When you move across the world as a missionary, you can’t help but hold onto dreams and hopes for what the next years will look like. For me, I dreamt of little brown faces smiling from ear to ear. Sweet faces who were playing, being kids, or dreaming really big things for themselves. I imagined myself praying for the masses, people being healed, and the South Sudanese coming to know God like never before. It is good to dream and hope for big things, but it can certainly can be a sobering moment when you start living life on the mission field and it is simply that…just living life.
I had all of these romantic ideas of what it is to be a missionary living in Africa. I confess: not only did society seem to put me on a “super-Christian pedestal”, but I did it to myself as well. After the moving here, God so graciously knocked me off of my pedestal and straight on my rump. I felt so little and then ashamed of the disgusting nature of my sin. But, I am so grateful it happened. I didn’t even realize that I was unknowingly accepting His glory and making my “self-glory pedestal” taller.
As God graciously moved me out of the way so He could receive all of the glory, and for me to allow Him to work in and through my life, I realized two things.
First, God brought me here to be with me before anything else, including ministry. He removed my entire world just to be with me. That is the God I love and serve; one who will go to extravagant lengths to pursue me, draw me away, and call me to Himself.
Second, I was always a missionary. It didn't start the day Every Village called to officially offer me a spot on the team. It didn’t even begin on the day I walked away from my life in America, covered in tears, to board a plane flying to Africa. We are all called to make disciples right where we are – meaning in our jobs, our homes, our families, our neighbors, etc. Discipleship also includes the way I am living my life. In America, my life looked different in many ways, but really it is the same: just Tianna living life.
I have a choice to live life as a missionary everywhere I go. Or not.
I have the choice to be the fragrance of Christ – loving people, selflessly serving, bearing in much patience, and giving myself loads of grace. Or not.
I have the choice to walk with Jesus daily, ask for His guidance, and be present in the life He has called me too. Or…not.
Regardless of where I live or what title the world has given me, I will stand on this truth. I am His.