Thursday, February 10, 2011


Almost three years ago, I quit my job, raised support and left all of my "world" behind to go to Europe for three months.  The "mission" was to travel to Youth with a Mission bases across the continent and do some teaching and praying for base leaders.

Even before I left for this trip, I was struggling, though I didn't realize just how deeply until much later.  The three months in Europe were perhaps some of the hardest months of my life.  The issues I was struggling with before I left, I took right with me....leaving was not the answer.  In fact, in my opinion, it very rarely IS the answer, though many people seek a change in circumstance when what we really need is a change in our hearts.

Before I left, I was confident that this trip was the "next step" in my calling.  How right I was, but how different it looked from what I thought.

I thought that this time in Europe would offer me opportunities to teach.  This was and continues to be my "sweet spot" in ministry.  I had visions and hopes of being able to do this while I was there.

Not only did I get to do VERY little of this, in the other roles I had on the team I often felt the "least" member of the team.  I regularly wondered "what am I doing here?" or felt that just about any other person from our body could be there doing what I was doing.  I can hardly remember a more lonely time, or a time I felt more insignificant than I did during those three months.  I got to practice multiple times a day forgiveness of others (especially members of the team), dying to my own needs and serving almost 24-hours a day.

By the end of the trip, I was absolutely shattered.  Well, I was shattered even before I left, and I came back in absolute pieces.  I was tired from three months of non-stop praying, traveling, continual serving, living out of my suitcase, and eating really bad food. All of this was compounded by the fact that I was still dealing with every issue that had been brewing even before I left.

During the last week of the trip, I finally lost it.  I was offended at a team member and I simultaneously was dealing with the realization that not only did I not get to do any of what I thought I was going abroad to do, I had actually felt as though what I WAS doing there was not good enough.  I remember crying in another team member's room after he kindly told me that we probably couldn't pray if I was struggling.

I remember saying to him at that moment that I needed to learn that "scraping gum off of chairs" was good enough for  me if it meant that Kingdom work was being done."  I really meant it at the time.  It was a hard lesson to learn: here I was on the other side of the world doing ministry that looked nothing like I had hoped it would be, yet victories were being tallied....I should have been thrilled.

To this day I feel like this is a lesson I am continually learning.  How do I be content sitting on the sidelines as long as Jesus is winning?  How do I care more about the kingdom and the King receiving glory than getting any glory myself?  How do I learn to put the 'team's' needs above my own?  How do I put the Lord in the center of my heart instead of myself?

This is a lesson I am stil to this day learning.  Because, just when I think I have it down, something will come along and knock me off of the throne in my own heart and the pain of it shakes me awake and makes me realize just where I've placed myself.  It is a humbling thing to realize that you've once again taken the King's place in your own heart.

This is where I find myself today....realizing just how easy it is to let selfish ambition and personal promotion and "my" calling take over my life. 

Oh, Lord, that I would get to the place of needing nothing else but YOU glorified in my life.


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