Collapsing Roofs / by Michael Nichols

In August 2017, in the middle of recording and mixing Love and Fear, my life took a whole new direction, a direction it was supposed to take, and I finally saw it. I was ready. I was excited. It was time for moving forward after a long chapter of stagnancy. Here I am, a little more than a year later, and much has changed.

I moved churches to follow God’s call to bravery. A year later, I became the director of music at the new church.

I was single and finally ready to be, accepting and embracing that God should be my greatest love. I now have an amazing girlfriend who teaches me love and humility every day and consistently points me toward Jesus.

I was out of teaching. I am now mentoring middle and high school students in the art of putting worship into their music.

A lot else has changed, but those are some highlights, and it has mostly been for the better. I knew going into this chapter of life would be difficult but worth it, and I saw fruit from the journey almost immediately. Forget the smaller details of my life. God was pulling me back toward himself and revitalizing a relationship with him that had become weathered. He did so by calling me into bravery.

When I look back at the big picture, I can see how motionless I was. I had become comfortable in one place and one set of circumstances. At a certain point, that can be a good thing. We all need a constant, a place of rest and stability. We need to know where home is, but home isn’t something meant to keep us afraid of moving forward. It is a place to rest, not a prison. (To clarify, that is not a statement against people I no longer see regularly but against the stagnancy I allowed my fear to lead me into, which unfortunately led me to the wrong understanding of “home.”)

Home is not that clear-cut, though, and it isn’t that easy to find, especially amidst the tides of change. God had a plan to start moving in and through my life, but staying stationary was not how he planned to accomplish it, especially since stationary meant no risks.

Do you know what isn’t risky? Staying home. Staying in bed. Staying in what you know. Familiarity isn’t risky because there is nothing to threaten what is comfortable, no potential for disaster… but eventually, you run out of room to grow.

Sadly, we often approach growing like we approach goals. We want to get there and be done with it. We want to mark it off our checklists never to be done again, but that isn’t how it works. Growth is ongoing, even when you’re dying. There is always a part of us reaching up and holding on for something, even if only for dear life; and given the opportunity, everyone would rather do more than just survive. But if we keep focusing on the milestones we want to reach, we will be too distracted to appreciate the journey. And you can’t be on a journey if you haven’t walked out the door and onto the road.

So often, we pray for open doors, but how often are we willing to walk through them to get to where God wants us to go? And he wants us to go somewhere. We just become so accustomed to our comfortable homes that we don’t stop to think that there are people in the world we live in that don’t know what home even means. They have never belonged or been seen as beautiful. They have been rejected, intentionally or not, to wander nomadically in the cold of a world that might not even notice they exist. And it isn’t that they need to be seen to satisfy their ego. They need to be seen to be loved so that they don’t disappear as though their birth was for nothing.

Where does God want us to go?

Out. Outside of our comfort zones where love has not yet been known.

If we are to grow in anything, let it be in how we love. He wants us to take the love that he gave us in Christ to those who haven’t known that kind of love if any. He wants us to go after those who think they are worthless just like Jesus came after us. But they will not come to us, and they won’t assume they are loved if they aren’t shown, and they won’t be shown if we stay in our comfortable homes.

He wants us to be someone else’s home and to show them that the best home is in his love.

You outgrow the place you stay so you can go where you were meant to go. Jesus called us to go home, not to stay home. We are meant to have a place of security, but it is not meant to be a place of stagnancy. It is a place to rest when you’ve done all you can do for the moment. It is a place where you can begin again.

For those who don’t belong, home is somewhere that you can know you belong. For those who don’t measure up, home is somewhere you are accepted anyway. For sinners, home is a place of forgiveness and second chances.

For those of you who know you are loved, you’ve found home in the love of Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit. That means that home is wherever you are, regardless of location and circumstance. Most importantly, because Jesus came to you to make his home with you, home for you is wherever someone hasn’t found theirs.

What you called home was home. It was. Really. But all houses eventually fall apart. Even if you resist it, even if you try your hardest to not outgrow it, to maintain it, it will fall apart eventually. The foundation will crumble, the roof will cave, and the walls will crack. You can build, and rebuild, and remodel, and rebuild again… but you will stay.

No matter where you live, you are there.

Even if you leave the people you know.

Even if you change your priorities.

Even if you do new things.

You are where you are. Your home is not built upon your circumstances. Your home is built on the God who loves you. If things are changing for you, if nothing is familiar, God is still your home. Your circumstances may shift, and the foundations of your life may fail, but his love never will. His love is our home while we are here, and he is leading us to a home where the presence of love is unending.