By Carla Foote
I live in a reasonably safe neighborhood in an urban area. I am watchful when I get in my car in dark or isolated spots. I try not to walk by myself after dark. I keep the doors on my home locked, especially if I am home alone. I am careful but not fearful.
But I also travel, read widely and have friends around the world, so I know that safety is at times elusive and that my own safety is not guaranteed.
While I can take some steps for my own safety, as my children have grown into adults, their decisions sometimes stretch me and cause me concern for their safety. And at the same time, their stretches make me realize that I intentionally raised them to care about the world and have a broad view of their part in God’s work in the world. I never intended for them to sit in a fortress and express their Christian faith to the walls.
So when my daughter recently shared her intention to work on the US/Mexico border with deportees, I found myself hiding behind the safety flag and mentioning that I didn’t want to read about her in a headline – a story that might include kidnapping, drug lords and violence.
Selfishly, I cared more about her safety than those people she felt called to serve. People who are dumped on the border are not particularly safe as they are left to fend for themselves with limited resources. Those caught in the border tangle include women and children.
I also reflect back on my own mother and remember her asking about the safety of a mission trip I intended to take to Central America in the 1980’s. I blithely assured her it was safe, when in reality, what ability did I have to guarantee safety?
We try to guard our safety by being careful. What an interesting word – careful – full of care. Watchful, attentive, not being stupid. But an excess of care can lead to fear. Fearful. Frozen in the fortress. Unable to answer the call because of fear of the risks.
Perhaps a FullFill™ woman isn’t too careful or fearful, but full of passion for what God has called her to do and who God has called her to be. Passion takes us to a dimension of living freely where God has called us, beyond safety, care and fears and into a whole-hearted way of living.
Rather than sitting in fear and praying for safety and carefulness, I am challenged to affirm my daughter’s passion and pray for wisdom. I also extend my prayers to be open to continued stretching and passion in my own life and to not settle for a season of safety.
Carla Foote is the Sr. Director of Community and Resources for MOPS International. She was the editor of FullFill from 2007-2009 and continues in an advisory role. Along with encouraging her children in their endeavors, she enjoys gardening and writes about faith and flowers at www.urbangardenver.wordpress.com.