In some ways I feel like I have become somewhat judgemental. Specifically in how I view missions now. I want to say that YWAM and programs that are similar like it, are really absolutely nothing like what mission life. It doesn’t even compare. Which, in some ways, it really isn’t.
When you are a Global Worker/Volunteer, you aren’t necessarily aroung people your age. You don’t have the mission trip ‘plan’. Really, your life is hardly planned out for you at all in any sense. You have to make your own life. You have to seek God in places and in ways you will have never done before.
You are forced to step even further outside yourself. Beyond just leaving familiar because for the rest of God’s call on your life in missions, you have to make the unfamiliar your new familar. Which will continue to change no matter how familiar it starts to feel.
No one is found holding your hand telling you to go right, left, or straight. They won’t tell you if you have gone too far and need to come back, or if you haven’t even arrived.
Absolutely you have support, but that support isn’t by your side 24/7. They aren’t talking to you, asking you how you are doing every day, in every moment. It’s your job to gauge how well you are doing and then to reach out. Because in reality, your support has their own life that may or may not be syncronized with yours, but nonetheless, they still have their own life and their own job to do. A lot of the time you are on your own. Finding your way through this new life you are now living.
It’s also not always going to be all fun and games. Even when it is fun and games it actually won’t be. It will be draining. It will be exhausting. And just when you thought you came all on your own, you suddenly feel like you can’t get away. Despite all good intentions.
You feel as if even when you’re resting you’re still working. And when you’re working you feel tired, but you have to work harder to appear or make yourself feel as if you have energy just to not feel tired, and to also fight fatigue which is why when you’re resting you still feel like you’re working.
You stay in one place, for the most part, for an extended period of time. You came to stay because you wanted to make a difference. But more than that, you just wanted to see a difference made in the lives of the people you encounter, and in the community you are now apart of. But you still don’t see it. You are almost frustrated, or really frustrated at times feeling that after so long something should be different. That people aren’t being saved left, right and centre or encountering God in some text book way. Then you aren’t even sure if you’re seeing God anymore because you find yourself and see yourself being caught up in so many things that now, it doesn’t even feel like God is there. It feels almost as if you have lost Him somewhere along the way. Even though you feel like you are doing everything ‘right’. That you’re loving as much as you can and as purely as you can. As wholly as possible.
The thing is though is, yes, you came for God and God is in it as much as you are, but abundantly more. However, God will look different, his presence will be different at different times. You don’t find Him shaking the ground as you expected or would have thought. He’s not tearing you apart piece by piece making you feel like a whole new person each and everyday, in every new encounter with a person or new problem.
He’s not even absent.
What is changing is how He reveals himself to you. And also how you seek and find Him. He’s actually showing himself to you more than ever before. But because you only ever found Him in a LIT worship set, a powerful message, an encouraging word, or in supportive friends, you had to recognize that He’s found in more than just those places. He’s far beyond the comfort of your tight knit friend group and church community. He goes beyond the confing lyrics of a song. He’s more than the words a someone on a stage places him in.
But because you have never experienced anything outside of these things, you just don’t know where He is.
‘Well He’s everywhere and he’s everything,’ is what they say, but what does that really mean beyond what you just see through your eyes? What is just on the surface? What could be a bush, a chicken, or a child?
A pastor, preacher, special speaker could never really tell you because it’s only something you yourself can find. Is what they will tell you. And that it is only something God can show you. That’s what will follow. And it is true.
They will tell you ways in which you can get there, but really, if God wants to show you, he will. If He wants to let you in on his secret, he will. Then they’ll say, but only if you truly want to. How do you truly want to? I couldn’t tell you. And no one ever could.
But because you, just looking at an array of golds, pinks, purples, and blues that light up the sky in the waking moments of a new day and admiring God’s work before He tells you that ‘this one I made just for you. Because you enjoy it more than anyone in the world.’ And that His favourite place in the park looks like nothing special to you after you passed many other contenders, but it is special, and it is his favourite place becuase it is exactly where he brought you. Exactly where He wanted you to go. And then says nothing more.
This is when you understand the everything and everywhere.
You never realize that in the moment you are trusting Him to guide you home from a place you went to in the light, and return in the dark. A place you weren’t paying attention to how to get there when you were driving in a taxi. To places you had never been before because you are in a city you can’t even say you have been to before. But you trust Him to lead you home and be a guide, because being honest, he will be better than Google Maps anyways, that you really are hearing his voice telling you to go right, left or to just keep walking.
Because it is His hand you came to hold.
That when you worship Him in a less than comfortable place, which actually feels unsafe, He gets your angel to show themself to which only realize when they pop up out of no where, and lead you to where you are going. And even your angel looks like an average Joe, but never fails to show up when you are feeling uneasy.
And then you think how long it would have taken you to find out these things had you not said yes. Had you listened to that part of you that said ou weren’t ready. That you couldn’t do it.
You also begin to recognize that you are not like everyone else. Which means not everyone is like you. That your mission is so different from anyone else’s.
That God created you exactly for the mission you are on. Which means no one else can do it like you can. Because, God didn’t make them for yours. He made you for yours. As repetetive as that is.
So what, not everyone can leave everything behind and start off on their own; seemingly. That not everyone has the ability to throw themselves off a cliff into unknown waters that churn and rage below.
The only thing you do know is that no matter what the mission is, or how it looks, it’s all for one Kingdom; the same Kingdom. The same place we are trying to bring people into. The one place everyone is so desperately searching for.
You aren’t really all that special. You aren’t all that brave. No matter who tells you, or how many times you hear it. (You are, but not.)
Because as brave as it is to go halfway around the world, it is just as brave to stay and be just where you are.
With much love and thanks,