myMISSION Blog

I’m Selfish

Have you ever had one of those really busy days? When everything you do seems to be overlapping with the next and you can’t seem to finish anything well?

Or, maybe you are like me lately, and this has been a season you are in. I feel like over the past few months I have grown to become queen of the to-do list.

My days, give or take a few changing variables, look like me groggily waking up to my alarm, rushing out the door to my 9–6 job, filling my breaks and lunches with an errand, then going straight from work to my next activity. Most of my evenings I have planned. Whether it’s small group, church volunteering, homework, or time with my husband.

None of these things on my list are bad. But over the last year, I have formed a cadence to my life.

My schedule, my time, my to-do list, and my rushing around, all of the sudden, has become a lot about me.

Missional Perseverance

As the communications specialist for Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union, I hear a lot of churchy buzzwords every day I’m in the office: missional, sacrificial, authentic, discipleship.

Sometimes in my work environment, it is hard to remember what those words really mean. I can show you hundreds of examples of Christians who are living missionally, but I struggle to live missionally myself.

Ninety-nine percent of the time, I am surrounded by Christians. I have to be very intentional about interacting with people outside my normal circle in order share my faith. For an introvert like me, that is a real challenge.

Chances are that your struggle is very different from mine. Living a missional lifestyle is usually not the most popular choice. It is not an easy lifestyle in any environment.

James 1:2­­–3 (NIV) says, “Consider it pure joy . . . whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

The Not-So-Easy Commission

When Jesus left his disciples with the Great Commission, nowhere in his verbiage did he say or did he even hint what he was asking them to do would be easy.

Jesus knew the sins of humankind. He knew that sharing the gospel would lead to discrimination, imprisonment, and death for these bold few He called.

Of course he knew. He had just experienced a tortuous death of his flesh.

The call to share the name of Jesus to the ends of the earth will always take sacrifice. It is not a call where we can sit within our comforts and delights and be effective in reaching out. Oftentimes in our lives, when God calls us to be bold and share His love, it comes at a cost.

Changing routines. Moving communities. Giving up money. Giving of our time. And for some, moving to distant lands.

We must begin loosening our grip on our time, finances, and family, in order to allow space for the kingdom at work to move.

Babies and Bible Stories

It’s 7:30 p.m. The sun is quickly fading in the western sky. The day is drawing to a close. It’s been a long day. There have been so many tears. One child has an ear infection and the other has strep throat. It’s a busy time at work; the annual fund-raiser is just around the corner and your community has been hit hard economically, so giving is down.

After a long day, it’s tempting to rush bedtime. You’ve been counting down the minutes because a warm bath and a few moments of quiet solace would nurture your weary soul. As you're pushing your child toward bed, she turns to look at you and says, “But Mama, we have to read a Bible story first.”

When It’s Easier to Give Up

I can think of many situations where I’ve wanted to give up. They vary from finishing a paper to working out at the gym, or even trying to mend a relationship.

When things become tougher than we originally expected, it can be tempting to quit. However, God often uses these moments to teach us an aspect of the fruit of His Spirit: patience.

Aren’t you glad God doesn’t give up on us? Philippians 1:6 (NIV) says, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

I wrote this verse on a sticky note and put it on the front of my study Bible, where it stayed for nearly two years. Every time I opened that Bible, the verse reminded me that I was a work in progress. The Holy Spirit is my teacher, and He will never give up on me.

Changes in My Plans

The way forward railway

Less than six months in, I knew the 2-year commitment I signed up for was about to look drastically different than my previous expectations. I moved to the Middle East, with a team I was going to walk alongside and a community that was welcoming me.

The day I found out my supervisors were no longer going to be the leaders of our team, it was clear from this point forward, the next year and a half was about to look very different than what I had in mind.

What we seem to never plan for are the bumps along the way. I don’t think any of us go into a circumstance expecting it to be easy. But few of us go into new situations looking for the potential bumps. We walk in obedience and take each moment as it arrives.

