Guest Author: Kate Abraham
Take a minute to think about where you will be living next year. What are you looking for in your next apartment or house? What kind of neighborhood do you want to live in? Who will you live with?
Entering my first year of medical school, I juggled prices, layouts, locations, and roommates as I sought a comfortable place that I could call home. I settled on a great duplex with all the most important amenities:
- Walking distance to school (ended up being lazy and riding the bus…oops)
- Cute deck where I could eat cute meals while discussing the Bible with my future cute boyfriend who loved Jesus (also never panned out how I imagined it)
- Giant closets for my slightly excessive wardrobe (coincidentally they were actually too big, giving me the freedom to fill them up a little more…yikes)
- Huge backyard with a trampoline, perfect for killer Christian parties (was used mostly for solo-jumping, not quite as fun)
To me, housing was a decision I didn’t need to consult God about. Just like I don’t ask God what He wants me to eat for breakfast. Or what gas station I should stop at. I decided that where I lived was pretty trivial in comparison to the big stuff, like what field of medicine I would enter, where I would go to church, or who I would disciple… right? I had forgotten how big our God is. He will use anything and everything for His glory. He loves us more than we will ever understand and wants to be a part of all that we do.
As I headed into my second year, I began praying about how the simple decision of where to live could make an impact for Christ. I reflected on how Jesus made his housing decision when He moved out of Heaven (sounds funny but that is really what He did!). Was he seeking comfort? Or style? Or closet space for all of those fish and loaves of bread? Or maybe a pet-friendly place? Probably His top priority, I mean He was born in a manger…
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.| John 1:14
Let’s be serious. Jesus “dwelt,” living intentionally and serving graciously, among people who were far from God. He was seeking to obey the Lord in all that He did, which meant leaving God’s immediate presence to make His home among suffering, sinful people who would crucify Him. Every decision Jesus made was completely centered around God’s will for His life, and His desire to please His Father. Because of His obedience, the effects of the gospel became tangible and the truth of the gospel was proclaimed. GO JESUS.
I found myself on my knees again as I asked God what this radical submission would look like in my own life. As a child of the King with a huge heart for the nations, I felt God leading me away from my comfy grad student neighborhood, and directly into a low-income apartment complex home to over 2,000 resettled refugees and immigrants. Talk about an opportunity to live intentionally and serve graciously…but this situation was intimidating and out of my comfort zone. Definitely taking the whole “love your neighbor as yourself” thing to a whole new level. I balanced the negatives and positives.
Pro’s: Super cheap rent and children everywhere to play with (I love kids). More importantly, a chance to obey the great commission. And to die to my self.
Con’s: Roach swatter necessary in every room. Very thin walls through which you can hear everything, but a very thick door so “just come in!” never works. Drain issues in the shower will cause constant raisin feet.
The pro’s definitely outweighed the cons, so I followed through with the move. God’s provision in the process only continued. God gave me godly, mission-minded women eager to move in with me. And even a team of great guys to live nearby! My neighborhood was also a big part of how I met my husband (no decks involved!). God continues to work as He blesses us with awesome relationships in our neighborhood – dinners with Iraqi families, trips to the mall with Congolese teens, and even the opportunity to start a “Godly Running Girls” team for the elementary school girls. Christ’s love is being shared with people who have never encountered Him, as we grow closer to the Lord in unprecedented ways.
So…back to that question. Where are you living next year? Will it be an underserved neighborhood? Or your parents’ house, so you can minister to your family? Maybe He is asking you to live in a dorm and be intentional about the friendships you build with your suitemates. Or even to remain in your current living situation, but with a new attitude about how you love the people around you. Pray with an open heart as you decide where you will make your home next year, and be prepared for radical opportunities to obey the Lord. It is my prayer for you that the Lord will empower you to leverage even the smallest decisions for His glory.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AlBnw6g-mQ&w=640&h=390]