I found myself torn last week as red Xs popped up all over the internet. My heart jumped with excitement at the prospect of people growing more aware, but there was also a flash of anger, or maybe discouragement, wondering if The End It Movement would actually spark a MOVEMENT! Movement requires action, action a little more than ending with a red X on your hand.
But, the truth is, I can’t expect or be responsible for anyone else’s movement. I can share, motivate, and challenge, but I can’t force.
And, I have to remember my movement didn’t just happen. It was a series of very deliberate steps, intermingled with a series of “coincidences” that led me to where I am.
Three years ago, before the End It Movement launched, I was setting in a small group of sponsors at the Passion Conference. I wish I could tell you I had great intentions, but the truth is I attended the conference hoping for a vacation and only attended small group because I felt guilty. As we began “processing” through the week, my group started challenging me and asking me if I was really doing what I thought I should be.
I went home torn. I loved what I was doing, but felt a discontent.
As I left the peak experience, it was easy to return to routine and distraction. It was different this time, though. There was always this small glimmer in the back of my mind, that would question if I really was content, really doing all I could.
Then, as if on cue, three of the girls I was mentoring asked me, unprompted, and at separate times, if I was truly doing what God had called me to do. My response was…no, but I wasn’t sure why, or what I was called to.
After resigning from my comfortable job at the church, with many tears, I had no idea where to begin. I found myself lost, but peaceful. As I began searching, processing, praying, two things came to the forefront; the quote, “the only thing that allows evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing” and Proverbs 31:8-9 “speak up for the mute.” They plagued my thoughts and kept me up at night. The only way I knew to do something, anything, was to return to social services, an area I thought was in my exhausted past.
The next two years were a roller coaster of uncertainty and change. I left everything that was comfortable, found myself in several new jobs in new locations, and was having to examine myself continually. I experienced corrupt situations and had to decide what kind of person I really wanted to be. Circumstance after circumstance found me deciding if I could idly set by or if I would be the person to speak up and take action. One response was easy, allowing me to be disengaged and only doing when it was convenient. The other required me to become uncomfortable, confronting injustices and standing up for people.
Eventually, these circumstances led me to resign, yet again, with no idea what was next. August 9th, 2012, I found myself jobless, and technically homeless, but with a clear conscience and a new understanding of who God truly is. This understanding leads to peace in the midst of chaos.
August 12th, I got the call. It was from a small, grassroots non-profit attempting to fight trafficking. Their goal was to provide refuge and restoration to domestic minors who had been trafficked.
If I took the job, there would have to be sacrifices. The pay was part-time, the commute was long, the hours most definitely not part-time. But, I would be joining with other men and women who had CHOSEN to move, to do something. Some had worked gratis for years trying to get it up and going, others were commuting just like me, and all of them were sacrificing to make a small difference.
You see, when I made the choice to join this group, it was because I could no longer set by. I could no longer simply post on facebook, wear a t-shirt, or put a red X on my hand and allow it to end there. All of those things are good, if it causes MOVEMENT.
But, how we move and what causes us to move is up to us!
So as I set here in my Hard Places Community t-shirt looking at my pic of red Xs knowing it is about to be posted on facebook, I applaud the awareness all these amazing organizations are providing. I applaud all the men and women who are working tirelessly to make a small difference in combating trafficking in our nation and abroad. And, I pray that others will join us in truly hoping to End It.