So maybe it won’t be a blockbuster hit with Tom Cruise, it was MY blockbuster hit this summer: A supersonic journey disguised as a mission trip. The mission: redefine my comfort and joy. The method: musical chairs. Seriously… Going on a mission trip is like playing musical chairs. God systematically removed all of my comforts until there is only one place I was comfortable: in His presence-desperate and dependent.
Three chairs of comfort, God removed:
Familiarity – They say that “familiarity breeds contempt.” But it also breeds comfort. This trip proved that I am a creature of habit. Even with the occasional adventure or switch up in my routine, I usually go the same places, do the same things, hang with the same people. There was nothing familiar about Baranquilla. The schedule challenged me. The language challenged me. Going door-to-door evangelizing challenged me. Kicking familiarity out from under me was fertile soil for me to grow. What became more important to the mission was, “What are the people with whom I am sharing Christ familiar with?” What will help me reach them? What are the universal truths/experiences between all mankind that will open their heart to the gospel?
Vanity – When I get ready at home in the morning, I think: What will look good? What will hide my flaws? How do I cover that flat spot in the back of my hair? Do those shoes really match my skirt? When I was getting ready in Colombia, I asked just one question: What will be cool? (Temperature-wise not fashionable!) If it was cotton, I wore it. If it took the hair off of my neck, I used it. If the shoes would keep my feet covered while walking through sewage, the cute sandals stayed at the hotel. And while I grimaced when I saw pictures of myself hot, sweaty and melting, the memories of the marking moments I experienced has hopefully put the death nail in my pride. The world opens up wide with potential when you don’t care how you look to others- a lesson deeper than cosmetics and clothing!
Clarity – “Go with the flow.” Josh Yarbrough from E3 had been telling us this for months. I think I had tuned it out. Yeah, Yeah, go with the flow, but what can we be working on? Preparing? The answer was, “nothing.” Okay, take away my routine, take away my make-up but don’t mess with my ability to plan! God must’ve really been laughing when Roberto asked me (under the opening worship on Sunday-our first day there) to preach a 40-minute sermon because an evangelist didn’t show up! It set the tone of the whole trip. Every morning we woke up not completely knowing what we would do that day. At lunch we would have to touch base to see if anything had changed. Whatever they needed us to do, we did.
When you’re on a mission trip, you just DO, you don’t CHOOSE. But if you are willing to submit to the process you will find the best place is not the place of choice but the place where His voice meets our reply; “Yes, Lord.”
To quote Jake and Ellwood, we’re all on a mission from God- every day- wherever we are. Which seats of comfort are keeping you from being in the perfect place of His presence? What could you accomplish for the Kingdom if God could move you anywhere?