myMISSION Young Professional Blog

Make an Impact for the Kingdom

As a young professional, you’re probably working hard to make ends meet. (Maybe your ends meet just fine, but that hasn’t always been the case for me.) When you work hard to earn every penny, it probably means your two most valuable resources are time and money. You have to spend 40-ish hours a week at work, so the time you have left you want to spend relaxing, hanging out with friends and family, or participating in your favorite hobbies. These can all be good, God-glorifying things. Why the pressure to invest your precious moments in other people? Because people matter to God.

A New Kind of Confidence

Exactly two years ago I joined a new small group—a “missional community.” I was somewhat uneasy jumping into the experience. I had just begun my first semester of graduate school while working a full-time job, and I was tired all the time. However, my boyfriend (my now husband . . . so this story ends well!) invited me to join this like-minded group of college students and young adults. I might not have walked into it with a humble heart, but I certainly ended with a wider, more urgent perspective.

One of the main ideas behind the group was to learn how to share our faith more effectively and hold one another accountable to do so. We met formally once a week, but challenged each other to pray together purposefully and spend at least two hours each week with the lost. While I was not totally new to some of the evangelistic tools or concepts, I was cut open freshly by the passion for the lost in my group’s prayers.

Don’t Follow Your Heart

“So, where are you going to college?”

“What’s your major?”

“What kind of job are you looking for?”

“Graduate school on your mind?”

“Are you going to marry him?”

“Where will you live?”

“So, do you have a five-year plan yet?”

I’ve been asked all of these questions—some more than a few times—over the course of the last eight years. Maybe they sound eerily familiar to you. Maybe you remember the panicky feeling clouding those questions more than the people who asked them. Maybe you’re desperate to answer a few of them right now.

I teach high school students who are just on the cusp of the top of that question list. They tend to answer questions with feelings, a follow-your-heart approach.

“I just felt at home on that college tour.”

“We have been going out for a year. I just feel like he’s the one.”

“I don’t feel important. I feel like I should be doing something different.”

The Real Needs Around Me

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9:36 NIV).

The second I opened the door to my modest, safe sedan I knew it was gone. My purse. Not just any purse—my beautiful, brown leather tote that held, in a sense, my entire life. While I was disappointed my daily “goods” were gone—extra pens, a flash drive, and my planner—I felt vulnerable knowing all of my legal identification was gone. My license, passport, Social Security card, and even my journal were all stolen.

I was in the process of getting updated cards and forms this year, so I had all of my valuable, personal information tucked away in my favorite purse.

“You should contact your credit card companies, Social Security, and report your stolen passport,” the police said. “But nine times out of ten, the person who did this was just looking for cash. The thief has probably never seen a passport before and wouldn’t know what to do with any of that information.”

I’m Right in Front of You

We had ten beautiful minutes of uninterrupted, engaging discussion, but in a matter of fateful seconds, I had lost their hard-earned attention. Before I knew it, the entire classroom of 11th-grade students had smartphones in hand and their eyes glued to the tiny, glowing screens. In a matter of seconds, I changed from the interesting, insightful, wealth of knowledge (ok, maybe just slightly interesting!) to nothing short of the lifeless metal desk beside me. Those pocket-sized vortexes held my 16-year-old students captive—more than any book I had begged them to read.

Teaching is just one of the dozen areas of my life that have been thoroughly affected—for better or for worse—by technology. I’ve been engaged in a prayer meeting for the nations when my phone rings and disrupts everyone. I’ve been in a deep discussion with a younger woman when my professor emails me an important document.

Identity Crisis

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:6–7).

During the summer of 2014, I walked the streets of Chiang Mai, Thailand, with a campus ministry. As a very recent college graduate, I was worried about the next phase of a new post-graduate life. What was I doing in the middle of Thailand? Where would I be after this summer?

One of the challenges I faced was asking complete strangers if they knew the name of Jesus. I saw the statistics. I knew Thailand was considered unreached. But surely someone on the street would recognize His name!

Not one soul I asked knew about Jesus. Surprised by the anger welling inside me, I escaped to a coffee shop to pray. Why did I know Him, but they did not?

Upon my return to the United States, I delayed my entrance to graduate school. I felt confused and guilty. I felt selfish for pursuing a goal that didn’t immediately put me back on the missions field.

All We Need

Immediately after Jesus fed the five thousand, He dismissed the crowd, gathered His disciples, and found a solitary place to pray. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus prayed alone—and often. As the Son of God, He communed faithfully and intimately with His Father. He left His devoted disciples and the masses of broken people for prayer.

If Jesus, Who is God, humbled Himself and prayed, I should probably do the same.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a “works” kind of girl. I like being busy. I could write a book (a very long book) about the amount of times I’ve neglected rest and prayer in order to spend more time working, serving, or trying to meet others’ needs.

You see, I like to believe that God needs me. I tend to enter a cycle that starts with me saying something like, “I’m too important for a break!”

Then after a week or two, I burn out. I stop caring about all my jobs and roles. What I really want—and so desperately need—is someone else to carry the load. Deep down I know it’s Him, our good Father, Who can replenish my soul . . . but I’m too afraid to talk to Him. What if He’ll be angry with me? I failed again.

My myMISSION

Missions education has played an important role in my life since I was a young girl. I was a GA, an Acteen, and an Acteens leader.

Missions education is more than having a meeting periodically. It is also more than participating in missions projects. Missions education is a specific facet of discipleship.

In order for me to be most effective in my personal witness, I need the accountability of other people. Learning about what God is doing in remote parts of the world encourages me to look for what He is doing around me. Praying together for missionaries, people groups, and other believers is a powerful way to connect with God’s larger purpose. Giving our time, talents, and resources to support missions efforts in our church, nation, and world enables us to impact the kingdom of God as part of the body of Christ instead of trying to do it on our own.

As a young adult, it is hard for me to find a missions education environment that fits me. Often I don’t feel comfortable in the missions groups of older women.

Refocus Every Day

Has God ever had to refocus your life?

When I first got married I went through a period of massive insecurity. I was more concerned about my appearance than when we were dating. The more gentle and loving my husband was, the more terrible I felt. Every mistake I made bothered me twice as much, and every good thing I did only counted half as much. I had big dreams of being an “excellent wife.” I tried, but I couldn’t seem to get it right. I berated and belittled myself for not being good enough. I pleaded for God to show me what to do.

God didn’t turn me into the excellent wife I wanted to be.

Instead, He reminded me that my identity had not changed. I am still His daughter first of all. My situation had changed, but I hadn’t changed in the most fundamental way. I was so concerned with being a good wife that I took my eyes off my real goal. With the wrong goal in sight, nothing goes right.

Missions Focus

A few years ago I went to Sochi, Russia, with a diverse team of women to help a local church with a special celebration of International Women’s Day. Nearly 100 women gathered at the church for music, crafts, games, and food. We encouraged the women of the church with our testimonies of God’s goodness and shared God’s love with women who would not normally be in a church.

In some ways the experience reminded me of my days as an Acteen®. One summer we traveled to New Orleans for an Activators trip. One of our assignments at the Baptist Friendship House was helping with an event for women in need. The small number of women who attended participated in cake decorating classes and Bible study while we took care of their children.

Another Activators trip involved leading Vacation Bible School in Chicago. I remember Backyard Bible Clubs in college and other trips, experiences, and projects throughout my life.

Pages

Back to Top