The Quiet Radicals

AQuietRadical#2You say it to me. Again and again. And I look down, staring at my feet, shuffling uncomfortably as I inwardly groan and want to grab you and shake you to next Tuesday.

Oh, I could never do what YOU are doing. I could never be a missionary.” {Here you could also add other “Christian-y” vocations I’ve thought or said of others: pastoring, Bible teacher, or big-name speaker.}

And just like that, you have put yourself in the category: Not radical. Not enough.

And you wear it like a badge across your chest as you slump your shoulders and sigh thinking of laundry, dinner to be made, the Dora Band-Aid begging to be applied to stop tears.

And I’m telling you, right now, it is a lie.

It is a straight-up, from the pit, down and dirty lie to believe the only radical Jesus-follower is the one with a passport.  

Or that mattering in the Kingdom of Jesus is relegated to big personalities on big platforms with big lights and big standing ovations.

As I read through the Gospels and study Jesus’ life, I see him spending an uncomfortable-to-my-celebrity-driven-Christianity amount of time with the little, the least, and the lost. Boys with loaves, tiny tax collectors up in trees, women at wells, even providing spectacular wine at a party.

You hear the message “be radical” preached and the wind knocks out of you. I know. I’ve felt it too. Because honestly, at times living abroad makes me feel MORE limited, my hands MORE full of the mundane, with the liturgy of living and what it takes to make a life. I can feel lost in the sautéing of one more meal and sweaty laundry that never ends and always smells a bit like mold. At times it feels limiting, even crushing, and not even a bit of glamorous. 

But we have to believe. Believe that Jesus modeled for us a radical life. That laundry, wiping spills, concentrating on  pudgy faces revealing details of last night’s dream, marveling over Lego creations, washing of grubby faces are all kinds of crazy radical. These are radical mission work.


Don’t tell me what you do in everyday life doesn’t matter. Because it does. And Andy Stanley’s words hit us upside the head like a Nerf gun bullet, “Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but someone you raise.

I need you. I need to know that you are here, across the world, living it, slapping me a PB-and-J-sticky-high-five as we each run our race. I need to know little moments matter whether your feet land in the green grass of Indonesia, in the red soil of Uganda, or the rain-soaked mud of Oregon.

I need to know I am a part of a movement of quiet radicals, faithfully loving those around us with a selfless sacrifice of service.

I need you to agree that WE matter. 

That all the little moments of our quiet, radically poured-out lives will add up to one big, hearty, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” And we will link arms as sisters knowing that we fought the good fight and we finished the race. That we ran well. That in those quiet moments of living radically, we see Jesus. We meet Him in the midst of the messy mundane and KNOW we matter.

Radical (fb)

So don’t be surprised when I see you and you tell me you could never be a missionary and I look you straight in the face and tell you, “You already ARE. Now get after it, you quiet radical you.”


    • Joy says

      Ah, Jacque!! I love you! I wish we had more time together in Austin. I just loved praying together…you are a real life, soul sister friend. :)

  1. Becky Daye says

    Ah, Joy!!! LOVE this!!!! Yes, yes, yes!!! I was holding Ainsley the other day and telling Dave that I felt like I needed to be doing more and he got all teary and reminded me that I was holding my greatest ministry. Sometimes we need those reminders. I am so thankful for yours here!

    • Joy says

      God Bless that Dave of yours. Speaking truth to your heart. :) Will you remind me when I forget? Because I have those days too….when I look around and feel like I need to do more…sigh. Lord, forgive us. Love you, girl!

  2. Dayna Sykes says

    Love this! And so needed a reminder that this past week has meant something when everything around me has fallen behind while I have wiped noses and cuddled my little who had the flu. While I’ve spent the past two days trying to get over sickness myself so I can get back to taking care of everything else. Thank you Joy for always encouraging my heart.

