Jill and Derick Dillard shocked many fans of the Duggar family when they announced they would be leaving Arkansas to live abroad in Central America as “long-term missionaries.” The young family packed up their belongings and took their infant son to El Salvador to work with S.O.S. Ministries but before leaving asked fans to help fund their mission work by making donations to Dillard Family Ministries. Though the Dillards have had their lives in El Salvador seemingly funded by fans, they do not believe that the underprivileged in Central America have the right to throw a “pity party” because “life is about choices, not circumstances.”
The Dillards took to their blog to discuss the topic of “worry.” In the post titled “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” Derick Dillard outlines why he believes that people are the product of their own doing and not that of their “circumstances.” Derick notes that worrying only makes life’s troubles worse and that no matter what struggle you have, you should never resort to worry as “worry only makes your trouble double.”
Derick goes on to speak about troubles that are not the result of your own personal sin but that sin of others around you. For example, Derick discusses divorce or a bitter breakup of a child’s parents that leaves them in turmoil. Dillard asks if worry and anxiety are warranted when the pain is caused by someone else.
“At this point, some might argue that nobody can be held personally responsible for all the pain in their life that causes worry. How can one be blamed when they don’t understand the way they were born? Or, how can a child be blamed for abandonment or the breakup of their parents? Are these difficulties the result of one’s own personal sins? No, these are examples of difficulties people face so that God might be shown powerful and receive glory by working in the power of His awesome might!”
Dillard ultimately answers the question by noting that “life is little about circumstances and much (more rather) about choices, which include our responses to those same circumstances.” Derick notes that every person should remove worry from their life and focus on pleasing God. This is presumably the message that the Dillards are preaching to the individuals that they come into contact with in Central America. As the Dillards have pointed out, the people they speak with in El Salvador come from less-than-desirable backgrounds struggling with poverty and violence in their region.
Derick goes so far as to define items that should not be a focus for Christians such as “material possessions, job, food, clothing” and says that people should only focus on “honoring God, relationships, and others’ eternity.” The Dillards note that things like food and clothing cause worry, but that if you focus solely on honoring God then there is no worry.
The Dillards seem to imply in the blog post that if you are focusing on your relationship with God, you will have everything you need in regard to food, clothing, and finances.
“We must be fully devoted to the Lord Jesus and live to make decisions that please Him. If we live this life of undivided devotion, then we truly have nothing to worry about.”
How do you feel about the Dillards preaching a message that life is about choices and not circumstances while working in the mission field with people who come from backgrounds of poverty? Is the message too contrived given that the Dillards are having their time in Central America supported by donors and the pair do not face the same poverty struggles that the families they are preaching to face on a daily basis? Are the Dillards implying that people in poverty situations without proper food or clothing are in that position because of a lack of faith? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
[Image via Instagram/ Jill Dillard]