myMISSION Young Professional Blog

Serving in the Ordinary

buffet style snack table

It was still early in the morning when I climbed into my car and buckled my seatbelt, the backseat full of suitcases, boxes, and bags. The sun was shining brightly and I cranked up the air-conditioning to combat the end-of-summer Iowa heat. I took a deep breath as I pulled out of the driveway. This wasn’t just any road trip; this was the beginning of an entirely new season of my life.

I was leaving the comfort of home for a new adventure—serving as a semester missionary in the inner city. I was joining missionaries to serve and witness to a community impacted by poverty. My emotions ran high, made up of nervousness and excitement.

As I drove off that day, I didn’t know what to expect on the field. I had an abstract understanding of the concept of missions, but what that meant for everyday life was a mystery to me. Part of me assumed doing missions equaled constant superspiritual moments. What I found when I got there, however, was a bit different from what I expected.

My (Not-So-Little) Sphere of Influence

woman on rock platform viewing city

I shifted my weight in my chair during lunch as the speaker encouraged us to consider our roles and write down our circles of influence on a sheet of paper. Well this won’t take long, I thought to myself.

My paper ended up with wife, family member, friend, and employee scribbled on it shyly and slowly so those around me wouldn’t be able to tell how short my list was.

As a young professional, I consider my roles and my routine pretty simple. I go to work, get home around dinnertime, and spend time with my husband. On the weekends, we go to church and sometimes hang out with family or friends. My circle of influence seemed pretty small.

Surely there was more going on outside my comfortable bubble.

Around that time, the Holy Spirit began to convict me about my “boring” routine and how I use my time. Conviction came in the form of Philippians 2:3–4 (ESV):

Qualified to Do Missions

people walking across a crosswalk

When I was 16, I traveled with my church’s youth choir to Minneapolis to partner with a church in the inner city. Our purpose for being there was to help the church in its efforts to reach its community. While we were there, our group had the opportunity to participate in an outdoor cookout and concert for the neighborhood. The turnout was amazing; we saw people encouraged and loved and supported. We saw people come to Christ. The Holy Spirit was working in big ways.

While many parts of that evening were impactful, something that stood out to me was watching how God moved through my peers. I remember watching my church family serving this neighborhood and seeing how God was using each member to serve people in unique ways. I was blown away watching them be vessels of God’s love. And it was by watching them that I understood that missions is the call for every Christian.

Authentically Honest Relationships

three young women

Recently, one of my friends reached out to me after a few months of us not really contacting each other. Nothing bad had happened between us, but a period of change had come upon us in the form of moving homes, towns, and churches. It’s easy to lose touch with someone we don’t see on a regular basis. We like to convince ourselves that the smartphones ever attached to our hands keep us connected with others. But truthfully, it becomes so much easier to give a person a passing thought (“Oh, I should text her soon.”) and then go about our days until a few months have passed and we wonder what could have happened to the time.

My friend was a bit offended that she hadn’t heard from me since the “Big Move,” and I didn’t blame her. Promises of keeping in touch and hanging out were made but not kept, as they should have been. Instead, I told myself that she was really busy moving and acclimating to a new time in her life so I should give her a little breathing room. And honestly, I had several not-always-pleasant changes going on in my life as well.

Growing Deeper in Relationships

Growing Deeper

Picture this: You’ve just met someone new and you’re really excited to get to know them and become friends. Over the next few weeks, you learn more about this person, but in small fragments. You find yourself wishing you were already close friends with this person because you can tell how wonderfully you would get along and how much you would have in common. But it just seems as if you’ll never get there.

Have you ever felt this way? I have. There’s even an unofficial word for it. John Koenig created an online dictionary of words to fill in “holes” in the English language—to give us a sense that we are not alone in some of the ways we feel and think. Koenig describes the “frustration with how long it takes to get to know someone” as adronitis. Do you feel better after hearing that a word semi-exists for this feeling? The thought calms me.

