I am about one month into my Forge residency. I came into this experience completely open to whatever God wanted to do through it. I really had no agenda or expected goals. God had lined up the right people at the right time for me to dive into the residency and see what would happen.
After my first month I feel God stirring in me and teaching me how to be a missionary in a sustainable way. I am a task-oriented person. I like lists of things I can check off. When I have enough checks on my list I can sleep well at night. This goes completely against what a calling of a missionary is. A missionary is called to love people. The second your list becomes a list of names you have missed the point of what it is to love people.
The first few weeks I was fired up. I was meeting my neighbors, talking to people when I was out shopping or getting lunch. I had my “missionary goggles” on 24/7. I quickly realized that I was exhausted. I thought, “God, how is this sustainable? I can’t keep going like this. I am an introvert! Why can’t I stay in my home studio and write songs for your church?!” Songs fit on my list. I can check off a song. I know when I am done with a song. Relationships are never done.
I have preached to my church for two years that the people in our lives who are far from God cannot become projects. They are people with souls. People that Jesus loves. I quickly forgot what I had been preaching for the past two years. The second I decided to be “really missional” I lost sight of people as humans with a soul and saw them as an opportunity to make myself feel better. Make myself feel better? WHAT?!
My missional motivation quickly became my object of worship. If I connected with enough unbelievers through out the week I felt like I was better than other Christians and God loved me more. If I didn’t connect with anyone I felt worthless and that God was disappointed with me. I am ashamed to say that, but it was true! I was quickly becoming a Pharisee.
God, in his mercy, has shown me this dark part of my heart and led me to repentance. I don’t have it figured out yet, not even close. All I know is that I don’t want to be “missional.” I want to follow Jesus and be used by him to spread his good news. I pray that God starts to show me how to develop natural rhythms that allow me to always have my “missionary goggles” on 24/7 in a way that is genuine and pleasing to Him.
In our cluster gathering this past weekend someone said Jesus wasn’t missional or intentional rather, he was led by the Holy Spirit. So stinkin’ simple when said. Harder to do. I pray that I can be led more and more by the Holy Spirit. I know that it will be hard and a sacrifice, but I pray I can do it out of joy, not out of me trying to earn God’s grace. Please continue to pray for all of us as we let God continue to mold us and shape us more and more into his image.