Faith, Life, Missions, Travel, Work, Writing

On the mission field at home

I grew up with insane imaginations, extensive dreams, plots and stories playing out in my head. Dreams I experienced at night became the next story of my “life”. When I washed dishes, my hands were moving and the dish drain filling, but my mind was elsewhere.  When I rode in the car, I was racing along the roadside on a skateboard or jumping railroad tracks on my race horse.  When I was playing with my siblings and neighbor friends, I wasn’t just playing “house” or being one character, I was building a story, developing plots, and creating characters complete with backgrounds, troubles, backstories, and real motivation for the actions they took.

Then, as I got older, the desire to travel and experience things outside my mind–in reality–became stronger and stronger.  I’ve now lived in Israel and traveled to Egypt, Jordan, S. Africa, and Mozambique. I miss those places. I miss the people of those countries. I miss so much about travel.

Yesterday, for the first time in my life, I hated that I had been around the world. I hated that I’d experienced so many cultures, because, in some sense, I feel like I’ve grown bored with America, bored with living in one location, bored with the 9-5 lifestyle.

I lost grip on the eternal perspective yesterday and was frustrated. Frustrated that I went to four years of an expensive college to be working at Tim Horton’s serving coffee. Frustrated that I worked with training horses for five years and have nothing to do with that field at all. Frustrated.

To be honest, it was all about me, all about the dreams I have had of accomplishing big things and experiencing things not just here.. but around the world.

Discontentment. Shame on me.

Adam and I had a wonderful talk about our desires and how they line up with God’s plan.  We talked… he reminded me… that, in reality, it’s not about what we want to do; it’s about what He wants us to do.  So simple. So profound. So convicting.

On a more personal note, how can I believe that God will entrust me with the greater tasks of world missions and worldwide impact when I’m floundering to be faithful with the small?

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.
Luke 16:10

I have always loved the prayer of Jabez.

“Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!”
1 Chronicles 4:10

However, I think it’s been a selfish prayer for me, because I’m always looking for the more exciting option, the next big thrill. Yeah, not pretty; but this is me: raw, open, and honest.

I’ve considered missions. I’ve considered living overseas. I’ve considered urban ministry. However, that’s not where I am. I’m living in the country, attending a tiny church with little-to-no young adults my age, working with youth, volunteering at a local fire department, and working at a coffee/donut shop.

However, with an eternal perspective, I can see that I am blessed. God has answered this prayer of mine. God has expanded my horizons beyond what I’ve seen as possible in a small, podunk town in the winterlands of New York, spending Monday nights at a fire station, working 6-2 at a coffee shop, and hanging with youth on Wednesday evenings.

Sometimes, it’s just a matter of perspective, as was the case with me. God has expanded my horizons beyond what I thought possible.  God has given me a greater ministry than I knew. My mission field is here.

I’ve been looking for the hard road, for the dangerous path, for the lack of comfort to confirm to me a great mission and master plan, while all along I’ve been walking within my mission field: the day-to-day, the “boring”, the comfortable, and the simple.

I don’t have to learn a new language, a new culture, a new way way of cooking… I’m here. I’m home. I’m ready.

1 thought on “On the mission field at home”

  1. I prayed the “Prayer of Jabez” faithfully many years ago; and then when things changed in my life and I ended up working outside my home, I was not thrilled (to say the least). Every time I grumble about what I’m doing compared to what I’d like to be doing, I am reminded that God has me where he wants me…for now.
    Praying for you!

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