I recently finished Staying is the New Going by Alan Briggs, and my initial gut response is “wow”. This book was nothing like what I expected, and more encouraging that I ever imagined. I started reading it, thinking it would be book about focusing on local missions, rather than big international trips. And I think that would’ve been a fine book. But Staying is the New Going is more than that.
It’s a book of hope for those who are stuck in a place they didn’t plan to be in.
It’s a book to challenge those who struggle with packing up and leaving, giving in to wanderlust.
It’s a book of the type of everyday courage it takes to live well where you’ve planted.
Even if you never what to be planted in the place you find yourself.
Alan Briggs takes local missions to a whole new level by treating it as a lifestyle, not as a series of one-day events to serve the less fortunate. Don’t get me wrong: those events are great. But if your faith community isn’t already invested in the population its serving once a year, the impact will be minimal.
Staying is the New Going dives deep into how a commitment to stay can radically change a community. Our society is a mobile society, one scared of putting down roots and always ready to move onto something newer and better. We trade genuine community in our neighborhoods for the ability to pack up and move on when something better comes by. And this diminishes our connection to the community and our ability to love our neighbors well. Our real neighbors.
I ended up back in my hometown after moving away for a few years, and I didn’t want to come back. I had checked out after high school and never intended to stay. This book was exactly what I needed to read at this time in life, when I’ve been second-guessing my decision to stay left and right. When I’ve been wanting to get out again. Because I’ve been battling feelings of failure and disappointment for ending up here again.
But Alan makes it clear that winding up in a place you didn’t plan isn’t failure. Staying isn’t giving up. It’s daring to hope for a more vibrant community, right where you are.
I can’t recommend this book enough. If you’ve felt like staying where you are has been a sign of failure, and have struggled with this, pick up this book. And it you’ve been thinking about moving on because there’s nothing left for you in the place you live, pick this book up. Dare to Stay.
This book has cemented this idea I’ve had…and one I’ve been ignoring.
I’ll be participating again this year in 31 Days, which is a writing challenge held in October. Essentially, I commit to posting one post a day, all on a theme of my choosing. I had chosen 31 Days of Living Tiny a month or two ago, as I prepare to move into and live in my tiny house.
God has other plans, and since #FMFRetreat, He’s been trying to convince me to write on something else. Something more difficult. Something I don’t feel qualified to write on.
And I give in. He’s come at me through a number of ways and has convinced me.
So this year, for the 31 days of October (despite being in Cambodia half the month), I’ll be writing on 31 Days of Living Brave.
Lord, help me.
Friends, pray for me.
I received a complementary copy of this book from the publishers, Tyndale, in exchange for my honest view. Affiliate links were used in this post.