God, Please Don’t Make Me Move to Africa
I never said that to God, but I wanted to. I was too afraid that the voodoo-like quality I’d ascribed to Him would activate and He would either make my husband move me to a place with automatic leprosy, or He’d haunt me with guilt and make me feel like a “backslider” for not “answering the call,” for the rest of my life.
Much of my Christian walk has been spent being half-in and the root of that has usually been fear. I was afraid that in God’s supernatural kingdom, surrender would only mean suffering.
If I really allow myself to be close to God, He’s going to test me tomorrow with full on boils.
I used to feel very uncomfortable around “missions” people. You know, the people who move to third-world countries for Jesus or who run mission teams at church or people who try to get you to think about going on missions trips. I avoided these people because I had the idea that they’d either pressure me to do something I don’t want to do, or look at me and see me as a bad Christian for not wanting to be on a mission that wasn’t meant for me.
My fear was so thick, that I subconsciously avoided listening to God. My voice dominated our conversations and I got pretty good at distracting myself from this problem with hobbies and goals and YouTube video voyages.
About three years ago, our friends Jake and Anna were visiting and Anna said something that stuck with me. I was sharing some of these Africa-related fears with her (Africa representing anything big God would have me do that seems scary or uncomfortable). She said,“Guilt and fear are not from God. You’re His daughter. If He wants you to move to Africa, you’re going to want to move to Africa.”
I don’t know why I’ve always had the idea that living for God meant kicking and screaming my way through a miserable life. Paul wasn’t miserable as he was stoned and beaten for God. It hurt, but it was all joy.
I want that.
These days, instead of looking to avoid missions that might make me miserable, I’m pursuing missions that move me with joy. It’s pretty amazing. Releasing this fear has given me actual joy about actual opportunities that some people (including me) think are “scary.”
The reality that joy comes even with discomfort in God’s Kingdom has finally clicked. Not everyone is called to Africa. But, every Christian is called to live out the great commission...in whatever way and place God gives them. I could have so easily shrouded my life with joy-stealing distractions forever, because I’m a coward. I am so thankful that God gave me the grace to lower my defensive stance just long enough to hear His voice and be moved to act.
Thank you, Jesus.
So far, no boils.