Though I am still in college and learning about what it means to be a minister, I believe that I am already a minister, although this was not always the case. I often tell the story of how God called me when I was five years old to be a missionary. Because I knew my call at such a young age, my childhood was filled with a constant yearning to just get “there”. A yearning to get to the place where all the pieces would fall into place, and I’d be the wise, skilled, passionate missionary woman for God that I always imagined I’d be. I just had to get through each day and make it to that “one day”, that “one age” of my life, where everything would change.
For years I begged my parents to let me go on a mission trip, and every time they would say no for one reason or another. When they finally said yes to Brazil, it was too late for me to go. Two times the opportunity to go to Haiti fell through. At times, I harbored bitterness toward them because I felt that they were holding me back from the calling on my life, that is until God clearly showed me that there was a reason why I was not being allowed to go yet. The summer before my senior year, I went on my first mission trip to the Dominican Republic. And it was disappointing. My hope was that it would confirm that missions work was my calling, but it didn’t. It more so discouraged me and made me want to run fast and hard from that kind of life. I felt incapable and disheartened, and most certainly confused. Still, I held on to what I still hoped to be my calling.
A lot of the things that God was trying to teach me in my youth were missed because I was just trying to make it through until I could grow up and get out on the mission field. I imagined it almost as some sort of switch that would be turned on as soon as I turned 20. This is not to say that I was completely uninvolved, but I was not as keenly aware of the mission field that was all around me. For, I thought my time to really serve the Lord would come later when I was finally fulfilling the call he put on my life.
More and more God has revealed to me how skewed and incomplete that outlook on life is. The call on my life does not have a deployment date. The call has always been for now. Every experience, conversation, joy, sorrow, relationship, opportunity, and lesson learned connects to who God has made me to be. One story that has reinforced this for me is the Disney Princess, Moana. Her entire life she had a yearning to go past the reef into the wide open ocean, but she was never allowed to go because it was dangerous. She felt stuck on that Island, for the ocean was calling her and she couldn’t follow. Finally, circumstances allow her to sail across the ocean to pick up a demi-god to save her Island. When the demi-god deserts her because he’s afraid, Moana has a divine revelation. This call that she has felt her whole life is not something she has to go out and find, the call is inside of her.
Just stick with me for a moment. I am not saying that all of the power, courage, and strength I need for life comes from myself. I am saying that I have been chasing, waiting, and looking for something that has been with me the whole time. God placed this call inside of me. He didn’t place it off in some distant place in time. He created me for a purpose. The same purpose that is inside of us all. We were made to glorify him, and he hand-crafted me to glorify him in a way that is unique to the gifts and passions he has given me. Those are not birthed in a moment. They are molded, carved, and forged throughout my entire life.
A quote from Oswald Chambers that I love says “one life wholly devoted to God is of more value than one hundred lives simply awakened by His Spirit”. I don’t want to live a life sleeping until I feel ready, until it’s time to wake up, and be that person I always dreamed I would be. I don’t want to be simply awakened by His Spirit. Every day of my life should be wholly devoted to God. The time is now. It always has been and always should be. I am a minister now. I am a missionary now. Right where I am, God has called me to live radically and fully awake to the divine appointments he places in my life every day.
What has God called you to? Are you standing still because you’re not “ready”? Well, stop. If we wait until we’re ready for the things God calls us to do, we will never do anything at all. If he called you, and he has, then he will equip you for your mission. So get up, and be courageous, and live radically now, not later.