The spiritual life cannot be made suburban, it is always frontier and we who live in it must accept and even rejoice that it remains untamed.
— Howard Macey

I’ve spent the last 5 or so years running around with some pretty disruptive people.  They are taking the path less traveled, marking new routes, and finding new frontiers.  As I’ve evaluated the movement in my life and the life of others, I’ve observed two incontrovertible truths:

  1. Sometimes those frontiers found have been good ones.
  2. Sometimes those frontiers found have been bad ones.

As I was listening to a recent podcast on this subject, all kinds of people, decisions, and situations flooded my mind.  In my life and those of others, I’ve seen:

  • Good decisions made for the right reasons
  • Bad decisions made for the right reasons
  • Good decisions made for the wrong reasons
  • Bad decisions made for the wrong reasons

Ironically, some of the most tragic stories I’ve witnessed were good decisions made for the wrong reasons.  I’ve seen people do incredibly noble things where the motive maybe was not quite right or clouded… only to find disastrous frontiers.  I, for instance, spent a lot of early ministry years working primarily to meet my own need for validation.

When I read, “The spiritual life cannot be made suburban…,” other thoughts flood my mind:

  • The spiritual life is not always logical
  • The spiritual life often bucks conventional thought
  • The spiritual life is sometimes in conflict with your parent’s wishes
  • The spiritual life is sometimes precarious
  • The spiritual life is often replete with unknowns
  • The spiritual life often is in conflict with “The American Dream”

As a logician and recovering control freak who likes to command all the variables of my life, trying to live a Kingdom life can be very unsettling at times.  That same podcast offered a couple of important filters when making significant decisions and launching out on new frontiers.  I’ve added a few.

  • Is God in it? (Do we bother to ask)
  • What do those that know me best and love me most think about the decision? (spouse, friends, etc.)
  • Did I ask the next question? (when, how, etc.)
  • Are there any unclean motives in the decision?
  • Is it moving me closer and consistent with the plan for the life God intends me to live?

The spiritual life is always frontier.  Are we willing to stop, discern, and filter the decisions we face in the ways that can help us find better frontiers?  The throne is completely approachable and a loving Father stands at the ready.  Most of us have been blessed by clouds of witnesses around us.  It is not like we don’t have all the tools we need to make better decisions and find better frontiers.  Sadly, if I sort through some of the wreckage of my life, I find a lot more decisions made with the filters of fear and control.

Maybe it is time to change the way we launch out.  Maybe we need to post-mortem some of the big decisions that have us in disastrous and discouraging frontiers.  By God’s grace, I am enjoying some glorious new frontiers and committed to finding more of that.  How about you?