    • Joy says

      Yes!! It is in those moments that we need to reminded all the more, huh? Because wiping noses can feel so un-glamorous, can’t it?! I hope you are all feeling back to 100% soon. :)

  3. mama fuzzy says

    Amen! I’ve been at my wits end lately wanting to throw in the towel, etc. This stay at home/homeschool mama stuff can be lonely and long and grueling. …But LOVE is the ultimate enduring motivator. You and your family are AMAZING!

    • Joy says

      Oh yes. I have been to that place so many times. The towel wants so badly to get thrown in. And it can be so lonely. But you are right, looking at the end is the motivator! Looking at HIS face is so motivating too! Thanks for sharing your heart.

  4. says

    Joy, I could not love this more. The message wrapped up in these words is one that the Lord has been graciously but firmly settling into my heart in the last year and honestly, it hasn’t been an easy one. As much as I love mothering my little people, it is hard and there are so many voices that clamor for my attention and tell me that the small and mundane equals unfit and unworthy for Kingdom business. You are so right, it is a lie from the pit of hell. He truly does work miracles in the small, everyday, line upon line, precept upon precept. It hasn’t always matched my plans or even what I thought to be “Christian” ideals, but it turns out those were faulty measuring sticks anyway 😉 but the GOSPEL, lived out, plain and simple – that’s His voice calling and I see Jesus as I read your words.

    Thank you for this. It’s clear He’s given you a message to share. Keep going, friend. I’m so in! *sticky high five* :) <3

  5. Kristy @Little Natural Cottage says

    This is so true, Joy. We can each choose to live life in the light of eternity, and realize that the small things absolutely DO matter. That you for your passion, and for sharing it with others! Blessings, Kristy

  6. Brandy Gainor says

    Love this, Joy! This is exactly where I am and what I needed to hear. I’m definitely feeling more limited and more mundane even though I’ve been called to live abroad. I’m fighting to not believe lies and to be faithful with what the Lord has given to me and called me to. Whew! It’s a fight, and I appreciate you sharing your heart. I am praying for you, sweet friend as you pack up, enjoy your last weeks in the US, and as you say your good-byes. And, I pray for you as the Lord goes before you and prepares the way for your move to Uganda.
    He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Col. 1:17

  7. Ulrika says

    Being a servant of the Lord is about doing your best where God has put you. That’s the way I see it anyway. :) It’s not about what you do but about how you do it. And no one task is “better” than any other. The world would be weird if everyone was a pastor or a doctor right? Church vocation, stay at home parenting, or a regular job, it’s about using the gifts that the Lord has given you and doing your job the best you can. If you try to do someone else’s job or live someone else’s life, then the job you were meant to do and the life you were meant to live will not happen, because there is no one else who can do it the way you would. :) So there should never be comparison – ever.

  8. Patti says

    Well said Joy! Such truth you have shared here…truly encouraging and right on!! These ‘little ones’ in my/our lives are given to us by God–worthy of my utmost attention. A gift from my Creator, for my good and His glory. Thanks for sharing this post today!

  9. Michelle Smiricky Tjardes says

    Thank you Joy! You made my morning. It is hard when you see people preaching and speaking and being “BIG” to see what you do as a mom and a wife as important too. It is. Thank you for pushing me along today. Just what I needed to start the day off on a different note. Bless you!

  10. AmberJea says

    I needed this today! It’s just another confirmation, I need to deny myself and my wants that I care to pursue. I find it challenging to just sit down and be a mom because I never got to see that. I feel like a failure if I’m not pursuing something other than motherhood. This is all the while I’m home schooling and always with my family. That probably doesn’t make much sense…

  11. Melinda says

    This is definitely what I needed to hear today! It is a confirmation from The Lord! I was pregnant with my daughter when 9/11 happened and I remembering hugging my belly(pretty big at that point since she was born Oct. 1st) and saying, “No, Lord, I don’t want her to have to be in this crazy fallen world!!!” God spoke strongly to my spirit that He needed her here to be a warrior for Him! I have made it my mission to train her in that way. I want her to be a light in this world and it is a huge responsibility! I know God sees our Mommy job as super important. Thanks for the encouragement today!

