Economics 101 & Public Square & Theology 101

Leaving Home Is an Opportunity to Learn Lessons about Faith and Economic Freedom

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Lately, I’ve spent a lot of time packing and unpacking, something I never thought I’d find myself doing.

It started when I studied abroad, then landed an internship in DC… and then a job. A dream for a girl who studied government and economics, but a little scary for a fourth generation Tampa native who calls her family her best friends.

Amidst the emotional transitions, I’ve been performing economic research, learning about arguments made for and against economic freedom. Considering critiques of capitalism is part of my role at IFWE, in order to help us think comprehensively about what truly inspires human flourishing.

Capitalism and Cultural Displacement

With my suitcases still half full, one critique stood out to me: capitalism, economic growth, and pursuing increased opportunities lead to isolation, a culture of displacement, and erode the feeling of home and community.

In this view, progress is destructive to culture; jobs uproot people and expand transactions beyond the personal level.

A number of factors influence cultural dissolution. That discussion is beyond the scope of this post. Instead, I’d like to focus on how my personal experience has been the opposite of isolation and displacement.

As someone who loves the comfort and sentiment of home, but felt called to work elsewhere, these critiques led me to ponder the meaning of biblical homecoming. Instead of being in the midst of a spiritual crisis that I expected, I was finding spiritual strength.

I’ve put myself through years of short-term living accommodations, and new experiences in foreign places. All of these changes taught me more about myself, and what it means to be part of God’s creation, than I ever could have imagined from my living room in Tampa.

Leaving Home Can Teach Lessons of Faith

I’ve learned that faith in God is a lifestyle. It is about finding your calling, taking risks, and doing your best to fulfill that calling.

Tim Hoerr, author of Risking It, is right when he says that taking risks is an expression of faith. Consider the parable of the talents: those who took a risk were the ones who received the master’s favor. Then there’s the  story of Peter’s doubt: the miracle of Peter walking on water only happened because he risked stepping out of the boat.

Leaving home to follow my calling has stripped me of conventional comfort, but has brought me to realize how amazing it is to truly take refuge in Christ as the ultimate home.

By leaving my comfort zone, I found a home in something more real and unwavering than earthly places. To me, this is homecoming: continuing to listen to God’s calling when you aren’t sure what’s going to happen next, but knowing that you have a home in him.

Despite missing family and not having settled in a space of my own until this month, I have never felt so “home.”

This is the kind of home that has nothing to do with my address, but with putting all my trust in God and what he has in store that I couldn’t have imagined before I surrendered to his plans.

Calling and the Possibilities Created by Capitalism

I wouldn’t change a thing about all that I’ve discovered by moving, but I’ll confess that a few tools eased the transition.

Text messaging and video chats allow me to talk to family and friends daily. Thanks to the innovations of air travel and other forms of transportation, I can get home quickly if I need to.

Capitalism hasn’t just expanded opportunities for me to live out my calling. It has provided the capabilities to stay emotionally connected to where I came from while pursuing where I’m going. It doesn’t always erode; sometimes it expands and allows us to touch and be touched by more of God’s creation.

Tumultuous, emotional, and just as exciting as it has been overwhelming, leaving home has led me to become more secure in a different kind of home: the faith that we will be guided to where we are needed to further God’s Kingdom, uncovering the deep comfort and truth that rests in Genesis 28:15: “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.”

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