It's become clear to me that I saw my occupation-location-situation as the pivot point of my life. Throughout school they ask, "so what do you want to be when you grow up? where do you want to live someday?" These questions seemed to be the end-all in and of themselves. Nobody asked me, "what kind of friend do you want to be when you grow up?" This is the more the important question.
My former conception of "my path" was a combination of my work, base of operations (aka location of residence), circumstances for opportunity, and activities of fun service filling up the space around these. These are indeed a significant part of life - but they are more the stage than the actual story unfolding upon it. No, these are not the end-all and they are not the ultimate goal to determine and aim for.
Realizing this reduced my stress level greatly regarding the possibility of missions. For me, missions stood as a way to flee to a more "godly" God-centered life. But why can I not have such godliness right here? Where might I find the new pivot point for my life?
After spending a weekend in the word, filled with a feast of faithful teaching from the Bible, I faced another crazy Monday at work. But what was different from last week was that when I was tempted to growl hopelessly and defensively at people, that I found my heart and mind drawn back in to balance with truth, comfort, and hope from the Lord. Without that, my emotions would have been tugged away to fall in various directions - messy, frustrating, and unchecked.
Wednesday night, I was up much of the night wringing out towels around my window as the rain dripped-dripped-dripped in through a leak in the frame. Thursday night, I got the towels in place, but it seemed that I just couldn't keep them wrung out quickly enough before they spilled water onto the floor. Taking my parents' advice, I placed a storage tub beneath the window and left it be, hoping that it would be able to catch all the falling water so I could sleep. All in place, I sat and watched the water drip in. The tub collected it all quite dutifully and faithfully. I collapsed to sleep and as I lay there listening to the dripping, I thought to myself - what a difference! I could be running back and forth with towels, focused on the leak and afraid to ruin my nice storage tub; but in putting the container in place, I find that it indeed holds - and holds all and more than I need it to! How like the Savior. While I worry myself with endless dripping troubles, I could welcome the Savior to stand and carry me, collecting all those troubles and ruling over them so I can rest. He is great enough to bear it, no matter the weight - so let the drips come. Drip, drip, drip - I will leave each drop in the Lord's hands and I will rest in the Savior.
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
No, my pivot point is Christ. My refreshment is the word (Bible) and body of Christ (other true Christians). My goal is the advancement of the kingdom of Christ. My joy is the joy of my brethren and the delight of my God. My heart is set on preparing the church (myself, my brothers and sisters, those who will be called) for our Bridegroom's return. These are the center - God is the center. So I will fill my time with activities to further this - Bible studies, prayer, Bible reading, worship, service, evangelism, etc. And when I've been filled on these and done the good work that God has prepared for me and enabled me to do, I will go where He wills. May He be the center and may all of my life (my speech, my thoughts, my actions, my desires) look to Him. May He be glorified and may I rejoice in His salvation!
Lord-willing, I plan to apply for missions soon after speaking with one of the elders here at church. In an email that he sent to me, he addressed himself as "you brother." Sometimes I end emails with "Your sister in Christ," but only when I write to ladies my own age who are believers. I never use this closing address to older, more mature Christians, let alone elders or pastors. I seem to think of them differently from those who are like me - my own age and gender. But in Christ, we who believe are all siblings. We have one central focus, one pivot point, and that is what unites us to one another - not our age, gender, job, personality, or marital status. "...you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all." Colossians 3:9-12
one body and
one Spirit, just as you were called in
one hope of your calling;
one God and Father of all,
who is above all,
and through all,
and in you all.