**This post was originally posted to the Women’s Life Blog July 21, 2016.
The “M” word. Growing up in Ohio that meant The School up in North Michigan. But now that letter, that phrase, the “M” word has taken on a whole new meaning. You see, I left in June for a place I’d never been to do something I’ve been longing to do for quite some time. I’m in a country where approximately 99.7% of the population is lost, and I hope to get to share the best news in the whole world with them. But I can’t tell anybody “why” I’m here. I’m just traveling, a student, I like other cultures and want to experience this one and learn the language.
The title I’ve been training for over the past three years at Southeastern is no longer a word allowed in my vocabulary. Not even my Christian friends here can know my reason for being in the country. I got to the Pittsburgh airport and small talk was no longer the same, I had to speak carefully, never lying, but never disclosing the truth. I could no longer tell people what I was doing with a broad Central Asia clarifier. It was at that moment that the “M” word left my vocabulary. I finally arrived feeling exhausted, but also having a heaviness on my heart that I could not quite explain.
My first day here I had lunch with some missionaries. One woman who’s been on the field for over 20 years said the hardest thing for her is not being able to share her real reason for being overseas, not even with her closest local sisters. It was within the next few days I realized that the heaviness I was experiencing was from not sharing my calling with others, and finding far too much identity in that calling.
The “M” word is a word I use all the time in my everyday life. It’s frequented at school, work, in my neighborhood in seminary housing, at church. It’s a huge part of my life, as it should be, but it has become a large part of my identity. I always tell people that I’m no different, we’re all called to do the same thing, I’m just called to a different place, but I question now how much I really believed that.
I’ve found that I needed to constantly remind myself that my identity is in Jesus. Amidst all of the newness, He is never changing, and who I am in Him is never changing as well. These are seven things I know, things I have known, things I’ve taught others, and things I must frequently remind myself of. I’ve been meditating on them the past month that I’ve been here and I hope I never get to a place of complacency and stop. My prayer is that these simple things that I’ve known for so many years will be things that I continue to understand better and live daily for the rest of my life.
7 Reminders of our Identity
1. I am His child.
1 John 3:1-2; Isaiah 43:1-7 – We are called God’s children, he calls us “Mine”. How sweet to be the cherished children of a heavenly Father; what a sweet thing to remember in a time of struggle and of joy!
2. I am loved.
John 3:16 – The first verse I ever memorized, it’s a Sunday School favorite and for good reason! God loves us so much He was willing to send His Son to the cross and Jesus was willing to die on the cross. I can’t even imagine the vastness of his love and I’ve been trying for nearly 18 years.
3. I am for his glory.
Isaiah 43:1-7 – I have to go back to this Isaiah passage again. It’s just so good! (If you’re in a hurry reading this blog and you’re skipping looking up the scripture references, please take time for this one!) Listening to all that the Father feels for us, his love for us, who He is to us and then declaring in vs. 7 we were “created for his glory”. I am here to glorify God and that is the purpose I was created for!
4. I am not able.
Philippians 2:13 – I love this. Nothing soothes a broken perfectionist’s soul like knowing Jesus is doing the work through you, and is able to use all of those imperfections for His purpose. But what’s really great is the reminder that even our desire for our work comes from Him. He’s got it all covered, we just have to surrender. We by far get the better end of the deal.
5. I am not alone.
1 Corinthians 12:27; Romans 15:5-6 – As if Jesus working through you weren’t enough, being His means being a part of the body. We all experience loneliness at some point, sometimes when we’re surrounded by people. But in Christ we have an amazing group of people who we are now family with. We’re supposed to be unified, to be working together for our purpose as the body.
6. I am supposed to go.
Matthew 28:19-20 – We are called to go, to do something, to take action for the gospel. Whether you’re a missionary, a stay at home Mom, a nurse, a teacher, a waitress, you name it; we are all called to go and to make disciples. It needs to become a part of everything we do, the underlying reason, to glorify Him and to bring others to do the same.
7. I am not at home.
2 Corinthians 5:1 – The brokenness of this world can be overwhelming. Especially considering everything that has been happening in the US over the past few weeks. We see destruction everywhere; sin, hate, murder, natural disaster, poverty, heartbreak… this list could go on forever. We must hold onto the fact that this place we call home is only temporary, we have an eternal home in heaven!
This blog was written by one of our students who is spending the summer in Central Asia. She plans to graduate in May, 2017 with an MA in Intercultural Studies and Christian Education. After graduation she hopes to return to Central Asia to serve with the people group she is currently working with. Please take time to pray for all of our students who cannot be named because of the security of where they are serving.