Ministry. If you get into this, I hope you’re near a bathroom because all the crap in your life is going to come out one way or another. You may laugh or cringe at this analogy, but it’s true. Two weeks alone at the office has shown me how selfish I can be and brought up several insecurities. It’s raised doubts and questions I didn’t even realized I had in me. I’ve been grumpy and moody and lonely.
I look at my colleagues and other ministry workers I know and realize I put them on a pedestal. They seem to have it all together…and that would mean that I’m falling apart and shouldn’t be a missionary. But a missionary from Haiti just shared a message on Jonah a couple Sundays ago and quieted my heart a bit.
Being a missionary is hard. Jonah was one of the first missionaries that we know of and let’s be real, he didn’t have his crap together either. He deliberately disobeyed God and headed to Tarshish. He wasn’t about to step foot in that rachet ole town called Nineveh. uh-uh. He ain’t about that life. We may condemn Jonah because it’s easy for us, but we do the same thing every day. Seriously. Staying in Storm Lake doesn’t sound nearly as exciting as heading to Nepal, living in the mountains with a community and fighting sex-trafficking. But, that’s not what God has called me to do. I could ignore this just like Jonah did…but I’m learning from previous mistakes and taking God’s word for it…he’s never been wrong before.
Jonah struggled with what was appealing and what was necessary. His decisions eventually led him into the mouth of a great big fish. As unfortunate as this was, he turned back and eventually followed through with God’s plan of preaching to the Ninevites. And sure enough, God’s plan worked and the Ninevites repented of their crazy sins. This didn’t please Jonah…at all. He threw a little temper tantrum, sat under a tree, and asked God to kill him. Though I’m not at that point, nor do I ever hope to be there, it could happen.
I brought this up in one of our prayer times recently and my fellow missionaries and friends gracefully and lovingly said, “Don’t dig up in unbelief what has been sown in faith.” And this is where I’m coming back to and resting. Those moments where I feel left out because I can’t talk about my job search, or relate to endless application and interviews or when I feel lame for staying in Storm Lake when others are going to exotic places like Minnesota or Missouri… I have to remind myself of the hours I spent researching and praying and journaling about this position at The Bridge and how stressed I was back in October when I was doing all these things…just months ahead of time. I feel called to stay and serve at The Bridge. This is the next logical step in my life and it makes the most sense. So I will do my best to put the shovel away and rest in the shade of the tree He has planted for me.
If I complain about The Bridge, staying in Storm Lake or raising support,
1.) tell me to shut up.
2.) grab my journal, turn to October 24 and shove it in my face.
3.) remind me that this is where I need to be.
4.) pray for me to get my crap together and trust God.