I Want to "Go Together"
I found this quote online several months ago (before I applied for my SA visa) and I have to say, it's really stuck with me. Whenever I felt frustrated by life and the fact that I'm not really in control, God would remind me that He's doing more than just sending me to South Africa. He's molding me and stretching me to be the person He needs me to be. He's drawing me closer to Him and showing me how to be more like Him.
Does this mean the waiting periods don't bother me? Or that the ups and downs of this journey don't make me want to cry/scream/laugh--hysterically all at the same time? Of course not!! I'm still human! I still get angry and stomp my foot like a 2-year-old. I still have moments where I get on my knees and ask/beg/barter for God to make it easier. I just try to remember to take those frustrations to Him and let Him guide me and redirect my heart. And I try harder to remember the promises He has already told us in Scripture that are hidden in my heart. I pull out those verses and put them to good use! And when I forget to do these things (which I often do) I go to Him, ask for forgiveness, brush myself off, and try again. It's a learning process and I'm in it for the long-haul. I see the joy and blessings that come from going far with God, rather than fast. And I want that in my life!
Honestly, my desires are NOT to go to Africa and become "the missionary"...the mythical creature you see in movies or read about in the martyrdom stories! In fact, I really dislike being compared to other missionaries To compare me to them (at least in my mind) sets a standard I have no hope of reaching on this earth - a standard of spiritual perfection. That's not my desire: perfection. Not in this world, anyways. My desires are much more basic. They're simple. My true heart's craving is to be His and remind myself daily (sometimes hourly) that I am a reflection of Him. My desire is to be stronger, more comfortable in who He made me, wiser, and so enthralled in His love that I can't live one day without hearing from Him! Or as my Dad puts it, "to know who I am and whose I am." That's it. Nothing more. That's all I'm after. It's just that the result of these desires is that I get to be a part of the story He is writing in other people's lives far away from home! I get to serve others and help make progress for His kingdom. But those are the blessings of following my desires, not the focus of them. I don't want to be a "missionary". I want to be a daughter of the King. The rest is just details.
You see, I've come to a point in my life where I realize that I can't go any farther and stay where I am. I can't continue living the comfortable life in "The Bible Belt" of the US and continue to grow deeper with Him. I have to let go of the control I have in my life and let Him lead me. And I have to follow His promptings, including leaving everyone and everything I know to go overseas. Because the only other option is to stay where I am, physically and spiritually. And in my mind, that's not an option I can live with. I've made that choice before and it's not a road I want to travel down again.
The contrast between where I am now and where I want to be is night and day. And that's why this quote spoke to me so much during this time. Because I know I have control issues in my life, and I know I put up walls and barriers to protect myself from being hurt again. But in order to let Him lead I have to let Him into those wall, past those barriers, and that means choosing not to walk this road alone. I don't want the fast route; I want the life-changing, hard-work requiring, painful route. Because I know the results will be so much better! And I'm glad to run across others who feel the same way!
"For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." - Jeremiah 29:11
"And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:19
"But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm." - Proverbs 1:33