I didn’t see how bewildering the six months before the big day would be.
Because he didn’t see himself going overseas.
My internal war of wondering if I was a sellout is a devotion for another day.
It took me 10 years—and a life in suburbia complete with a picket fence, dog, and four rowdy kids—to realize something. Part of my desire to live a big life for God was my desire to feel significant. I wanted a special life that meant something.
That was a critical decade for a truly missional life—a missional marriage. Because no matter what ZIP code God stuck us in, our lives were His to use.
That meant my spouse wasn’t the enemy of my call. He was integral to it.
As columnist Andree Peterson puts it, “I figure if the King tells you to conquer the hinterlands one day and tells you to shoe his horse the next day, you should do them both without slacking. He is the King.”
When Paul says, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 3:14), it’s about the prior verses (10-13): knowing Jesus, His sufferings, His resurrection.
It’s not about a job description or place.
Living missionally, a life poured out for God?
It starts at your front door, with the spouse God has given you. With those squirrely kids who probably smell like they need a change. And from there, to your own neighborhood, country, and the world.
- What menial tasks (“horse shoeing”) might God be asking of you in your own home, away from glory, appreciation, or a sense of significance?
- If you enjoy a healthy marriage, what’s one missional next step beyond your own home?
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