“ And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23 (emphasis mine)
“Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11 (emphasis mine)
“As it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” Philippians 1:20 (emphasis mine)
In elementary school I read my first book, “Through the Gates of Splendor” on the life and ministry of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot who were Christian missionaries in Ecuador. My mom gave me this book and told me that it would change my life. And change it did. After I read about the death of Jim Elliot and the following ministry of Elisabeth, I knew God had called me to be a missionary as well. In the 3rd grade I gave a presentation on what I wanted to be when I grew up. Most of the students presented all the “normal” job descriptions; nurse, firefighter, teacher, doctor. I presented on three things I wanted to be: a wife, a missionary, and a mom.
It has been almost 18 years since I presented that to my classmates and the Lord hasn’t changed that calling. Granted, I am doing a lot of other things right now including owning a business, having a blog and living in a suburban area that is far from where I thought I would be living when I was in the 3rd grade, but the mission and the calling is still the same. Most of our lives look radically different than we imagined it would look like when we were children. Even five years ago, your dreams for where you would be right now might be the total opposite of what you expected. This can be disillusioning for all the women who are planners (like me), and it can be exciting for those of you who go with the flow. Either way, the place you currently are in was divinely appointed by a sovereign, loving God who has a purpose for you and for me.
The problem most of us face is a desire to live life for tomorrow. We dream about what could be five or ten years from now and we think thoughts like “I will be doing my calling when I am married…have children…have that job…move overseas…create that product…start that project…” and the list goes on and on. We miss today by living for tomorrow. However, in looking at Scripture, we see clearly that the mission and the calling is for today. We are not promised tomorrow (or even the end of today). Every single Christ-follower has the exact same mission: to know Christ and to make Him known. And that mission is for yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
And yet we struggle daily in the battle to wish for more, to be unhappy with where God has us, and to miss the daily blessing of glorifying Christ in the here and now. We get scared about making the wrong decision, paralyzed to move forward in the direction God has placed on our hearts, and consumed by the plans we or others have made for our lives. We are left direction-less, life-less, and mission-less. This is not the plan God has for us. He has a direction, a life, and a mission. We must look to the cross to find this mission!
Last year my husband and I attended the Cross Conference and were able to talk to David Sitton, founder of To Every Tribe missions. We read Sitton’s book called “Reckless Abdandon” prior to attending the conference and were incredibly encouraged by his obedience to follow Christ the ends of the earth, or Papau New Guinea. We asked him how we know we are going the right direction and how we are to get to the place God has called us to. David’s response was this: “Keep going and trust God to get you to the right place.” The mission is clear and the calling is now. We don’t have to have all the answers and we may start on a journey today that ends up somewhere completely different than we dreamed, but we can trust that as we walk, God will direct us.
A few things I have been learning about the mission of God are:
- We don’t have to have a perfect plan to start. Starting is now and is step by step. Most women I know want to have a plan before they begin something (me being one of them). I have talked to so many girls who feel called to the mission field, called to work in ministry, or called to a secular job to share Christ in that area. They don’t do anything because they want to know exactly what to do before starting. We have all been here. However, the Bible never tells us we have to have a perfect plan. Rather, it says that God has the perfect plan (Jeremiah 29:11). The Bible tells us to follow Christ and die to ourselves everyday. That’s it. And to trust Him with all our heart and He will make our paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6). Trust and obey. And watch God guide you to the right place.
- Today is one step closer to tomorrow. We can’t miss the joy of today (Psalm 118:24). Satan will do all he can with his clever tricks to try to get us to wish away today. But the mundane tasks you are doing, the school you are attending, the baby you are raising, the job you are working are all apart of the mission. Obedience doesn’t start tomorrow when you’ve reached the place you want to be, it starts today right where you are.
- Trust the One who knows the directions. He doesn’t just have a map, but He holds the whole universe in His hands.
My encouragement to you and to my own heart today is to keep going and walking with God, trusting Him to get you to the place He plans for you to be. Embrace the mission to know Jesus through what you are doing and to glorify Him through the work of your hands and the thoughts of your heart. And hold your plans and dreams loosely. God is the Master Designer, Perfect Story Writer, and Sustainer of your life. He certainly knows your life and He has a plan. Let’s step into His purpose today and seek this one thing: to glorify God while our souls have breath and to trust Him to make our paths straight.
After all, this life is so brief. Let’s not waste it worrying and waiting, let’s embrace it with praising and pursuing Jesus. Today, this day, is a gift. Thank You, Jesus, for your perfect plan.
embracing the call today,