I am a full-time missionary; but I wasn’t always one. To serve full-time in the mission field was possibly the hardest decision I have ever made in my life.
You must be wondering why I would be writing about reasons to not go on mission trips when I am in the field. I suppose you could say these were my reasons for not going on mission trips before I dove in audaciously.
So, here are five reasons why I think you shouldn’t go on mission trips.
If you are afraid to witness firsthand what God is doing in the world
I was afraid. I was afraid that God would show me what He was doing in the world; and worst, even use me and invite me to join in His work because I felt not qualified to be that person He could employ for His purposes. I was lugging with me a massive baggage of insecurity that paralyzed me from taking a step of faith in obedience to Him.
When God first called me to go to missions, I literally ignored the whole idea of it. For a couple of years, I was able to avoid acknowledging the burden I had felt and successfully managed to pay no attention to its existence. Until I could no longer pretend that it’s not there. It was becoming awfully heavy to carry.
If you don’t want to look foolish
Fear of making a mistake was the pervading thought in my mind. I didn’t want to look unwise to the world. I was too fearful of enacting a misstep and looking utterly reckless about what I knew, in the back of my mind, God was telling me to do; I didn’t take a step forward.
The problem is, as a Christian and by declaring Jesus as my Lord and Savior, the world already deems me nonsensical. To them, I have a ludicrous belief and a misguided faith in Someone. Yet, in that instance, I still chose to be afraid of looking like an idiot to the world in exchange for being in the center of God’s will.
I had somehow simply opted to overlook the fact that being in the center of His will is the best place anyone could offer me. I should have taken it and grabbed it in maximum speed without any hesitation.
If you think God is too small
I would never readily admit that God is small. But even if I didn’t profess it, this unuttered belief was apparent in the way I had lived. Closely associated to my feelings of insecurity, I had somehow acknowledged that God was not bigger than my lack of qualifying attributes.
Pride, essentially, masquerading itself as humility; I had allowed myself to conclude that God could not use me because of how inadequate I had felt.
But God is bigger than my feelings, my abilities, or my circumstances. He is larger and greater than everything in this world combined. Yes, I am inadequate but He is more than sufficient to fill my lack. I could never completely fathom the depths of His thoughts, the extent of His desires for me, or the power of His love to work through me for His glory not in spite of my weakness but because of it. It took me awhile to see this truth and to unreservedly embrace it.
If you think God can’t do what He says He can do
I believe in God. It took me awhile to believe Him.
It was easier for me to grasp the undeniable existence of God who is above all. But it was much harder to wholly believe Him — to believe that He cared for me or that He loved me, to believe that He can do what He says He can do, much less do it for me, like deliver me from my enemies or provide for my needs.
I surmise the heart of this issue was my lack of trust in Him. This became so evident when I had felt the desire to go to China — my first mission trip. I was racked with worry and doubt particularly with finances. How was I supposed to raise thousands of dollars? Where was I expected to get the money?
Yet, when I obeyed Him, He not only gave me what I needed but gave me beyond the required amount.
He prompted so many people to give; some without even telling them anything. In one of the many awe-inspiring stories that emerged out of this time, a friend gave me all of her first salary. I cried — out of overwhelming gratitude to this beautiful person and out of pain for not believing God.
As Beth Moore once said, “God doesn’t at all mind proving His own people wrong to prove His Word right.” He proved me wrong that day and splintered into pieces my flawed beliefs.
And finally, if you think your comfort is more important than obedience to God
When God called me to go to missions, I was blossoming as a teacher in a relatively new school. I was in love with my work, my students, and the people I had work with. I was comfortable; it was difficult for me to see beyond that comfort. I thought, “What else could be better than this?” “Why would I unlatch an offbeat chapter in my life and march on an unfamiliar terrain?”
God,then, unexpectedly but powerfully showed up demonstrating to me that what He has prepared will surpass what my mind could conceive on its own. The God of the universe has set a plan specifically for me. What could be more superior than that? My comfort was a small price to pay compared to His best.
Yet His best should not even be my motivating point, but obedience to Him. When I disobey Him, I dishonor Him and grieve Him. Shouldn’t saddening Him upset me greatly? It should, for He is the most important person in my life.
These faulty reasons still pop up from time to time in my journey as the King’s daughter even though I am already in the mission field. Needless to say, missionaries are not immune to attacks of doubts and fears. But instead of choosing to retreat, I pray to God to give me the tenacity to push forward in whatever He asks of me. I say this to encourage you; it’s not impossible to conquer crippling arguments of “benefits” to not heeding God. You can be victorious over them.
While I don’t believe that everyone is called to be missionaries to other countries (That’s an article for the next time. There is so much to be said about this topic.), I consider all Christians to be missionaries within their spheres of influence. So these grounds for not going to the mission field could easily be applied to wherever you are currently in your walk with Jesus no matter your geographical location.
I pray that we desire to obey Him with everything we have, to join Him in the work He is doing around us, and to choose to share Him when opportunities arise.
This is God’s heartbeat — for His people to follow His lead.
Let His love be our fuel in pursuing to serve others and in sharing the Gospel.
September 23, 2014