I have to admit something to you.....I feel extremely blessed. Now, don't roll your eyes and move to the next post. This is going to help YOU. How can my being blessed help you? I'm glad you asked :)
Over the course of the past several weeks I have come up against an opposition I know far too well...
You see, in the world of fitness and weight loss, there are those who "get it" and do the work related to the results, only to be hated by those who haven't quite gotten there yet. I was the hater, then I became the hated. That same opposition crosses over to many other sides of life it seems....even purpose and ministry.
Last Summer, I wrote down 2 words in my prayer journal that would completely and utterly change the very fabric and course of my life: USE ME. Two seemingly simple words meant to imply that I was wandering around the globe feeling useless. I wrote them again and again in my journal. My prayer to be used began to take shape into an obsession to find out how God wanted to use me. I woke at 4 a.m. every morning to immerse myself in God's Word and find my use. I still do, honestly. Is it convenient? NO, but God doesn't factor in convenience when He is building character...
Over a few months my 2 words began to show up in my daily readings and devotionals. When I say I got obsessed, I am not joking. I was reading my Bible daily and compounded that with daily readings in the concordance as well as Christian Living Books and MP3 downloads of sermons and Bible studies. With all that going on you would think I would have little time for anything else! God makes a way though. I signed up for a writers conference, totally thinking I was going to pitch a book (and, in essence, make millions....). God ordained a different plan.
The conference did not settle with me so well. Was it the actual conference? I don't think so. I think God had to steer me. And honey, He has to take the bull-headed by the horns when it comes to me! While wandering the halls looking for a class (amongst the unfriendly conference goers...in my mind) I met a nice man named Tom Davis. I had actually signed up for his class, Writing from your Passion. I mean, if God was calling me to be a millionaire writer I had better have passion for it! At any rate, in the class he mentioned Children's Hope Chest Ministries very briefly. I could not shake that from my mind.... I guess I have an obsessive personality.
Well, the rest is history in the making and you can always flip through previous posts to see how I ended up across the globe and bitten by the missionary bug. For now, I want to turn the focus back to the here and now. God called me to a specific ministry: sex trafficking and human exploitation. It's about as pretty as it sounds people. The thing is, most people meet this with an almost disgusted look. OK, I will admit that I kind of dig it secretly. I mean, what better conversational piece than "What do you do?"...."Oh, I travel the globe teaching self defense to victims of sex trafficking and human exploitation." NOW, the really cool part comes after that! "That's...interesting. Why do you do it?"....ahem "Because God told me too and I have been called to obey." Door, opened.
The weird part is that I actually get a much warmer response from strangers and professed non-Christians than I do in my own space. Why? Heck if I know! All I really know is that I have a choice here: I can choose to get all down in the dumps, OR I can obey. It has been my experience that I save myself trouble and heartache when I obey promptly. So what's the deal with the Christians in my circle? Well, what I do can be viewed as weird I suppose. OK, I don't suppose, I know it. Do you know how I know it? Because I wrestled with God about it. When He laid it on my heart to use the very thing He had put inside my passionate little innards....I wanted to QUIT. I was mad that He would call me to do something so out of the box. I had kind of hoped He would call me to do something everybody could get on board with you know? Yeah, I have issues, you should know that by now. I wanted human validation!!!! What a waste of time...
If it's not simply the fact that my calling is a bit weird (by the way, embrace the weird!!!), then I am met with an anger about the fact that I know my calling. The phrase "Ugh, I wish THAT would happen to me..." slips from many lips. I'm thinking, "Really?!?! You do? Cause I'm going to Africa....which is where a lot of people pray they don't get sent right?" :) Why did I receive my calling when others are still left wondering? OK, so you know I don't know everything.....sorry to burst that bubble.....but I do have some insight here:
- I wrestled for my calling. I wanted to be used by God so badly that I couldn't get enough of HIM! That should ultimately be our goal right? I had this ache to find what I was supposed to be working for, eating for, breathing for.....and I SEARCHED for it. I did the work required.
- I let go of some things that I was holding on to. My prayer was, and still is, very simple....Lord, please show me the things that are getting in the way of my work for You. If it comes between me and You, OR has the potential to, help me weed it out of my life. If we are holding on to things that are between us and our calling, we'll never see it!
- I opened myself up to the new. You know, when I first spoke with Wil at Hope Chest I told him directly, "I don't do well with babies, but if that's where God wants me, let's go." All I knew about CHC was that they partnered with orphanages. God, fortunately, knew more.
- I prayed..... These were not short and sweet prayers. I wept most days just fighting to see why I was here. When most of your life is spent thinking you shouldn't be here, you can get a little dramatic when you realize you should! I couldn't get it off my mind and I wouldn't let foolish thoughts invade that space. I kept a journal (still do) so I could monitor my thoughts and prayers. I wanted to know, I had to know, I fought to know.