I'll certainly be the first to admit that I have much in my life to be thankful for - a wonderful family, material possessions, and most of all a Savior who loves me. I promise I realize my life is so incredibly blessed beyond what I deserve.
While I don't want anyone to perceive me as ungrateful, the truth is that I am. Having done mission work in the past, I'm in love with the idea of going to Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. I've never been on an international mission trip, but I have traveled out of the state on mission for Jesus.
At least the idea of the trip centered around working for Jesus. I'm starting to think that mission trips, like running and triathlon training, are addictive ventures - once I went on one, I'm constantly looking for my next trip. I want to serve God, and in my head I think it needs to be done in the form of a well-organized, church sponsored travel to a different city/state/country.
My church went to Guatemala, but Jay didn't feel comfortable with me traveling out of the country without him. Trips to Cleveland and New York came and went without me. I sought out the information but it just never worked out. Then came Montana.
Jay even said he thought this trip would be an effective one (to reach out to an Indian reservation) and my parents offered to cover the costs. Last night at church, our missions director took my email address and passed it along to the pastor (from another church) leading this trip.
Once again plans aren't going to work out for me to go.
My disappointment with it all caused me to stop and question my motives. If God doesn't want me to travel to Montana "for Him," who am I to argue? Apparently I'm a girl who prefers going to doing.
I've known for some time I'm called to be a missionary in my every-day life. Missional living some call it. Sounds lofty and more important than regular-ordinary living, but in my head is a fancy title for people not committed enough to serve God on foreign mission fields. Rather they just want to check off their "missions" box and pretend they are a missionary in life.
Upon further review, I was dead wrong.
Why do I run from missional living and run to going a mission trip? Because a week long mission trip is easier than 50 years of being a missionary to my unbelieving husband. Because I have another 22 years (Lord willing and the retirement qualifications don't change) with my coworkers - plenty of time for them to see I'm a big, fat, failure. Because I want to be the "cool" aunt, and I haven't found a way to reconcile it with godmother duties.
Mission trips are easier. Of course anyone who's slept on an air mattress in a church Sunday school room or taken a week's worth of showers in a high school gym might beg to differ. I did at first. I sweated my rear off on a Memphis roof removing/replacing shingles one hot July summer. I washed the clothes for people displaced by Hurricane Katrina. I provided meals and supplies for the homeless of the neighboring big city.
In each of those situations I gave of myself, but I also go back. I sat under a shade tree and listened to people tell their stories of seeking shelter in the Super Dome (only they referred to it as "the Hell Dome"). I received the hugs and thanks from the elderly woman who could now access her house via the ramp we had built for her.
What do I get in return from missional living? Sure - sometimes I get a "thank you for dinner baby" but I also sometimes get "I thought you said you swept? More like swiped!" (My reaction to this comment was not my finest moment this weekend.)
Living for Christ is hard. But it'll be easier when I decide to accept my call and put away the pouty pants.
How do you live for God by doing the ordinary?