Missionary Satisfaction: My Desires or God’s Glory? (Guest Post)

Note:  this post is written by a missionary who is revealing her heart and struggle between pleasing God and a sense of fulfillment.

My husband and I participated in a missions conference at a supporting church earlier this year.  Since I am a missionary in transition, getting help for some family needs, seeking where the Lord might want us to serve next, frequently I was asked the question at the conference Are you doing okay?  Are you coping emotionally with not being where your heart is?

Are You Doing Okay?

God has been so good to us these past months, helping our children to grow in a nurturing school, enabling them to thrive.  My husband has found a useful role for his gifts.

The wise, sensitive questioners continued to ask What about you? How are you doing?  I explained that my only strong emotion to the original idea of staying back in the US at this time was relief for my family’s needs and at not having to shoulder the responsibility of trying to meet these needs overseas.

Frustration on the Mission Field

But then I had to get down to the basics for myself:  I hadn’t felt fulfilled or satisfied on the field for several years and had reached a point of deep frustration over the lack of outlet for my skills and gifts, for me the essence of who I am.  Being in the US has felt a bit like having the same problems, but in a much more comfortable environment and without the pressure to fit into the “effective missionary” mold that has just not seemed to be the right size for me.

God is Faithful to Convict of Sin

As I listened to missionary statesman Paul Borthwick speak at the conference, I was touched in two ways by God.  First, as he encouraged us to pray, ‘Lord, how do you want to use my skills for your glory?’ I was convicted of the sin of focusing on myself in the midst of my life supposedly dedicated to the Lord.

I’ve been praying, ‘Lord, give me something to do with my skills here where You’ve placed me’, and forgetting that the point is His glory, not my busyness or my satisfaction in the role I play and the job I do.

Is God Doing Anything?

Second, I realized that a large part of what kept me from frustration with the lack of a role or an outlet to use my skills when we first arrived on the field was a sense of being part of a larger whole,something that God was doing as He planted His church among unreached people groups around the world.

“I was convicted of the sin of focusing

on myself in the midst of my life

supposedly dedicated to the Lord.”

Twelve years on a difficult mission field can take their toll on one’s vision and perspective.  I’ve not seen His church planted in any humanly significant way.  I’ve not seen many lives transformed by the presence of Jesus and the truth of His Gospel.  And so, I’ve begun to doubt whether the establishment of His Kingdom, especially there, especially now, will happen.

Will Jesus build His church such that the gates of Hell won’t seem to be prevailing against it on a regular basis?  And if He’s not there at work, do I have any reason to be satisfied in a role and a task that I’ve learned for me is more frustrating than fulfilling, more day-to-day grind than joyful anticipation of what I get to do each day?

Serving the Savior With Joy

Have I started to believe that having a job I love would be better than serving a Savior who loves me?  Please, let it not be!  I pray that the One who created me as I am will provide a way to serve that glorifies Him and that I can anticipate with joy.

“I’ve begun to doubt

whether the establishment

of His Kingdom…will happen.”

So, where do I go from here?  For me, it’s back, as always, to Isaiah 30:15:  “In repentance and rest is your salvation;  in quietness and trust is your strength.”

Repenting of Selfishness and Choosing to Rest

Father, I repent of my dual sins of desiring my satisfaction before Your glory and forgetting Your promise that the work is Yours.  I’m just resting in You now, awaiting the strength that comes from Your Holy Spirit’s work of trust and quietness in my soul.

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2 Comments on “Missionary Satisfaction: My Desires or God’s Glory? (Guest Post)”

  1. Anitra Carbo Says:

    Wow, so where I am right now. Thank you for the encouragement & I have made Isaiah 30:15 my wallpaper on my cell phone Lock screen. 🙂

    Reply

  2. Brian Stankich Says:

    Anitra, I’m glad the honesty and vulnerability this missionary shares speaks to you.

    Brian

    Reply

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