At the stoplight, my arms fall into my lap. I lay my head on the steering wheel. Tears well up.
This is after my fourth fundraising appointment of the day.
This level of emotional and spiritual exhaustion is new. I can’t stop thinking about where I’ll be living in a year.
Will I know the language, or will I carry a beginner’s language book around because I didn’t practice hard enough before I left? Will I have any friends? Can I expect my community be welcoming? My missionary team will be small, so it’s important I make a good first impression.
“If I can’t be successful, I shouldn’t be going,” I tell myself.
So I continue to beat myself over the head with ways I might fail, surrounded by reminders of how high the stakes are. My stomach continues to twist into knots about the future of my life in missions and my “calling.”
I struggle to remember the last time I read my Bible earnestly, spent time sitting with Father God in the knowns of His character and the unknowns of my life. What was it like waking up without the pressure to prove my worth as an investment to the mission field? I search for that unbridled joy I felt about going.
How did I get here?
This stoplight, holding steady red in front of me, now represents my own unwillingness to hand over control of my future – or at least, imagined control.
God’s brought me to a stop right in my tracks, through anxiety and frantic attempts to manage the future.
I’m not growing closer to God, hiding in him. I’m hiding from him. Why am I taking my problems far from the only One who has the power to provide resolution and peace?
The short answer: I didn’t trust him. My grip remained strong on the steering wheel of my own life.
I didn’t trust Him to equip me. I didn’t trust that His power was enough for me to step out empty-handed and still honor Him.
My mind was set on trying to do the work alone, hoping that it would honor Him. I wanted to be enough on my own, not wishing to burden God with the work of helping me through support appointments, Bible studies, coffee-shop meetings, and phone calls.
I hadn’t realized God wants to be invited into my fear of loneliness, anxiety about my family, health concerns, everything: not just invited into my success, but invited into the ugly.
God has always been all in.
“Dear God, please Make Me Successful”
Months ago, I found myself at that stoplight, a physical and metaphorical crossroads, desperate for God to make me a successful missionary.
In all the hustle and bustle of preparing and launching, I had forgotten to abide in Him. I had forgotten to look to Him as the source of my comfort, hope, and purpose.
It is all too easy, in my experience, to worship the calling God gave me, rather than the God who gave me the calling.
So reader, when you find yourself spinning circles, nauseous or confused, directionless, rudderless, the wind knocked out of you – remember your anointing, and who bestowed it.
You’ve been saved and extended the privilege to let others know the same salvation. Abiding in God is the only way to live well and redeemed, missionary or not.
If this is you, frenetic like me, it is so good God is revealing these hard truths to both of u before we reach the field.
But live prayerfully, live with him, so these head-on-the-steering-wheel times–these red-light moments–won’t sway you.
If you’ve been called, you will be equipped.
Kaycee has served all over Asia and has a deep appreciation for other cultures. Her fondest memory is having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich picnic along the Silk Road.