Monday, March 07, 2011

What it means to be a missionary.

The road we travel will take us into the battle to restore beauty in all things, chief among them, the hearts of those we know. We grow in glory so that we might assist others in doing so; we give our glory to increase theirs. In order to fulfill the purpose of our Journey, we will meed a passion to increase glory; we will need love.
~The Sacred Romance p 158



Today was the day after tests, so all the teachers were handing back tests. Which means I don't have to go to class. I sat at my desk all day instead. Which gave me lots of free time to read some more John Eldridge and ponder love and the meaning of life. I even fit in a couple of naps at my desk.

The quote above really struck me today. John Eldridge talks a lot about the need to reclaim our hearts. We need to live from our hearts, for that is from where love flows. And that is where Christ and the Spirit reside as well. The heart is central. This is his main theme of all his books. It is of the greatest importance to live from the heart, out of communion with God. We are children of God, and therefore share in His glory. A glory bestowed upon us to reflect Him. Fear and confusion don't glorify God. Life filled with love does.

If you look at the highlighted part of the quote, you'll find what grabbed my heart today. "chief among them the hearts of those we know." In a battle to restore beauty to the world, in a battle to gain back memories of Eden, the most important places are in the hearts of those we know. Stop for a moment. Put faces to this. Who do you know? I know lots of people. And I love many of those. These are the people God desires beauty for. God desires for their hearts to be healed and redeemed. Suddenly this is much more real than distant theology. This is so much less abstract than "evangelism" or "missions." This is important. These people, these faces, they are important to you. They are more important to God. And God wants to use you to help heal them.

....

....

I can barely wrap my mind around this. God loves me. Therefore He wants to heal my broken heart. He wants to set me free from fear and cowering. And He wants to cover me in glory. So I can share Life with others. Not nameless, faceless others. Others I know. Others I love.

Among these others is a member of the band I listen to, Mako. He's the drummer, but he also does solo work. He wrote a song called "Arigato" (Thank You). This song has been haunting me for several years now. This was the song I requested played when I left the VYM missionary program 2 years ago. It's a song expressing unsaid thanks to a person close to you. The person who is always there, always supporting you. The person whose tears can bring to life the dying flower in your desert heart. The Life-giver.

The reason I chose the song when I left was two-fold. I wanted to thank the people who had helped shape my time in Japan for all they had done for me (although since the song was in Japanese, I'm not sure that feeling was properly conveyed.) And secondly, and the reason why the song haunts me, is because that is the person I wanted to be. A life-giver. Someone who is always present, giving and supporting. And my heart ached when I heard the accusation that I could never be that. I wasn't good enough. It was too far of a goal. It was beyond me.

And this is why I could never really be a "good missionary." I had no life to give. My own heart was a cracked desert with a dying flower.

But today my heart heard Hope. That is not my destiny. It is not what God desires for me. God created me to be a life-giver. It echoed so loudly in my heart because of the truth it held. I don't know what a "good missionary" looks like. But I do know this: as a child of God, I have been given a glory of my own. I am no longer bound by crippling fear. I am no longer left suffering in the desert. I am free to be a woman who gives life. I can stop striving and manipulating and fearing, and in my newly filled and rested heart, I can give. The very thought fills me with courage and peace.

I think now of all those I love. Those who are fellow Children of God, who are struggling with their still wounded hearts. Those who don't know God, and pretend like they aren't wounded at all. Right now those who don't know God are so many. I can't convert them. I can't suddenly make them understand God or their need for God. But I can be life-giving. I can be unashamed of my Glory, and be at peace, and bring a little piece of Life to them. Where they can rest. God is always with me. And even when I fail, He will sustain me.

And it's OK for me to love them, and dream for them. And it's OK for me to accept glory from God.

It's so easy for me to become overcome with fears. Fears that I'm not good enough, I don't please God. I haven't produced enough fruit. The other quote from today is this:

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.
-Romans 8:6

Any "word" or suggestion that brings discouragement, condemnation, accussation - that is not from God. Neither is confusion, nor any counsel that would lead you to disobey what you do know....the voice of God is never condemning (Rom 8:1) never harsh or accusing. His conviction brings a desire for repentance. Satan's accusation kills our hearts. (2 Cor 7:10)
-Waking the Dead, 105-6
There have been some things I've been debating in my heart recently. What am I allowed to do as a Daughter of God? But thanks to the things I have been reading lately, my heart has arrived at a place of peace. I don't know if I have everything figured out just yet. But it's OK. As long as I keep seeking God, He will never abandon me, even if I'm a little off course. So I'm free to Live.
I'm free to Love. I'm free to Dance and I'm free to Sing. (yeah, I'm stealing from Ginny Owens now...)

Hope has become my friend instead of a tormentor. I no longer fear disappointment. (for myself, or God's disappointment in me.) And just a little, I've started to become a Life-giver instead of a Life-sucker.

I'd say today was a rather productive day for having no work to do. :-D

1 comment:

Cindy's World said...

Beautiful!