Scenario 1: I lived my life getting a corporate job and taking out thousands in student loans to be responsible and keep afloat in a state way too expensive to live in. I never fit into the office culture and neither does anyone else. Everyone was pretending to be someone they weren’t and my bosses never respected my personal life or me. These were all my plans (good intentions often produce bad results) and they didn’t work.
Scenario 2: (God intentions always produce good results!) However, I went on a mission and realized that the job I thought I was supposed to take had more than enough time to finish my contract and it got so complicated that I couldn’t work there. That the ministry I was supposed to do didn’t start for a year and a half. That it still won’t be starting until (who can really be sure) the end of the month. There was also another personal disappointment lately that I thought I was called for the last 15 months that fell through. Something I honestly would have just moved away from and put out of my mind had I thought it wasn’t from God. I’m worried I can’t hear the Lord’s voice and grieving that more than the situation. These were all God’s plans (or so I thought) and they didn’t work either.
So when do we give up? He says that His burden is light but we’re running a race. He says that He’ll fight our battles but we need to endure. Did I totally miss my calling? Did I miss His voice? I’m sure if there was some message He wanted me to convey, He’d let me know. Where the heart is willing He will prevail…
I keep recounting every single sin…wasn’t I obedient? Was there some resentment there that I needed to forgive that’s hindering His voice? Didn’t I try to change countries, jobs, homes, and give up a ton of my possessions? And what have I done? Nothing. Was I supposed to do more? This is a trap from the accuser. Guilt and condemnation do not come from the Lord.
I keep racking my brain over the decisions that I have and haven’t made over the last year and a half. I know I haven’t been perfect but am I being too hard on myself? I already know that our plans don’t work and we shouldn’t be boasting about them, but I thought I quit all that.
When do we keep fighting for a square peg in a round hole and when do we give up? I wish I had the answer.
You have to remember that in what we see as present failure is future success. His successes aren’t like our successes as we are commanded not to conform to this world. How many apostles were kicked off islands, out of countries, and run out of towns because there messages were rejected? That sucks and I know it isn’t encouraging. If I want encouragement I read I and II Peter. Frankly Acts keeps it a little too real for me when I’m in a discouraged mood LOL. Acts is wonderful but we are told to read different scripture at different times by the Spirit for a reason. Back to them getting kicked off islands – they were probably like, this sucks! I came with no sandals, no food, I’m just over here trying to minister the Word, and they’re chasing after me yelling at me in different languages. Why would God put me here? This isn’t doing any good! This is nonsense and actually I’ve made things worse. I can’t speak for others, but there has to have been a point they felt like that; if not daily.
I know you’re all running off to become missionaries right now. It’s really, really glamourous.
I have shoes and food and I live in a nice neighborhood and I eat food I buy daily from supermarkets with angry people cutting in front of me and in another language; but a supermarket nonetheless. I teach people that I truly enjoy teaching and have other countless blessings. I can’t complain. Apostle life is hard, friends. I’m really glad I’m not one of the original 12!
So when I’m thinking about, what the heck am I doing here and why aren’t You using me if I’m willing and the food sucks and I can’t hear Your voice and I’ve failed…I’ll just remember that maybe whatever it is I’m doing here will have a ripple effect and in 2000 years someone will have benefitted from it.