This drastic change in job, leadership, team dynamic, and community made the next year and a half really random to say the least. I moved countries 11 months in and had to readjust to a new dialect and a new cultural order. What initially felt smooth in my transition grew increasingly difficult and, to be honest, really lonely.

No one could have prepared me for what living in the Middle East on my own would have felt like.

Annie’s Example

Have you ever heard of the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American missions? Have you ever heard of Annie Armstrong? Chances are, if you grew up in a Southern Baptist church you would have heard of her each year at this time. If you are new, this might sound like a distant history lesson:

Annie Armstrong was a lay leader in Southern Baptist life in the 1800s. And guess what? She started out in what we would call today myMISSION. By the age of 31, this single young woman was helping to start a mission organization in her home city of Baltimore. She was soon using her gifts at the state and national levels. At the age of 37, she helped start Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) and strategically led it to become the global influence it is today. At the age of 55, “Miss Annie” left the organization in capable hands and focused the rest of her life on grassroots works in her city.

Annie was a young woman who changed her city, state, nation, and world. Are there any “Annies” in your myMISSION group?

What could we be doing today that could change our world in our lifetime?

When Motherhood Didn’t Go As Planned

The months leading up to the birth of my first child were filled with expectant planning. I’m a Type A person, so I tackle fear of the unknown by over preparing—I read and research until I’m too informed. Since I’d never given birth or had a child, I spent the months leading up to her arrival by reading all the advice blogs and baby websites I could find. I asked all my mom friends for tips. I made all these plans—I basically knew everything there was to know about having a newborn. Or so I thought.

The first few days in the hospital with her seemed to go smoothly. We were getting to sleep pretty regularly, and she was feeding well. And then we went home. She fought me every time I tried to feed her. She didn’t eat for 12 hours. She started to look jaundiced. I began to panic. Suddenly, things weren’t going as planned. As a first-time mom, I lost my confidence in what I was doing. I gave up on nursing her and we gave her a bottle. She ate and she was healthy. That was all that mattered.

Perseverance and Love

myMission Perseverance and Love

It was 20 degrees outside. I thought my tired shoulders were going to crumble under the weight of a backpack crammed full of Bible story books. My legs were stiff from the cold and from walking over 15 miles the day before.

Resting wasn’t an option. I was following my determined translator all around a small rural town in western Russia. Marat was a fast walker, and if I lost him, I would be all alone in an unknown location with no way of communicating with anyone.

So I walked. And walked. And walked.

Periodically we would stop at a housing complex and leave Bible storybooks in mailboxes, lightening our packs a few books at a time. Occasionally we would see someone outside and speak with them.

The fear of getting lost may have kept my sore legs moving throughout the day. But something else had me getting up out of my warm, cozy bed every morning that week.

My first day in the country, I gave a small teddy bear to a boy whose face lit up the room when he received the gift. On the bear was printed the only Russian phrase I knew: “God loves you.”

The Failed Lemonade Stand

I was the kind of kid who would do anything to make money. Whether it was washing the car or watching my little brother, I jumped at the chance to make an extra dollar.

In the summer after fifth grade, I decided that I wanted to set up a lemonade stand at our neighborhood pool. My parents said that was fine, but I would have to pay for the supplies.

After recruiting my brother as a co-investor, Mom took me to the grocery store where I learned that investing in a lemonade stand wasn’t cheap. After getting cups, lemonade mix, ice, and a cooler, I realized that I needed to sell a lot of lemonade to make a profit.

As the day went on, I grew more and more disappointed with my results. Even though I sold a few cups of lemonade, I was still in the hole. Worse yet, my business partner/brother had abandoned me to play in the pool. “Does he have to cover more of our debt if I ended up doing all the work?” I asked my mom.

Looking back, I can see that working that lemonade stand taught me a lot about earning money. While I felt like a failure in the moment, I now realize that the situation was a great lesson.

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