Before I even jump into this next blog post, I’d like to quickly open up with a little disclaimer.
(What I am about to say is not to throw myself a pity party, nor is it to make you guys feel bad for me. It’s to share the real “ins and outs” of my brain when it comes to being a girl in ministry. My heart’s desire has always been to be real and vulnerable with you all… so here it goes.)
Last year in South Africa, I was living in a flat with one of my very close friends and two days after my arrival, we hit the ground running with “mission work.” Saying that I was “busy” last year would’ve been a huge understatement. This year, I am living alone and I have yet to find my “niche.” I came to South Africa with a ministry plan, but so far nothing has really worked out. You’d think that I’d be used to that by now because of the way God is constantly flipping my life upside down…
Well, surprise, I’m not.
I have always struggled with “being still” because I used to think it was a waste of time—and it made me feel guilty. (I know, ridiculous.) It takes everything in me to sit still on my couch for longer than 5 minutes at a time, unless of course I am eating or binge-watching Netflix. I hate feeling like I am doing nothing of value and I hate feeling like I am wasting my time. I’d much rather be on the move in some way or another. You name it, I’ll do it. But ask me to sit still in a quiet room for longer than 5 minutes… and I just may lose my mind.
So far (during these 2.5 months) I’ve been writing frequent blog posts, I’ve been playing football for Maties three days a week, I’ve been attending STOP meetings, I’ve been writing and filming spoken words, and I’ve been building some great relationships with new friends and ministry partners. But none of that feels like it’s “enough.” Which is making me wonder, “Enough for who, Sam?” For me? For God? For my donors? For my church? For my friends? For social media?
You guys should know this by now, but incase you are new to reading my blogs there are two things that you should know about me: My two biggest struggles are “performing to earn love” and “people pleasing.” Whew, glad I got that out. The struggles are real. I must say though, God has made me very aware of these struggles and He’s been helping me to overcome them every single day. His patience and grace constantly overwhelm me, but the struggles are still very real.
It’s special to know that I am loved by an incredible God Who accepts me for who I am. When He tells me that I don’t need to do anything to earn or keep my salvation, I believe Him. When He tells me that He will never abandon me and that nothing will ever be able to separate me from His love, I believe Him. But when it comes to my relationships with people… that’s an entirely different story. There are days when my faith is overcome by the fears that I will get rejected if I don’t accomplish enough, that I will get judged if I don’t fit into a proper mold, and that I will get cast aside if I don’t live up to the expectations of others.
I think those fears are valid.
So why am I telling you this? Honestly, I am telling you this because you’re “my people.” I know (without hesitation) that I can say, “Hey, my people, I need help. I am feeling alone. I am feeling vulnerable and insecure, and I need a little extra love this week. Please say a few extra prayers for me.”
And I know you’ll do it.
Because that’s how love works.
We stick together, no matter how rough and tough things get.
God has been teaching me that truth and honesty, especially in regards to the hard stuff that none of us like to talk about, are crucial when it comes to doing life with one another. Being honest about our weaknesses, flaws, and failures helps to glue us together as a family. It puts us all on the “same level.” I am not better than anyone reading this blog, nor am I worse than anyone reading this blog. I may make different mistakes than you, but we are all equal in the eyes of the God who decided that we were worthy of unconditional love and eternal redemption. Ba-bam.
If I am not honest about my struggles or my shortcomings over here in South Africa, then the next girl who decides that she wants to become a missionary might feel too inadequate or unqualified to take the leap of faith. I don’t want that. I want her and everyone else to see that “perfection” isn’t a requirement when it comes to living a life of love and following hard after Jesus. He has already taken care of the perfection part. We are only responsible for the availability part.
So there it is. I know this season of my life has it’s purpose, and I know it’s necessary for my growth, but as I journey with the Lord during this strange time of “stillness,” I’d really love some prayer. Mostly prayer to make the most out of this time, to embrace it with all that I am, and to make God’s priorities… my priorities.
Oh, and above all else, please pray that I will love at all times and in every circumstance (because there’s no better ministry than that)!
Your Friendly Neighborhood Missionary,