  12. Janene Frank says

    I’m a quiet radical with you. Thank you for this! My home is my mission field and that’s what He’s called for me to do for now: )

  13. Teresa Brown says

    Joy, you are always so encouraging to us mothers. I know sometimes with all we have to do if feels like we are accomplishing nothing but Wow…..such a reminder that our homes are our mission fields and our children are our responsibility to teach, grow and encourage in the love of Christ. Thank you so much for your obedience to the Lord in your teaching and sharing. Praying for you always.

  14. cj says

    Soooo true, Thank you. I’m working on grandkids now :~) Could you include the actual verses or address of the verses you use, I know many people do not know where in the bible to go. God Bless

  15. Gay T says

    Thank you!! Your words and heart are a balm to my heart and mind. I ditto what everyone else has said.

    I am in year 5 of homeschooling only 1. Five years of second guessing, self doubt, feeling like I’m not doing enough for my husband, daughter and home (I’m home a lot so it should look like Southern Living, right?), chastisement by my parents and others who believe public school and working outside of the home are mandatory (after all, my parents did pay for 4 years of college right?), and constant days of nagging and not checking off my to do list.

    God showed me 2 weeks ago just how isolating ‘social’ media is and how much better a phone call, sharing a cup of tea, and a nice walk to talk and get fresh air are. Face to face should be the new social media.

    Okay, off my soapbox. It’s February in Alaska with ice and cold, but lots of sun, so give me grace for my thoughts.

    Keep being radical where you’re planted…..the fruit will be world changing.
    Gay T

  16. says

    Thank you. I really believe this already but I needed to hear it again today as I homeschool my 4 kids and deal with my dear MIL in the hospital who is coming home to us in a few weeks suffering effects of a stroke. I will be the primary caregiver and I am stressed about the responsibility.

  17. Kim says

    This is perfect – you’ve taken the thoughts of many of us moms and put them into words :) Will be re-reading this one frequently! Thank you!

  18. says

    Okay, I think I need to do some editing. i just wrote about fear and how I consider myself more of a Thaddeus or Bartholomew, than a Peter who got out of the boat to walk on water. I think I belittled 2 of the disciples and myself all at the same time. I needed that pb&j high five to knock me up side my head and get some sense back into me. Thank you so much for these words. That Andy Stanley quote is new to me and what I so desperately needed to hear tonight. Thanks you so much!!!

  19. Kelly says

    Just what I needed to hear. Being a stay at home Mom of 4 is a 24/7 job. I miss the working world at times and feel that I am not important or that I don’t make a difference. Raising my boys and taking care of all the house hold needs is my job! I am important to these little guys! Thanks so much for your encouraging words!!

  20. says

    thank you, thank you, thank you – for giving me better words and insight in how to respond to people who say the exact same thing to me, as wife to an NGO worker in cambodia. i feel so frustrated when people act like we’re on a pedestal (which is one reason i blog so much – i want people to know what it’s really like! and that i’m not perfect!). but you’ve put into words ways to empower people to see their lives as having mission and purpose too, even if they are not overseas.

  21. Leah Wimpey says

    Thank you so much for this! It has come at just the right time! My husband and I moved our family last year away from our home to become full time missionaries. The biggest part of our ministry will be during the summer months, so that means that a lot of the work right now is done mainly by my husband. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being home with my 3 year old son- but I also feel that I’m not doing the same “missionary work” as my husband. There are days when I feel like all I do is say “no” going from one time out to another while my husband gets to make a difference in the world. God has to remind me again and again that I have more than enough to pour my life into in my house. When the opportunity comes for me to impact others I should make the most of it, but never make light of my opportunity that sleeps down the hall.

  22. Veronica says

    Thanks this very encouraging to me! May God keeps doing great wonders in your life, marriage, mother and everything that your foot steps. God bless. :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *