Even though I’ve been a Christian my whole life, I’ve always felt a certain pressure to fit the cookie cutter Christian mold. Yeah I’ve made bad decisions and tried different lifestyles but I’ve always felt God calling me back to be close to Him. So I put life on hold and went on a $15,000 trip around the world to learn more about myself and to learn more about the God on the phone. After 10 months of putting other people before myself and lowering my standards of living the goal of learning has been accomplished.
I’ve learned God is gentle and loving and still very actively involved in people’s lives, including my own. He is a God that is breaking chains in Cambodia, and saving children in Swaziland from abusive homes. He is the God that is still asking people to uproot their lives and go to random villages and pray for people they don’t even know. I’ve learned that God is bigger than any box I can even dream up and He never asks us to fit into any mold, cookie cutter, or list of requirements in order to be loved by Him. Thanks to the freedom He gives us to live as He has made us I confess to you the ways this Christian missionary doesn’t seem like a missionary at all.
I Didn’t Want To Be A “Christian”
All too often being Christian means to have an invisible wall that separates us from the secular world. Not in a protective way but in a way of exclusivity. Unfortunately for some in our culture today to be religious means to be judgmental and superior. Even when I was a child and didn’t fully grasp this concept I knew it was something I wanted to avoid. Christians love to take religion and use it to fight their battles for them not remembering the Bible isn’t about fighting because the victory has already been won. God has never called us to be Christian and tell others they’re opinions are wrong; God calls us to be Christians and love. Love people through their struggles, through their pain, and through their decisions. It’s not a Christian that changes someone’s heart it’s our God.
I Can’t Speak English
Tongue twisters, switched words, broken English – I forget. I have been to 10 countries with at least 8 different languages and I’ve had to ask my teammates for multiple words while writing this blog, my brain is constantly in match-the-English-word mode. I’m 100% sure that upon my return to America I will be like the awkward homeschooled student without social skills and not nearly as educated. “What time come home?” is the typical English coming out of my jumbled brain.
I Would Rather Have Wi-Fi Than $100
Sure, I’m a poor missionary, but who needs money when you’ve got God’s provision? What I need is Wi-Fi. The ability to catch up with friends and family at a time when they’re actually awake and have a speedy response: priceless. Wi-Fi is world race gold. I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around the fact that if you are reading this from America right now you have multiple forms of Internet all around you; phone, computer, iPod, 4G, 3G, you name it. That just blows my mind. During an hour of time spent on foreign interwebs you can do what American interwebs allows in 10 minutes. I’m telling ya…Gold.
I’ve Never Preached the Gospel
I’ve stood on the soil of 14 countries, served the people of 10, and spoke at countless churches in the past year but none of those times have I presented the gospel word for word. I’ve shown what it means to love Jesus in my actions, I’ve hugged a million kids who needed a hug, and I’ve shared the story God has given me all over the world and that is just as powerful. The best part of life is that sharing all this is an added bonus. God didn’t create us to change the world, He created us because He loves us and only wants to spoil us. All God asks us to do is show up the rest is a gift we can give back to Him.
I Don’t Like Reading The Bible
Long words I have to look up the meaning of, names I can’t pronounce, and geography I’ve never studied is the Bible at a glance. The Bible has some of the coolest stories I’ve ever known and I’ve been blessed enough to have it my entire life but that doesn’t make it any easier to read. Studying the Bible, talking about it, or even teaching it is more entertaining than sitting quietly and reading yourself to sleep. As annoying as it may be this is why the Lord wants us to live in community!
I’m Not A Sinner
I sin daily. I sin and fail the Lord but He never fails me. I will never be perfect and no matter how hard I try to do God’s will as long as I am on Earth I will be human and make mistakes. I may call myself a sinner and admit to having sin but God never labels me so. Living under the grace of God means I have assurance and can only learn to give myself the same grace He gives me.
I Can Sleep Anywhere
Buses, planes, floors, tents, roosters crowing, Cambodian wedding music, Bollywood bus parties, people sitting on me, sitting on people, you name it I’ve been there. It does help when you’re exhausted by 7 p.m. but the only thing better than Internet on the race is sleep. Thank you Jesus for making me a good sleeper! There’s also no way I’ll ever complain about an America road trip ever again – a whole seat to myself?!