“I can’t do this! I’m not brave enough to be a missionary!”
It was Field Health class, and we were talking about things that make us stressed and how to cope with stress. Our teacher said, “I’m going to put some pictures up on the screen, and if any of them make you feel stressed, I want you to take a step towards the opposite wall.” So, we started off with some pictures of heights…not too bad, right? I was feeling pretty good – heights do scare me, but the pictures of climbing along jungle cliffs with only a vine rope didn’t really stress me too much.
Then, she put a picture of a snake on the screen (I think it was an anaconda or python or one of those of the squeezing variety….not that it makes a difference!). Guess where I headed? Yup, for the opposite wall, as fast as I could (with my eyes closed). That’s when that thought went through my head – “I can’t do this! I’m not brave enough…” I guess that was the first time I’d really realized that going to the other side of the planet to share God’s truth with unreached tribal people in their heart language was going to involve snakes…and spiders…and many other things that I was not a fan of. Gulp. Is it too late to back out of this? I mean, I’m willing to cross an ocean, learn an unwritten language, and even eat strange foods…but be willing to encounter snakes?! That’s asking too much.
That’s not the only time during this training that I’ve felt helpless, scared, and totally inadequate.
- Grammar class – 15 phrases from a tribal language stare me in the face, I’m supposed to dissect the verbs and figure out what each syllable means and how all the parts fit together, the clock is ticking, and everyone else in class has it figured out, except me. “God, are you sure you want to use me? I’m not smart enough to be a missionary!”
- Missionary Technology class – trying to wire circuits for an Alternating Current system, and I can’t even figure out how to use the screwdriver. “I’m not talented enough…!”
- Romans class – we’re discussing how to teach Romans 12-14 to new believers, and I don’t even know how to answer the questions they’re asking (like, “what does it mean to be a living sacrifice?”). “God, you can’t use me! I’m not spiritual enough to be a missionary!”
Yes, the tools I’m learning in training are excellent, but the thing I’ve learned the most is how not-enough I am for this task. It is a God-sized job. I can study and train til the cows come home, but only God has the supernatural power it will take for me to learn another language, build relationships with people from a totally different culture, share God’s truth in their heart language, and see lives transformed by the power of the Gospel. Am I working my hardest? You bet. Do I have what it takes to be a missionary? Not by a long shot. Can God use this jar of clay to show off His amazing power? Absolutely. Thanks for praying for me as I’m on this incredible journey of watching God transform lives – starting with my own.