Do you love where you live? It’s a great question and one we all should ponder. In her wonderful and inspiring new book love where you live: how to live sent in the place you call home, Shauna Pilgreen reminds us that we are EXACTLY where God wants us to be, right here, right now.
Did you hear that? God has a purpose and a plan for you . . . right where you are. TODAY.
I confess I sometimes look around my house, my street, my town, and think, “I wish this place was more like this or more like that.” I can easily look at my work, my plans, my kids’ school, my community and say, “if only . . . “
But “if only” is a dangerous place to live. I know because I lived in Los Angeles for seven years before moving to Northern California . . . and never once did I purposefully or prayerfully try to LOVE where I lived. I disliked everything about it and couldn’t wait to leave. My thoughts were a long series of “if onlys” at times. I found some people I loved and who loved me, which kept me going, but that was it. I left that city as soon as I could.
I look back on those years, and I see that God was doing a great work in my heart and life. That’s when and where I was introduced to Jesus. Hallelujah! So despite my hatred of where I was living, God had a plan and a purpose for me — RIGHT THERE. I became a Christian there, spent four years of college being discipled by loving people, and lived and worked and went to church for another three years, learning how to love and know God in very practical ways.
My time in that big city was a whole lot about God loving me. And that’s okay. But now, I’m older, I’m wiser . . . and I’m (hopefully) a lot more mature in my faith. I can certainly be on the giving end of things a lot more now. I can pass on what I’ve received. So many people have loved me well. It’s time for me to love others well.
I think I do “live sent” in my sphere, to some extent. But I think I can do it more, do it better, . . . and do it in more creative ways. And that’s where this book and its message get exciting: Shauna shows us the creativity of God and how he loves to use our gifts, talents, and interests to naturally propel us into places and spaces where we can serve him and LOVE people.
Shauna reminds us that when we start to see the people around us as God’s workmanship AND begin to see that we are God’s workers, given a certain longitude and latitude for our own special Kingdom work, our perspective changes. We start to see that we are living in a specific time and place for a specific reason.
Shauna tells her own story beautifully, and I really related to her story. This book packs a big punch with conviction, encouragement, and plenty of testimony. She moved across the country with her husband and small children to plant a church in San Fransisco nearly 8 years ago now. I’ve never done that, but I could relate to Shauna so well as she struggled at first to find her footing and learn how to reach out to her community in practical and tangible ways.
She fought against the urge to settle in, find a comfortable spot, and then live in a bubble. Even in my much smaller community, I have to fight that urge DAILY.
Shauna’s stories are raw and personal; it’s like she’s talking to you one-on-one. She shares from the heart, and I could see myself and my own attitudes mirrored in hers.
The best part about this book: Shauna’s ideas are refreshing and provide a new way of “seeing” people. Her stories will encourage and convict you, whether you’re new to town or have lived there your whole life.
“Living sent” is something we’re all called to do . . . and it’s hard, uncomfortable, and even inconvenient at times . . . whether you are moving to a new city or living in the same place you’ve been for decades. Loving where we live isn’t always easy. You might be up against some really hard circumstances, unlovely coworkers, or difficult relationships. However, it can all take on more purpose (and become even exciting and thrilling) when we begin see it all as a journey with God.
Shauna talks a lot about the mental attitude of choosing to stay, which struck me. We choose to settle in and make a place (a job, a church, a neighborhood, a school) our home in so many ways, but we can easily get into a rut and make it all about our own comfort.
She gives wonderful and practical tips about how to “start to stay” and how to put down roots, reach out to the people we see each day, and pour into the lives around us (instead of living in our own bubble). She encourages us to use our gifts, to call out gifts in others, and to think outside the box in very creative and loving ways.
Shauna says, “The strategies we will unpack together are not intended to add to your already-overcrowded calendar. They are to shape that calendar and give meaning to your schedule. We’ll use what we’ve got around us and in us to love well. We’ll have fun, and we can trust that others will feel cared for and satisfied.”But what if I’ve lived in the same place for a long time? Will this book help me “live sent” in a place where nothing much is new? I had this same question, and Shauna had a great answer for me! “Moving shakes things up a bit and gives us new perspective, but we can all fall victim to complacency and comfortability and forget the reason why we live where we live. If you’ve been doing the same thing for quite some time…it’s time to change things up. Take a different route, go to the gym at a different hour. Open up your circles to newcomers.”
If you want to live a life with more purpose and creativity, if you want to be part of living for Christ, sharing your faith practically, loving others personally, and truly living “on mission,” then this is the book for you. It’s full of stories, practical tips, biblical examples, and creative inspiration. Shauna gets you moving in the most surprising and fun ways.
I hope you’ll read along with me and open your heart to love where you live — more fully and more fearlessly — in 2019!
Order your copy of love where you live here: