A few years ago, I went on an eleven-month long mission trip.
I think I’ve mentioned it before. It was a really difficult experience for me. One that I’m still not sure I can see purpose in. It was a few weeks before leaving for the Race that I realized I no longer wanted to do it. My heart was not in it anymore and I was backpedaling. Fast. But I really felt that the Lord was calling me to the Race. It was just an option He was laying before me. He was inviting me, beckoning me to join Him on this particular journey. So…I launched. Strictly out of obedience. And I stayed out of obedience.
I had several raw, honest conversations with the Lord during that eleven month period and remember praying every day that He help me see Him in some way that I wouldn’t be able to if I were at home. I’m still not sure that He really did that, but I do know that He let me see myself in some ways that I wouldn’t have if I were at home.
And it was not a pretty sight.
One of the things I saw was that I like to serve. …but I like to serve on my own terms. When schedules change and communication is lacking, I get frustrated. When it’s hot and humid and sticky and I am hot and sweaty and stinky, I get grumpy. When I don’t see the point in what I’m doing, I become indifferent. When I know where I am but my sending organization has no clue, I get angry. These (among others) are things that I saw in myself as the Lord led me along the Race but, to be honest, I kinda just left it at that.
It wasn’t until Scott and I went on our first Kaleidoscope trip to Ghana that I began to try and sift through the emotions and engage the Lord in conversations about why I only like to serve on my own terms. That Ghana trip was a year-and-a-half ago. I’m not really much further in my understanding of the selfishness that is within me, but I do know that I am making progress.
Because I’m in Cambodia right now and all I really, truly want to do is serve as I can while I’m here. Yes, I still don’t enjoy being hot, sweaty and stinky or not really knowing what my day is going to look like (though, we have a much better idea of our days here than I did most of my time on the Race), but those things aren’t negating my desire to serve. I still want to in spite of them. Five years ago, I might have helped but I would not have served. There’s a heart component to serving in any ministry capacity, I think. And I am finally beginning to see some of it in my heart.