I’ll never be able to wear a “Made in KC” shirt. I’m becoming more and more ok with that everyday. I’ve thought about claiming it, partly because of how cute they are and partly because of my ridiculous love for this city.
The truth is that I grew up halfway across the world in a small village in Ghana, West Africa. I like to say that I “landed” in KC, as if I’m a glamorous, ever-wandering traveler that just happened to step off the runway that is mid-Missouri.
Anyone who is a traveler knows that it’s not all jet-setting and pretty Instagrams. Here’s the sticky reality - the life of a wanderer involves chasing after an ever–fading, glittery oasis that looks so much better than planted roots of stability. After a childhood of handwritten boarding passes and packing memories in suitcases, I never understood the concept of calling a place home. And how sacred, how precious that is.
I used to think home was a familiar landscape, or the place where you’ve known people for a long amount of time.
But here’s what I’ve come to realize - where you are from is something that you can’t change.
But where you call home is up to you.
It’s not necessarily the place where you grew up. It’s not necessarily where your parents live. It’s the place where you have community, where you have friends that are like family, where you know you are accepted and belong just the way that you are.
The allure of change will always be there. Pack up, move out to a fresh city, new apartment, different change of pace, new challenge. And here’s what you will find – for the first six months, that excitement fuels you. But after the dust settles, you begin to realize that life is just life. Whether you’re in Paris, France, or Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
A woman once told me, “All my life we’ve been pioneers, we don’t know how to be settlers.” And a part of my heart resonated so strongly with that. Because all I’ve known is a world where friendships have expiration dates. Where you’re constantly on the side of the stage waiting to graduate from this city, this season. On to the next.
But there’s something about being deeply rooted. And while tree roots are not glamorous, there’s where you flourish.
So plant deep. Grow strong. Invest in relationships, in people. With the mentality that you can’t just move on if it doesn’t work out. These are your people, this is your place.
Here is one thing that I’ve realized in the past year, and it has changed everything about how I live, how I spend my time and where I find my purpose.
Changing the world is over-rated. Because it’s very much like that ever fading, glittery oasis dreamland that looks so glamorous in our minds. "We’re going to start a movement!" we think. "It’s going to be so large, so impactful, because we have the best and grandest idea – way better than anyone else, and everybody is going to want to get in on it!"
Here’s what’s not glamorous - changing the life of the girl that sits next to you at work. Changing the life of a woman right down the street from you. Changing the neighborhood that’s 1.2 miles away from you.
Here’s what’s not glamorous - spending every Tuesday night in the shelter with Tricia and Kaizley after a really long day at work. Eating Hy-Vee catering with her as you realize that she has experienced more pain than you could ever begin to fathom.
Here’s what’s not glamorous – spending Saturdays with Olivia in a dark nursing home as she longingly looks out the window. Listening to stories of how no one cares about her anymore; she’s too old.
But then Tricia tells me how much she loved the lilies we gave her. And how no one has ever bought her flowers before.
And then right before I get up to leave, Olivia tells me that I am her sweet girl. And to please, please come back soon.
It starts with the small. It starts with that visit that no one else wants to make. Or that trip that no one else has time for. Or that person that no one else wants to sit with.
Is it glamorous? Does it make you look good? Give it a second thought. It’s probably not from God.
Because God works best in the dirt. In the muck. That’s where he gets to move, gets to shine. And what is life about if it’s not to say, “Look what he has done for me.”
Sometimes God calls us to do crazy things. Like build an arc. Or lead a people group out of Egypt. But more often than not, he asks us to do something very small. Something very little. And through that obedience, he brings purpose.
What is the last, small thing God called you to do for someone else?
Chances are, it’s already come into your mind. Your next step? Do it.