That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the Living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:10
All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. Proverbs 14:23
Man oh man. Life has been cuh-razy on a whole other level. I leave the house at 6:30 each morning and usually get home anywhere from 8-10 each evening. Woohoo life!
I'm loving my job (I get to advocate for orphaned children every day, say whaat?!), and I am loving Austin and the new friends I have made and the old ones with whom I have re-connected.... I'm not gonna lie though, it has been nothing short of a challenge to figure out this life tango. I 100% believe that we are all missionaries. I believe that God has a beautiful, unique way to use each of us right here, right now, right where we are. I believe that He can use me in incredible ways as a working 22 year-old, in Austin, Texas.
What I am realizing though is that life on mission is definitely a task! You might be a natural at it and can take it easy and have relationships just fall into your lap. If so, this does not apply to you...but for me, even as a moderate extrovert I am finding that it takes some serious WORK to live on mission. It takes effort to set up time for coffee, dinner dates, service, community, and of course the absolute necessary time set-aside for self-care and intimacy with Jesus. Throw in full-time work and 5 o'clock rush-hour traffic and there are just not enough hours in the day people! I now truly understand why people are deprived of sleep!
Okay so I'm not saying everyone's lives should be crazy if you're living for Jesus. I definitely believe you must care for yourself in order to care for others and the amount of that self-care varies for each person. However, I do believe there is a slight problem with disobedience in our culture. I've seen it and I've been a part of it. The reaction to busyness is that you paralyze yourself and don't do anything at all or you allow the crazies of life to get you super-duper overwhelmed and stressed. I, of course, lean towards the latter. With all the craziness, I still managed to find time to worry about the timeline of my life. I found myself asking God - how long will I be here do you think? Do you want me to go to seminary or stay here? When should I commission for the field? And of course - when are ya gonna bring that guy so I can stop worrying about all that stuff? So here I am with all my questions wanting to know tomorrow TODAY.
Okay quick detour in regards to the last point...I met with the sweetest student missionary who just finished her two-year term with the International Mission Board and this topic got brought up. She was like "Girl, I want to tell you a story. My sweet friend felt God calling her to a 2-year missions project on the field right out of college. However, she was so worried that if she left she wouldn't ever find her husband so she decided not to go. Well...she didn't end up getting married until she was 39. My other friend obediently served 2 years in the Middle East. While there, she found her husband, an amazing and attractive Christian man on the field. In the Middle East! She was completely covered, all you could see were her eyes!!" Haha, I loved these stories. What a reminder. Ladies - God has got this. We need to focus on being obedient now, within our singleness.
So I'm driving home one day (Praise God for KLOVE and Spirit 105.9 with all the time I spend in my car)
and Casting Crowns' new song comes on:
From where You're standing Lord, You see a grand design.
That You imagined when You breathed me into life,
And all the chaos comes together in Your hands like a masterpiece of Your picture perfect plan.
When I'm lost in the mystery to you my future is a memory,
Cause You're already there, You're already there,
Standing at the end of my life, waiting on the other side and
You're already there, You're already there!
My goodness what a reminder! This life is not my own and this place is not my home - and the reason I live this life on mission is ultimately to love others in Jesus' Name and to bring Him glory. Scripture commands us to work in excellence and to work hard - because being a Christian is not easy! Not just with the spiritual warfare that goes on as Satan attacks strong believers, but because it does take WORK to truly love others and live a life on mission for the Gospel of God. If you do not feel like you are working hard - then it is probably something you need to evaluate. The Holy Spirit desires to use you and He will instill a desire in you to go in whatever direction God wants you to go, but it will take work and it might not be "convenient" or "easy" or "comfortable" but it is what we are to do in obedience.
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16
A lot of times on my break I just want to surf the internet and tune life out - but my goodness how much more fruitful are the times that I am intentional with other co-workers during that time. When I talk about myself you bet Jesus is coming up. If your co-workers don't know you are a Christian, you might want to consider why that is. Jesus is my identity, my Father, my best friend, my most amazing lover - you bet He comes up. If a relationship, a hobby, or a recent drama comes up - why wouldn't Jesus? You're not making people uncomfortable, you're telling your own story - and if you're a believer, your story should include Jesus.
Okay as a disclaimer, I don't want this to come off sounding like you need to do A, B, and C to be a good Christian. If it's coming across like I mean it that way then I apologize. What I DO mean is that when you are spending time with the Lord and in a intimate relationship with the Lord throughout the day - A, B, and C will happen. Jesus equips if we allow Him to. When we surrender to the Holy Spirit the outcome is not just us doing our own thing and living a life of ease and total comfort. When we surrender to the Spirit there will be a life FULL of work and relationships and worship and hardship and frustration and absolute joy! It might seem sort of messy at times, but ultimately when it is all out of obedience to the Spirit of God and to the mission of spreading the Gospel - the Lord will most definitely be pleased.
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than
for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the
inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.