If you’ve been following this blog from day 1, you’ll remember that I started with saying, “I don’t like the term missionary”.
Now – this has NOTHING to do with the term itself and what it means and everything to do with what happens in Average Joe’s mind when he hears the term.
African Sahara. Long skirts and out of fashion clothing combinations. Polaroids and stories from the jungle. Saving the world, twenty orphans at a time while climbing a mountain and translating the Bible into a new language in between sharing the gospel home to home.
A separate category of Christian.
A varsity player on the Jesus team.
Instead…I quote it ALL the time, what Charles Spurgeon said – “You are either a missionary or an impostor.”
I seek to encourage people that there is not a “better” or “higher level” of loving Jesus and loving others.
And then last year, 2015, I struggled internally and didn’t tell people.
I’m here to confess that I apparently was operating from the exact same mindset I set against.
I isolated myself. I judged myself on ridiculously high standards of how little I was “out in the community” when my role changed. I counted NONE of the management of the Breathe Center or leading teams or pouring into young adults or creating opportunities for local young leaders as a win or productive or building into something.
Because God is good and redeeming spaces INCLUDING my heart and mind, 2016 has been a year of breaking chains and growing and perspective and learning – but like all growth, this is not 0 – 100 in a week. It is a slow process filled with rabbit trails and intertwined issues and topics.
And you know what the root here is? It’s thinking, even subconsciously, that there are Varsity and Junior Varsity players in this game. This game being this eternal story played out in front of us that we are purposed for and invited to be involved in and fully alive in. It is believing that if I am not Katie Davis (Kisses From Katie, it’s a book that at least half of y’all have read I’m pretty sure) and adopting 12+ girls while also cooking rice and beans for hundreds on the daily and ending every day with miles walked in the dust of the country I love and live in….then I have been demoted. I am JV. I still believed that we are all missionaries or importers – thus, throwing out the separation of “missionary” from “accountant in Cleveland”, but I let the culture tell me that there are levels and gold stars in this missionary life.
Y’all – This is the EXACT thing I fight against American friends and family of mine thinking. And I have operated from it subconsciously! Of course – harder on self than the very advice I give.
Here’s how crazy it is. My role is developing and deepening as Director of Compassion Corp. Before 2017 even starts, the program size has doubled (from 3 to 7) and there are BIG plans for the future. This is happening at the same time as we deepen in urban initiatives in Pennsylvania, where we want to plug Compassion Corp in as well. We have students at Great Commission Bible Institute in Sebring, Florida. My role is more and more pouring into young leaders. Even in Haiti, my capacity is limited and so my life on life is with a few local young leaders and not much past that now in my typical day to day. That’s a dope stuff that God has clearly created my personality, passions, and giftings for.
And the crazy part is (a paragraph later…) I have subconsciously been so hard on my self. Ignoring the good and judging what I am not doing. Comparing 2016 to 2013 and ranking myself as “B Team” because my life has transitioned into new roles instead of moto rides and sitting in a wicker chair watching life go on around me. I ignored the hundreds of team members coming through Breathe Center in Bercy per year, the beautiful relationships with community members and the leaders I am pouring into, the projects and improvements of the Breathe Center, the records broken each year with Compassion Corp as it grows (and digs deeper) each year. Also, the place hasn’t burnt down or anything like that. Oh – and this is all in two languages. And so on – you get the point. All of it missed.
You know what this has held me back from? Developing as a leader into where I have been placed. Celebrating wins all over. Intentionally influencing culture and environment where I AM instead of judging where I am not. Diving in to increasing the potential and awesomeness of where God has stitched me to be. Celebrating who I am instead of being harsh on where and what I am not. Thriving instead of surviving and struggling to get a peek over the fence of the lush, green grass I swear I can see on the other side.
I have not even mentioned how this keeps me from missing the point: Jesus. The patterns of my mind being submitted more and more over the years to the Spirit to be renewed. The fruits I am learning, even if through circumstances I don’t always want to be in, like joy and faithfulness and self control. The reality that my Bible is becoming “home” more and more over time than any place that people I love and do life with live. The realization of what little emphasis I put on love when 1 Corinthians 13 is clear it is everything, and then learning with Him on what in the world to do with that truth. Young leaders falling in love with Jesus. Young leaders inviting other young leaders to fall in love with Jesus. Lost sheep coming to join the 99 after YEARS and many people throwing their hands in the air, the classic, “it’s hopeless, I give up” move. And then, ON TOP OF JESUS, He has given me a beautiful and active purpose in the midst of being so fully alive.
There are no JV followers of Jesus.
We need to start straight saying NO to subconscious “rankings”.
This doesn’t get to hold us back, unintentionally judge others, create expectations, think less of ourselves, make excuses, and create weird invisible lines anymore in our global family.
Also….this ONCE AGAIN puts us back into chains and slavery. IT IS NOT WORKS. This is a faith by works mentality!
Whew. One again, I once was blind – but now I see.