not a missionary

I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Lubbock, Texas.  I don’t think my plans for life have ever included such a sentence.  I’m not much of a planner in the conventional sense. Lists, schedules and deadlines might as well be written in a foreign language; I skim over them with little real understanding.  I am, however, a schemer.  It’s not enough to have goals and dreams for life.  I have them for the year, for the month, the week and the day.  In the morning I tell myself, “Today, I’m going to…” Or, “I think it would be amazing if I…”  I rarely lack enthusiasm for an idea, even the small and inconsequential ones.

I was going to be a missionary.  I love Jesus.  My heart longs to see others do the same.  I desire to live in obedience.  What could be greater than devoting my life to extending His kingdom in the places where He isn’t known?  So, I embraced the cause of Christ in the world.  I had a calling.

You’ll notice the use of the past tense.  “I was going to…”  “I had…”  At some point in the past year and a half I came to the realization that I cherished obedience to a calling more than obedience to Christ Himself.  Underneath my good desire was a strong sense of pride.

The calling was mine.  I clung to it.  I no longer needed to follow Him.  Sure, I sought direction for the specifics but the greater directionality for my life had been established.  I knew it.  No one could deter me from it.  It was wrapped in a package that seemed devoted and faithful but the bottom line was that my cause had taken the place of my King.  I was no longer obedient to Jesus.  I was obedient to the missionary call.

The calling was noble.  I was meant for something important.  My vocation was affirmed and applauded by my peers, my church, my family.  Being a missionary meant that my life mattered.  I thought my obedience was valuable because the task was viewed as valuable.  There was a measure of truth to my thinking.  Christ’s sacrifice was for all and His inheritance is of all nations.  Devoting your life to such a purpose is a wonderful thing but it’s not the only thing.

“Will you follow me?”  At one time, the question seemed to have a simple answer.  “Yes!  To the ends of the earth!”  And then “follow me” lead me to Florida, to temporary job commitment and away from international ministry.  The thought of a mud hut in Africa wasn’t frightening.  The idea of a year or two as a dance instructor, with no plans beyond was paralyzing.  Gone was my certainty, the personal satisfaction and the affirmation of my peers.  It didn’t make sense.  As I dealt with my confusion and fear, pride was revealed along with the disturbing realization that I was not submitting to Christ’s leadership.  I wanted to be a missionary more than I wanted to do anything else.  Actually, I think I wanted to be a missionary more than I wanted anything else.  That includes wanting to Jesus to be honored or the desire for Jesus Himself.

So began a new season of life for me.  This is my year of obedience.  I have no plans to return to cross-cultural ministry.  Perhaps He’ll bring me to that road again.  Maybe not.  Either way, I trust that His plans are good and His purposes will be accomplished.  I’m learning to let Him be my God.  I want Him to be the God of all my days.  He is God when I’m teaching my preschool tap class.  He’s God as I visit my friend Jaree’ here in Texas.  He’s God when I’m tired and frustrated that I’m left with the task of unloading the dishwasher again.  He’s God when I’m contented, lying on a blanket on the beach.  He’s God when I’m lonely and overwhelmed by making another decision by myself.

Submission sounds like such a weighty thing.  Today, it’s my freedom.  I recently learned a song that uses a phrase very close to the “God of all my days” that’s been frequenting my journal entries:

You awaken my heart
From slumbering
Meet me in mourning
And you speak to my grief

You’re the light in my darkness
The delight of my eyes
The hope of the daybreak
When the sun’s slow to rise

I trust that every moment’s in your hands
You’re the God of my days
The King of my nights
Lord of my laughter
Sovereign in sorrow
You’re the Prince of my praise
The love of my life
You never leave me
You are faithful
God of my days

You unveil my eyes
Help me to see
The arms of my Father
Encircling me
You’re a constant companion
I am never alone
Your love is the banner
That’s leading me home

I trust that every moment’s in your hands
You’re the God of my days
The King of my nights
Lord of my laughter
Sovereign in sorrow
You’re the Prince of my praise
The love of my life
You never leave me
You are faithful
God of my days

 

My eyes are on You
My hope is in You
My faith is in You
My eyes are on You
My hope is in You
My faith is in You

“God of My Days”

-Gateway Worship

May you find joy in knowing that He is God.


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3 thoughts on “not a missionary

  1. Tiffy you’re awesome, thanks for your encouragement as I read your blog. You’re right, it’s the noblest of all callings to love Jesus!!! Love ya

  2. great post! the Lord has been reminding me of something similar in recent days. love the lyrics of that song too. i so enjoy your writing, Tiffany!

  3. This has been my life and what I’ve been learning this past few years too. (: Maybe I take longer to get it than you do. 😛

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