Why Canada Is Not An Option

Let me start with this.  I am not a blogger who writes on the latest thing.  You now laws that are passed that are controversial.  Boycotts of major department stores.  And politics. 

With that said, I come from a long line of politics and voting is important people.  The Allen's are known for their love of democracy, our rights as American citizens, and the freedom to debate issues of the day. 

My dad passed away last summer.  If my dad could be described in any way, it would be someone who loved the Constitution and his freedom to express his opinion and the responsibility to vote. And while we were mostly a family divided on which candidates to vote for, we were encouraged to think for ourselves and vote our conscience. 

I wouldn't call myself a "Republican" - I'm not sure why.  I tend to lean toward the right without getting all the way there. 

And maybe like me, you have asked yourself "Now what?" since Donald Trump is the last man standing in the Republican race leading to November.  Many have taken to Facebook and the Internet to declare "Never Trump" and "Is the world ending?"

You might be surprised to know that I came up with this title not as a reaction to current events but in a church planning meeting.  You see, my pastor has asked me to occasionally help with brainstorming and feedback on our church's sermon series.  So, one day about a month ago we were brainstorming about Fall and I casually mentioned "Canada Is Not An Option" as a potential sermon series title given our current political climate at the time. 

He liked the idea and it was memorable to me because I am typically not the idea girl.  You see I'm the strategist (read party pooper) in the room.  I listen to all the great ideas and typically rain on the parade and tell them why these things can't be done.  My mind is constantly whirling with the "how" we're going to do something.  So the fact that I had a good idea was remarkable - just saying. 

And while he liked it, we couldn't actually think of a whole series around this topic.  It was basically a one sermon wonder.  So we dropped it.  But I didn't.  I knew I needed to use it here on the blog.  And quite frankly, the day after the Indiana primaries seems like as good of time as any. 

The idea stuck with me.  Not because I'm worried about politics (sorry Dad), but because the deeper meaning to Canada Is Not An Option is that we don't run away when life gets hard.  We stay put when our jobs get hard.  We lean in when family relationships get messy.  We tough it out when finances are tight.  We are called to be still when our first instinct is to take action and fix it. 

Just wondering if you can relate to that at all?  Canada is not an option reminds me that God is bigger than my problems and that He is the only one who can give me peace when the world around me is out of control.  Even when Trump is up for President.

So how do you and I find peace when life is out of control?   How do we learn to not run away when all seems lost?  How do we keep calm in the midst of chaos?  During our recent Bible study on Colossians,  I've been learning and observing a little bit about peace. 

Peace Is A  Feeling That Is Not A Feeling

Say what?  Exactly.  Peace is a feeling for us.  We want to feel at peace.  We want to not get stressed out by our jobs.  Or the election.  Or the future.  Or the well-being of our loved ones.  

The problem is that peace is not found in the absence of uncertain circumstances, it's the presence of God himself.  Our peace comes from God and not from having everything together.  Peace comes when we trust God even when our world feels chaotic.  Peace comes when we rest in God even though our future is uncertain. 

God Meets Us In Hard Things

I don't know about you, but I don't like doing hard things.  Things like breaking up with cheese. Being single well into my 40s when I'd rather be married.  Things like leaving my job and starting over.  Things like saying good-bye when I'd rather say stay or hello or something far nicer.  Things like living in a time where the future of our country seems uncertain. 

The truth is that my best times have come when I've had the courage to lean into my hard things.  I found resilience through my hard things.  I build character by going through hard things.  Mostly I've found God in the middle my hard things.  Jesus tells us to expect hard things, it's what we do with the hard things that matter.  Trust Him in them.  Find peace not in your circumstances but in His presence. 

Do not let your hearts be troubles. Trust in God; trust also in me.
— John 14:1

God Is Bigger Than...

You fill in the blank.  Whatever you thought of, God is bigger than that.  He's bigger than what our hearts are grieving right now. He's bigger than your concern for that person you may be at odds with.  He's bigger than the trouble at your job.  He's bigger than that feeling that you are not enough. 

Trust Him.  Be still.  Know that He is God. 

I don't know about you, but my temptation is to run.  To run far and run fast.  The biggest picture of that to me was years ago when I was not getting along with a good friend.  She and I handled conflict a little differently.  She was always direct and insisted on talking in the immediate moment - even if tempers flared and you needed to circle back to apologize. 

On the other hand, as an internal processor, I preferred to reason it out in my head and address with the politest version of myself. 

The result was one ugly confrontation in her office one day and me wondering what she would do if I sprung up, yanked open the door, and ran far, far away. 

Never happened.  I stayed.  I survived.  And I learned that the deepest friendships are forged through conflict and other hard things. 

And I'm wondering today, what door you are eyeing?  Is it your job?  Or a family relationship?  Or breaking up with a food group? (I won't mention any names but surely you know what I'm talking about by now).  Or initiating something new? 

Canada is not an option, because God is right where you are.  Jo Saxton said this at the last If Gathering and it has stayed with me all spring.  "God is calling you to the life you are already living."  

One foot faith does not run.  Rather it leans in to the easy and hard moments of life.  One foot faith trusts God even when the future is uncertain.  One foot faith has the courage to stay put even when we'd prefer to run away. 

I'd love to hear from you.  What door have you been wishing you could run away from?  And how can I pray for you as you stay where you are and trust God with your hard things.