I’ve been taking some time away from the blogging world for a little bit, because, honestly, I became exhausted. I needed a break while determining next steps. About six weeks ago, I began the process of exploring the possibility of going on the mission field. In a few short weeks, I will be out of America and serving overseas, and I’m incredibly excited about what the Lord will do during my time abroad. But the process has been anything but easy. There is a peace, yes, about next steps, but there has also been a lot of emotional work to get there.
Two and a half years ago, when I came back from Kenya, I struggled adjusting to American life. The time I spent there with Jesus was so precious, that every experience in the States seemed shallow in comparison. I wrestled with anger. I was angry at consumerism and greed and the selfishness that permeates our life here in America. It was so hard to adjust, that when the Lord put missions on my heart again, I thought, i could never do that. it’s too dang hard.
But the longing never went away. I have this undeniable wanderlust that seems to follow me everywhere. If you’ve been following the blog for a little while, you can probably tell that by the amount I travel. But there’s also this deep longing in my heart for service. For getting my hands dirty and telling people about Jesus and telling people about his goodness. Missions seemed like the perfect fit for these quirks, but I still told myself it was for other people, not me. Maybe I was caught up in a guilt trap (i have done ___ so i’m not good enough to go serve Jesus, to go on the field). Maybe I was fearful of the outcome (if i join the field, what if i’m lonely? what happens if I get depressed again?) Maybe I was disobedient (God I know you want this of me, but it’s just not how i pictured my life). Probably all three.
On my graduation day, I cried myself to sleep because something, or a lot of things, didn’t seem to fit. The longing Jesus laid on my heart were being pushed to the side for a path that I thought I wanted. Honestly, I convinced myself that this calling on my life would just go away. That God would understand if I didn’t follow Him. Because I thought that I had something better in mind.
My own selfishness, distrust, and fear were swallowing me whole. And on the day I received my degree, I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t keep pushing God away. I couldn’t keep saying “No” to this urge to go on the mission field. And it was extremely confusing, because the path I was on didn’t look wrong. It was good and safe and conventional, and that’s more than okay. It made sense.
But my mentor told me, “God doesn’t call us to play it safe.” And with a lump in my throat, I turned towards Jesus with open hands, and asked Him what He wants with my future. It’s a humbling place to be, at the foot of the cross with absolutely nothing left to give. Rejecting your own dreams in blind faith for a God that you cannot see. I saw my weakness, my selfishness, my pride. And have been wrestling with those things for the past month and a half, as I prayed about opportunities on the mission field.
When I received my assignment, I still felt scared, but for the first time in a LONG time, I felt peace. Because following Jesus brings joy. It’s as simple as that. Following Jesus doesn’t always make sense, or feel “right” because we have absolutely no idea what He is doing. Following Jesus is oftentimes scary, especially when we hold onto our dreams, our plans with a death grip. Following Jesus might feel a lot like failure. But it’s holy. There’s peace, even in the wrestling. Even in the uncertainty.
I wanted to be honest with you all about why I’ve been inactive for a few weeks, what I’ve been wrestling with. I’ve been confronting some giants head on: anxiety, fear, loneliness, control, pride. I would never talk about joining the missions field or say any of this to insinuate that I’m better, holier, or more in tune with Jesus. I’m imperfect and have so many flaws. But I’m really tired of putting my own desires before the Lord, and telling Him how I want my life to be. It’s exhausting to live your life for yourself, rejecting your Creator. It’s so unfulfilling.
Life with Jesus isn’t about wrapping everything up with a pretty bow. Most of the time, faith is messy and imperfect, but it’s still beautiful. So I’m adventuring. Seeking the “great perhaps” and venturing out in this next season because it’s where Jesus is leading me next. And it’s still hard. I still wrestle. I still want to plan every detail of my life because it makes me feel safe. But we don’t serve a God who asks us to play it safe. And there’s beauty and joy in the midst of this mess.