This last week I’ve been really pleased with the conversations I’ve had about part 1 on my last blog. It seemed like a lot of people can either relate or not relate at all which I think are both good things when it comes to being the Body of Christ.
It’s funny, the other day my friend Hope was talking about how she related to the blog because she chose a different lifestyle than me an didn’t regret being home and traveling less because she got to do things that I didn’t. We left each other last year in Honduras and she was considering hitting Europe after squad leading like me, but went home instead. She ended the conversation by sarcastically saying, “Can’t wait till part 2 where you tear apart the fact that my life is unadventurous!” I knew she was joking but I wonder how many people have shared her “enthusiasm”?
After all it would be a bit predictable if I just wrote about all of the positive realities of an “adventurous” lifestyle as if everyone didn’t already know them! Since I didn’t have a plan when I decided to write a part 2, I have been thinking about what actually needs to be said and what I have found true in my life and I think it will be a little different than expected.
This has been a crazy week! Aside from moving to Gainesville, GA and starting a 10-5 part time job (yes that classifies as crazy for me), my best friend Justin’s wife also went into premature labor and had a beautiful baby girl Lyla at only 25 weeks. She is doing well, what a little pioneer!!! It’s definitely one of those things that makes you slow down a bit and ask God what he is really up to and what makes life worthwhile.
The interesting thing is that Justin has been by my side since college, and believe it or not we were both on the same path. At one point we had both been dating our girlfriends for about a year and were on our way to starting careers (well one more so than the other). Eventually he got engaged, I broke up, he got an internship, I worked at a camp, he got a job, I became a missionary, he bought a house, I bought a backpack. You get the picture? On paper, our lives couldn’t be more different. But the crazy thing is that every time we would catch back up and share, God seemed to be teaching us the same things. I could have gone on a safari and he could have done an expense report and God was sure to drop down the same revelation!
Earlier this week when I was at the hospital I reminded him that he is the most abnormal normal guy I have ever met. The way he keeps in step with the Spirit, breaks through strongholds, seeks discipleship, and goes after God with such a “normal” life has been so inspiring to me and has really guarded my heart from bitterness and hopelessness back home as a missionary which can be easy to succumb to! It’s very easy to come from the outside and raise questions or have criticisms about what “should be happening” in the Church at home or what America “should be doing” around the world but few people have the courage, commitment, patience, or true love to stick it out and see if their ideas would actually work. It’s a tool that I have seen the enemy use time and time again to quench what God has done in people’s hearts and to withhold testimonies that have taken place that need to be shared.
The truth is my lifestyle is beginning to change a bit too. God has finally given me a place to put my feet down in Malaga, Spain and a network to build in Europe. I’ve gained a countless number of experiences from my adventures and I now get to focus it all on one vision in one place. It’s like I’ve been throwing out seed to places being sown into for the first and possibly only time. I can’t wait to see the fruit from that labor one day, but now I have a field to call my own and am able to assure that what is sown, is watered, pruned, harvested, and transplanted somewhere else to do the same thing again.
This is the goal anyways, right? I mean it’s what Jesus meant when he said “go and make disciples”. In fact, to be bold, if you are a missionary and it’s not your ultimate goal then you need to get off the field and let someone who has the mind of Christ do your job. I know that seems harsh but people need a better gospel and God deserves to be glorified in this way.
To sum things up, I think I’ve come to this conclusion:
Because I’m an adventurer, I have come to a place where not many people get, especially at 25. I’ve left home, seen the world (a couple times), experienced the truth of God rise above culture and circumstance, made the most diverse group of friends, and now have the privilege to build a life somewhere that others would only dream about (not to mention I have a couch to crash on just about anywhere)!
These are things that I’m thankful for and don’t take for granted.
But let’s face it, being an international adventurous missionary for Christ can be just as much of a facade as a Sunday morning choir member if they both don’t actually understand what makes life worthwhile. If they both don’t go after the truth that the greatest adventure of all is embarking on the journey to search out the unsearchable mysteries of Christ. Countries visited, salary earned, sermons preached, church attended all fail in comparison to this adventure.
If I sat and thought for awhile (which I do…a lot) I would probably say that one of the the things that makes the Church so beautiful is how non relatable most of it is. The best part is, to see this you don’t even have to go to Africa you can just walk down the street to a church with different name. It is incredible how dysfunctional the Body actually is and my travels have only confirmed this, but what is even more incredible is the fact that because we are so dysfunctional we are forced to completely rely on Christ as the head. It’s almost like God created it that way so we have to continually return to the basics if we want to see the Kingdom advance. I love it and I think God loves it just as much as a father that sees his child take her first steps, or in Justin’s case her first breath by herself. So the downside, upside, left side, strong side, or whatever side of whatever lifestyle we choose is probably a lot less important than we think. I’ve just settled with this:
This grass is greener where you water it!
“…we are so dysfunctional we are forced to completely rely on Christ as the head.”
yes. yes. and yes.