When You Just Can’t Seem to Find the Time for Relationships

young woman checking watch

Relationships are one of the greatest gifts God has given us. God has created us to be relational beings—first in a relationship with Him and then in relationship with each other. Relationships bring blessing and joy into our lives and provide us with the love and support we have been designed to need. But often we find ourselves struggling to balance deep friendships and the busyness of life. Consider these 3 practical ways to make time for relationships.

Recommend a reoccurrence.

Relationships deepen as we regularly walk through life together. A great way to do this is to set fixed times so that every week (or month) at this particular time you know you will be meeting. Ask a friend or group of friends to meet regularly with you, even if those meetings are at odd times. The scheduling may be difficult, but the payoff will be great.

Mobilize the mundane.

Use Your Strengths to Reach Others in Your Workplace

When you look around your workplace, what do you see? Or rather, whom do you see?

You probably see people with various backgrounds and personalities. Some you may identify with and others you may find quite different from you. But do you see your workplace as brimming with outreach opportunities? After all, your workplace is probably where you spend most of your time second only to your home.

So how do you build relationships with people at work? There are nuances involved in work relationships such as trust and support. The key to navigating these nuances is to know your strengths and understand others’ strengths.

Start by taking a test to determine your strengths and different aspects of your personality. Think on each of your strengths and traits and take some time to write out ways you can use your strengths to build relationships with others. You don’t have to have almost all relationship-building strengths in order to accomplish that. All you have to do is work through different nuances with your co-workers by combining your strengths with theirs.

How the Bible Tells Us to Live

The world tells me to think of myself. The Bible tells me to deny myself.

The world tells me to get angry when someone wrongs me. The Bible tells me to turn the other cheek.

The world tells me it’s OK to do this or that because everyone else does it, too. The Bible tells me to avoid the things that would bring me down and tarnish my witness to the world.

So many conflicting views are thrown our way every day, but it is our job to know what the Bible says so we can weed out the ways of the world and focus on what our walk with Jesus is meant to be. The truth of the gospel is that Jesus Christ came to earth to live a perfect life, die on the Cross, and take our place to save us from what we deserve for our imperfect lives. And while we all know that we aren’t perfect, we know that through Christ, we have forgiveness, redemption, and the freedom to live the way Jesus wants us to live.

The world we live in encourages us to be self-centered and look out for ourselves above all others. But everything about the gospel is the exact opposite of this mind-set. Let’s think on how deeply the gospel differs from what the world tells us.

Pray for the Harvest

I’ve got a question for you. When you read the following verse, what do you feel?

“Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field’” (Matt. 9:37–38).

Do you feel urgency? Do you feel responsibility? Do you feel the need to pray, pray, and pray some more?

If your answer to these questions is yes, that’s great! If your answer is no, we have a little work to do. I think I fall somewhere in between.

There’s been a theme in my life lately of God telling me to pray more. I don’t spend enough time in prayer, and when I do, it’s too often self-centered, even if that’s not my intention. What I really need to double-down on is praying for the lost. Sure, it’s easy to pray for things I’m worried about; it’s a little less but still important to me to pray for other people’s worries and fears. But how often do I think to pray for the lost? Specifically, how often do I pray for someone I personally know who is lost?

Recognizing the Humanity in Refugees

Refugee. It’s a heavy word laden with nuances in our world. There are so many types of people who fall into this category—those who are fleeing war-torn countries or persecution and those who need respite from poverty and famine.

But the meaning of the word refugee doesn’t stop there. Mention the word once in a group of people, and politics inevitably comes into the conversation. People have their opinions about the plight of refugees and what everyone should do to address it. Let’s be real, though: behind the word refugee is a human being. There’s a woman fleeing war to protect her children. There’s a man moving his family to ensure their survival during a time of famine.

Every person who becomes a refugee is a human life precious to the Lord. In the past couple of years, God has been working on my heart to ignore the political rhetoric and Facebook debates and focus only on His hurting children. If we are to live a missional lifestyle, then we must set aside societal prejudices and discover ways we can help save the lives of the people God loves.

Pages

Back to Top