Sunday, October 25, 2015
It's been almost a year (10 months) since I wrote a post on this blog, so I doubt very much anyone is still keeping up with me, but I wanted to drop a line here anyway, because I go back through my blog every once in awhile, to see what I was thinking during such-and-such a year.
And I certainly do shake my head over some of the things I've written in the past. How dramatic I can be at times! How wordy. How arrogant. How ecstatic. How depressed. How excited over little things. How hopeful.
Yes, life has its ups and downs. And yes, we grow and change as life passes. Someday I'll look back at my now-self, and shake my head over some of the things I'm doing and thinking. But I'll also grin, tongue-in-cheek, as I recall the way my nephew has me wrapped around his finger, or how ridiculous I get on Saturday mornings when I'm excitedly telling customers at the Farmer's Market that they NEED a pumpkin cream cheese muffin to make their morning happy.
I'm sure I will smile when I remember my trips to Honduras this year (that's where I am in the above photo) and, as sure as I'm alive, my heart will thump then as it thumps now when I think of that place. It will squeeze up tight and ache to be there, because I miss my "second home" as soon as the plane leaves the runway and heads towards the clouds.
I'll thank God for a very strange summer, that had me learning in a new way what it means to ask God to provide for my daily bread, and also what it means to have Him direct my steps day-by-day when I can't see my feet. I'll sigh when I think of how I called myself "Job" - not because I suffered anywhere near like that man did, but because everyone around me agreed that God Himself was not just allowing trouble to come into my life, but seemed to be actually going out of His way to point it in my direction and, unlike Job, I flunked the test and got really mad at God for "picking on me." But after I sigh I'll get down on my knees and thank God for forgiveness and for giving me new eyes.
This morning I sat in church and listened to a Sunday School lesson that reminded me I need to spend time every day quieting my heart to reflect on what God is doing, and who He is, and how much I love Him, and how much He loves me. And I mean just sitting and thinking - not reading, not doing another job while I'm thinking, but just sitting and talking to Him about how we're doing. It's especially important in this season of my life that I remember to do that, because lately life has become a really big swirl of activity.
This year God confirmed something He's been hinting at for a long time in my life:
I'm meant to do missions.
I don't know how to say that, exactly. "Called to be a missionary," sounds pretentious, considering how much respect I have for missionaries. But "It's what I'm meant to do," focuses too much on me, and, "It's what makes me happy," sounds like a really selfish reason to do anything.
But here's what I do know: "missions" is to lovingly invest in the lives of others, at the expense of other things you could be doing, for the sole purpose of making them worshipers of Christ.
And I don't have anything else I want to do.
We live in a world chock-full of options. My generation ....we have the world at our fingertips. We can pursue almost anything! And God has been so good to me, with opportunities I can't even begin to count. I spent last year with the goal of trying as many new things as I possibly could - things I was afraid of, or had never dared to do.
The more I tried, the more this thought was cemented in my mind: I don't want to do anything else. My very soul comes on fire when I am actively involved in sharing the gospel with people, loving people, sharing with them, and crying out to the Lord for them. And things that I hold dear - things I would never consider doing without - I throw away without a second's thought when an opportunity to share the gospel presents itself. My priorities have arranged themselves without talking to me about it - the things I thought were important were somehow nudged a little lower on the list, and this one thing has become a consuming desire with a strength that, to be honest, scares me to death.
You see why I must make more time to be quiet before the Lord - this consuming desire can become a runaway train, and I must know what it is that is taking possession of my heart. I must know Who He is.
I don't know yet how God is going to direct me. I don't believe "missions" is completely expressed in the idea of "sell everything you own and move to another country". If that's all it were, an atheist business man could do that. Missions is a heart attitude. It's a goal. It's a way of life. It's wherever you are.
So it's very simple, as a new friend told me a few months ago: "If God's called you to missions, then mission."
And that's my current adventure. It's including everything from forming a close relationship with an unsaved college student, to getting involved in local prison ministry, to starting a children's Bible club at a local after-school care, to volunteering in a mission board office, to planning a mission trip to the other side of the world, and another to Honduras.
In the middle of all of that, just like Paul made tents, I'm balancing three part-time jobs. I love each of them, and each of them give me more opportunities to witness, but, wow, do I feel stretched for time! (Everyday stuff, like laundry and dishes and baking have become precious treasures that are often hard to achieve!)
Anyway, that's where I am right now - happy, very content, but in the middle of a big learning process, as I figure out how to best spend my time, and try, in the middle of the craziness, to remember that DOING is nothing, if I'm not BEING, and that starts by spending a ton of time with my best Friend.