I have had a thought in my mind for several months now about a blog post I have been trying to write. However, the more I have tried to write it and communicate it, even to myself, the more it just seemed like something was missing and something needed to change. I was convinced of that, but I couldn’t seem to wrap my mind around what it was that needed to change. Finally, what I seem to be learning, and probably the better word is just observing, is that the “thing” that is changing is ME.
I am growing so much in a fresh and new way with falling more in love with God and more specifically with His people and the joy of serving them like never before in my life. I could go on forever about that but I want this post to be more about something else.
The thought I have been trying to communicate is how that I struggle at times with some of my conversations with people about us moving overseas. These struggles usually come from feeling like while we are talking about the same thing, I sometimes feel like I am already speaking a different language than the person in front of me. Sometimes it seems like several, but nowhere close to all, of my conversations can end up focusing on all the things that we have to give up, be afraid of, worried about, hurting through, or maybe even running from in this journey we are on.
At first I didn’t see very much value in these conversations. That was my arrogance and pride not allowing me to learn from people. One of the really life changing areas I’m growing in lately is the realization and truth that God can and wants to speak to me through any and all of my interactions with the people He created. I am learning the value in the concerns and hearts of people. I am learning to hear that there are things I need to be aware of, protecting us against, and praying and trusting us through.
However, there is still that feeling I get at times like I am speaking a different language and I want to explain that more.
When I think of what we are doing with our lives I am completely and beyond words just overwhelmed with the joy of my Savior in my heart. I know that there are things that we will no longer be able to do, like hug our moms and dads, experience growing up with my nieces and nephew, try to encourage and love my brothers, sister, and dear friends. I will miss out on a lot of things but when I think about what we are doing that stuff just does not linger in my thoughts for very long. This call I have experienced is undeniable and this is difficult for me to explain but I honestly feel like part of that call and maybe even part of a gift from God that goes along with this call is the simple natural tendency to just not look back. I have put my hand to the plow, my yoke is attached to my Lord and I am so unbelievably thrilled with the joy of what lies ahead.
Instead of what I can’t do and have to give up, I’d like to try to give you a glimpse into where my mind goes every second I ponder this journey…
I have lived my entire life pulled by so many things that fight to distract me from God in a culture that is infiltrated by our enemy. The battle strategy that knows it can’t win, fights in every way to get us to put our minds on anything other than the perfect life God has prepared for us.
I’m getting a break from that. I’m getting to move to a culture where I don’t understand much of anything. Will this create cluelessness and ignorance at times? Sure, but trust me, if you know me, you know I’m no stranger to either. Has this already created and fostered a single-minded focus on the sovereignty and work of God in my life and a love and passion for His people like never before? ABSOLUTELY! I know that we are taking on unforeseen, impossible to understand burdens. I get it, I promise. However, I also know that all I feel is free! Lately, I feel so free to dance my dance with God and others the way that God intended. I am so in love with the time and simplicity that will come with a third world culture. Will there be struggles in that too, yes, but could it possibly be a blessing to not be able to worry about things because you don’t even know enough to worry. We fight off ignorance like it is a bad thing. In my life that is mostly just a fight to control and feel like I have to have everything figured out. I’m starting to enjoy some ignorance.
We are giving up a lot. Focus on that if you like. However, I just naturally see it differently.
All we have is our LORD. All we have is our marriage. All we have is an undeniable symbiotic dependency with co-laborers in our country, fellow believers around the world, and national believers that we cannot possibly ignore or not nurture will all that we are. In a world that teaches me to live for me and live for my wants and needs and the glorification of myself I feel free. I feel like so many distractions to what is really important in life are fading away.
Is this going to stop the enemy from finding new ways to distract? No. Will this present new challenges that we will have no idea how to handle and no experience with whatsoever? Yes. These are the questions I hear in the conversations. If I may, I would like to ask some questions. Is it better to be in a place where you feel like you have all your struggles figured our and you don’t need God’s help or is it better to be totally and completely reliant on Him for all you are, all your needs, and all you do? A good friend and former co-worker in this task recently told me that this task is essentially giving your sanctification process a steroid boast. Way too often we fear that because we focus on ourselves. I say let's dive in because I have faith in my God.
Enough of what we give up, let's talk about what we get to do. We get to chase the greatest darkness in the world with the brightest light we could ever possibly shine. All light grows brighter in greater darkness. We get paid to live for Christ! (Deepest and most heartfelt love and thanks to all my denominational family who provide this life for us! We go because you give and we will strive to be the best possible stewards of your gifts.) We get to introduce souls to the greatest hope they could ever imagine for the very first time. If you’ve never done it before my heart literally breaks for you and I pray you get the experience. Words and others experiences I have had in life cannot do it service but I can guess it has to be something like having a child. Seeing the birth of the gospel for the first time in some ones life when they have never even heard His name before is just unbelievable! They are in your hometown too, please for your sake, God’s sake, and their sake go find them. I could go like this forever but I’ll stop here.
I want to finish with this and I want to try to make this very clear. The life we are living is in no way better, more holy, or in any way more good that the life that God has called you to. That is not at all what I am trying to communicate.
I want to communication two things I don’t want you to miss:
- We are happy. No, I mean really happy. That doesn’t mean we don’t need your prayers. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t dying to ourselves. Our Savior chose that word well because at times it feels that way. Its just means we are happy.
- You can do this too and it would be for your good. The most common response I hear that breaks my heart is when people say they can’t do this. You might not be called to this particular life, in this way, for this long term like we are. However, you are called to clueless, ignorance, and complete co-dependency on God and His body. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Stop living a safe life that serves self. I still do it far too often. I still fail miserably at times but I’m learning that true joy doesn’t come in me winning in life; it comes from my death to self and the glory of God for the sake of others. Oh yeah, last thing, you just might be called to do exactly what we are doing…