May 10, 2017

Confessions of tweenage missionaries

Jon and I are in our mid 40's but in our lives as missionaries, we are about to turn 12. So for all practical purposes, we are tweenage missionaries (shake head and nod in agreement). We've been around the "missionary circut" long enough to have been overcome with pride in different areas. This is not something we're proud of (oh the irony!) but certainly something the Lord has dealt with us about. Pride is a silent killer so we are glad that he has lopped off branches, cut out bitter roots and reminded us who is the potter (Him) and who is the clay (us).

We've been awkard (and probably always will be), inept, ignorant and at times completely ineffective in almost every way.

We've been self-deceived, self-absorbed and self-righteous. Super ugly confessions from pimply-faced, voice cracking us.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I'm not sure which, I have been become very guarded about what I communicate (photos & writing) about our missionary life for multiple reasons:

1) The people that we have the privilege to learn and grow with/beside/alongside are just that: people. They are not projects or presentations or performances, and when I post things about them, even with the best intentions about accountability, stewardship, inspiration and/or encouraging the body, I can inadvertently convey that they are all the things that they are not. I hope you can hear my heart in this. I used to share with passionate vigor about all the people and places and "projects" and . . . . . one day I was overcome with such conviction from the Lord that it has been hard for me to find the line between sharing this missionary life with so many who take part in it through support, encouragement, etc. to protecting the people who I have so passionately and with wild abandon shared about in the past.  Does any of this make sense? Please tell me it does.

 2) We are not  missionary circus monkeys (ok, well, maybe sometimes) and I don't mean that in an offensive, rogue, free-lancey way. We are absolutely accountable to God who called us to share Him here, to those churches and individuals that sent and continue to support us in our sentness. We do need to share stories of redemption, restoration, kingdom building, hope, salvation and edification of the body. These stories are personal, raw and very real, and they represent God moving in the life of a person(s), and that person is not a production. However, I don't want to withhold news about God's goodness either. Such a delicate balance that can be tainted by the need for validation, funding, resources, significance, etc. I'm not going to lie, yall. This issue has plagued me for the past couple of years.

I am confessing these things to you because I deeply desire to be refreshed by the Lord in this area. I deeply desire to honor relationships, both here and there, and to be wise in what I put before others so as to neither hurt nor hide.

Here is what I know:

  • The Lord has called me to be His, first and foremost, and TO DO LESS, which seems counter-cultural, especially having been "sent" as a missionary - shouldn't that mean we are DOING and DOING MORE? Well, yes, but the doing is less important (yet easier to demonstrate to others in a video/slideshow, etc.) than the being - in Christ, in communion, in study and fellowship, in worship of Him.
  • The Lord has asked me to be slow and intentional in a world that craves insta-everything. I see facebook posts and insta's and selfie's and I just want to jump on in (and I'm not saying those things are wrong in and of themselves) but my heart is wickedly deceptive.  If I am not plugged into God completely, if He is not the author and the source, then I am quick to do a me dance and that's not good for anyone.
  • He has challenged me to pray about everything I put forth about our lives and the people around us in a way that is authentic, honoring and transparent.
  • He has asked me to expose my thinking about all of this before you because I have been relatively silent and still out of fear. Perhaps fear of judgement, fear of rejection, fear of criticism, fear of failure, etc. And fear's got no place up in here unless it is fear of the Lord. 
So there you go, friends. If you read this, will you please pray for the Lord to give us wisdom and freedom in this area? We WANT to share with you, and we WANT you to be encouraged.

4 comments :

  1. Rachel LanouetteMay 10, 2017 at 1:28 PM

    This is beautiful, Rachel! Thank you for your vulnerability. Praying for y'all now!

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  2. Number 1 absolutely makes sense. I wrote about it once - about how easy it is to accidentally exploit our friends in the name of our "mission." I could talk about this at length! I wrote about it once: https://tattooedmissionary.wordpress.com/2015/09/14/heres-the-thing-about-her/

    During my first year or so here I struggled with not doing enough. "Lord, I was doing so much more for you in Ohio than I'm doing here!" I told Him, like He's not sovereign. But the only thing we have to do is to do what God's asked of us. We don't know what He's asked of other people, we just do what He's asked us to do. We are only accountable to Him. (Girl, preaching to myself and hoping to encourage you.)

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