Guest contributor Fional Killough
Fiona Killough is a highly respected friend of mine that works with me in Overland Missions. She and her super cute family are missionaries in Angola and they are totally hardcore. Here are some beautiful words of wisdom from her.
Hi! I’m Fiona and I’m a wife and mother to a beautiful family. I’m a follower of Jesus and part of His bride. I’m a creative-type that loves to, well, create stuff. I’ve lived in three countries and speak two languages thanks to the missionary vocation that I joined my husband in. We live in a fabulous home, with some money in the bank. We enjoy good health and have an abundance of great family and friends. I have a bazillion reasons to be thankful, I really do. Most of them you can guess from my ‘lil intro. But if I had to choose one thing, above all else, that I’m most grateful for, it wouldn’t be one of these things. Not to undermine any of them, or lessen the gift that they are to me, but there’s something else that I have to tell you about. The thing I’m most grateful for is choice.
Yes, you didn’t miss that. That’s not a typo. I said choice, as in, the ability to choose. I’ll explain why… I met Jesus just a few days before my 21st birthday, when I finally had the courage to turn down the volume on all the other things vying for my attention and let Him into my heart. It was like stepping off a cliff. My first year walking with God, with Jesus at the helm, was glorious and liberating and messy and painful all at the same time. It was all I could do just to keep myself pointing north while I struggled to overcome ingrained patterns of thinking and acting. Patterns that were damaging and dysfunctional to myself and others.
I found myself in a relationship with a fiercely loving creator, who knew me better than I ever knew myself. He was inescapably arresting, and I knew I was sold out. At the time, I counted the “cost” of lost friends, a completely redesigned social life, and an at-times-unsettling-new-identity-formation. But it was there, in my infancy as a new creation, that God birthed in me a desire to share what I’d found with others. Be it my best friend that I’d grown up with, or someone in a land I’d never seen before. I knew that what He’d given me was intended for us all.
But I also knew that sharing His message came with a whole load of unknowns and uncertainties (it’s a big old world out there after all, and I wasn’t quite sure how to take it on!). At the time, I couldn’t have put into words the weight that I felt in my heart, and I didn’t understand it fully (as if I do now ;). I just knew I had to keep saying yes. Yes to Him, and no to a whole lot of other stuff. I had to keep fighting the good fight. I had to keep the volume turned down on certain parts of my life. I had to choose to live for Him, and no longer for me. It wasn’t always easy of course, but I knew that, for the first time in my life, I couldn’t lose. I’d joined the winning team, and there was no going back.
I’m so grateful I said, “Yes” to Jesus. But I’m equally grateful He gave me the option to.
Without His sacrifice on the cross, I wouldn’t even have had the opportunity to choose Him. I, and everyone else, would have been stuck with the hand that we were dealt. A hand that guarantees death, with no room for reprisal. Instead, Jesus has opened a door for us, by making available His love and a way to re-connect with God. I chose to walk through that door, and it’s this choice that I will be forever grateful for. You see, it’s not enough that Jesus came and died for you if you never accept it for yourself; it will profit you nothing if you don’t act.
Sometimes I get a little jaded in the Christian world, when people attribute all power to God [stay with me]. I don’t disagree that our God is almighty and powerful and sovereign. But we often overlook ourselves. We are powerful too. Because He made us that way. Our choices are powerful (and we do have them, always). He chose to give us free will, when He could have made robots. It’s a powerful thing to be able to decide whether to live in friendship with God, or not. Without Jesus, we have no choice as to where we spend eternity. We are already condemned and have only one destiny, void of, and separate from, our creator.
Two years ago, I became an American. America has to be the global capital of choice, don’t you think? I’m sure I spent my first year living in the U.S. in a state of analysis paralysis while my head tried to catch up with the explosion of decisions I had to make every day. No longer did I just order a cup of coffee, suddenly six or seven elements were involved in the process of obtaining a hot beverage. And don’t even get me started on sandwiches. I once nearly broke down in a Panera Bread while trying to get lunch. I laugh now thinking of that day and how frustrated I was that I didn’t know what kind of cheese asiago was, and could I please just have something to eat, I don’t care what kind of bread it comes on!
Choices, choices. Sometimes we’re really good at recognizing that they exist, and we act instinctively to move on to the next round of decision making. Sometimes, not so much. Some choices come with far less flashy packaging and marketing. Some won’t bang your door down. Some are not screaming for a response. The choice whether to embrace Jesus is one such choice.
Like I said, I had to make the decision to turn down the volume on some stuff to hear His voice and respond to His call. What about you? What choices are awaiting your response? Your yes or no? Friend, don’t let your coffee preferences get more attention than your spiritual destiny. Don’t delay in giving Him your ear (and your heart), while your cable tv subscription is perfectly calibrated to your viewing pleasures. Don’t feel bad either, because all of us have them, those less-than-life-or-death things that can serve as deadly effective distractions. Heck, maybe it’s having a clean house? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve kicked myself while complaining that I don’t have time to pray/read the Bible/hang with Jesus like I want while dealing with a cleaning chore that could have waited until tomorrow! Choice. I have a choice to make is all, and everything can change. And I’m so grateful for that.