I’ve done the missionary thing before. I’ve traveled the world for almost a year with 45+ strangers who became brothers and sisters. Individuals whom I now adore and have lasting friendships with. During that year the Lord required me to come to the end of myself daily and depend on God for finances and spiritual growth. My trust in God had reached valley levels and daring heights. So how is it that right now I feel like my experiences have taught me nothing and I’m learning these things all over again.
To many people, I’ve expressed my loves and dislikes of traveling for a year to multiple countries. One thing in particular that I’ve noted is once I was comfortable in a country and found my niche I found myself on a bus, an airplane, or a train to the next country, not knowing if I achieved everything the Lord had set out before me.
If you don’t know, I currently reside in Swaziland (it’s in Southern Africa) working for a missions organization based here. I’m doing the opposite, in many different aspects, of what I did a few years ago.
The culture that I’ve grown up in differs drastically from those around me whether American raised or Swazi-born. I am far from what is familiar to me. Doubts of my inability to help accomplish things here in Swaziland begin to seep in. The realization of my loneliness breaks through the air like fog coming down from the mountain side, blinding every good thing about my relationships here.
I feel alone.
Sinking into a self-pity party and wondering why God has brought me half-way across the world to experience the undesirable yet again. Then like a flash of light I write two simple words across my journal.
“Lord are you sure?” I ask. “I’ve denied myself so much already by coming to serve Swaziland. What else do you want?”This time I answer myself with the soft whisper of “Deny thyself.” I find myself on my knees asking God to change me from what I am to what He wants me to be.
“Less of me Father and more of You” I murmur as the tears roll down my face making smeared puddles on the slightly uneven tile.
I don’t know what the Lord has in store for me during 2017, but I do know that I need only to deny myself and follow him. For him to remove the fear and replace it with courage, faith, and trust that knows no bounds. During Lent this year I am expecting a refreshing, a renewing, and a restoring of things hidden from within me.
So I ask you the question I will be asking myself for the next 40 plus day, how can you deny yourself today?