When God called me to missions, I laughed at what He was saying. Why would He call me to missions? My sister was the one who was called to missions, but me? No way. I wasn’t ready to step into the unknown and give up all the comfort of being home. I wasn’t ready to give up the classic college experience or the security of a good job. I wasn’t ready to depend fully on Him when it came to finances. I wasn’t ready to be constantly pushed out of my comfort and challenged to step into boldness. Nope. Maybe I heard Him wrong. Yet, God slowly and patiently kept knocking on my heart and calling me to step into the unknown with Him.
I heard a lot about missions as I grew up in the church, but I never thought it would be me
God often does this. He usually tells you to do something you swore you’d never do. He has a sense of humor that way. This is exactly what happened to me when He asked me to do missions. I grew up the daughter of a pastor, constantly seeing missionaries come and speak about their experiences. I watched as they told crazy miracle stories or heartbreaking stories of what they’d seen overseas. Every time I heard them speak I thought, “Wow, I’m so glad called them to that.” Little did I know that would be me in the future. From a young age, both my sisters felt called to missions in some way. However, I never really felt it. I thought I’d be the one who would go to college and get a creative job somewhere. I’d live in a city and live a comfortable life. I would go through the college experience, travel the world, and work in the arts or fashion industry.
During my senior year, I was looking into art colleges and planning on majoring in fashion marketing. Throughout the whole process, my heart wasn’t really in it. I didn’t understand. Isn’t this what I’ve always wanted? Hasn’t this been my dream for so long? This is when God started to place YWAM on my heart. I heard about it from my older sister and thought it sounded amazing. It sounded like a great opportunity to travel, find out what I wanted to do, and grow in my relationship with God. My plan was to do a DTS and take a gap year before going to college. I ended up not getting a scholarship I needed for college, so I thought that I could just work and travel after my DTS before applying for a cheaper school. In my heart, I had a few fleeting thoughts about staffing with YWAM before even arriving for my DTS, but I quickly dismissed them thinking I wasn’t cut out for that. God had a different plan all along.
When He called me to missions, I doubted it over and over and over again
Throughout my DTS, I couldn’t help but fall in love with missions. My heart constantly felt alive when we did local outreach or when we went overseas and taught English to women working in the bars. I felt myself falling love with the community at YWAM LA and the way God spoke to me so clearly during my school. Every day I learned new things and was constantly stretched and challenged to grow. I knew that after my DTS I wouldn’t be the same person. I’d grown so much and felt like I knew God in a whole different way.
Missions has a way of doing that. Without even realizing it, you slowly become more free as you see God’s transforming power working in the lives of people you come in contact with. You realize just how amazing God is and how much our world needs Him. You are challenged past your limits, yet feel fully alive as you push past boundaries and walk into your true identity. When doing ministry, you realize life isn’t all about you and you are called to something higher. You are called to be Christ’s ambassador no matter what it takes or how it looks like.
This is when I knew God was telling me to go into missions full time. I told Him no at first because it messed up my plan and didn’t make sense. I was supposed to be the one who would go to college and work in the fashion industry. But God kept leading me back to YWAM LA and telling me to come back after my DTS. For a few months I denied it. People asked me what my plans were and I wouldn’t tell them that God told me to staff with YWAM LA. It was scary and unknown. What would happen? What about college and the other dreams I had? I wasn’t the one who was supposed to be a missionary. I didn’t feel ready or equipped enough. A few months after my DTS, I ended up doing the School of Transformational Business with YWAM LA and this is when I knew without a doubt that God was calling me to missions. There was no denying it. Over and over, when I went to spend time with Him I felt Him telling me to join staff at YWAM LA.
Fear kept telling me to deny God’s voice and stay comfortable outside of missions
People kept asking me about staffing and I kept saying, “Oh, maybe I’ll do it. I’m not really sure.” In my heart, I knew it for a while that I was supposed to come back. But fear was taking center stage in my heart and telling me not to step out. It was telling me to go with the dreams I had of getting a degree. It told me I would miss out on everything that all my friends were experiencing. Fear told me that I wasn’t ready to go into the unknown. It made me think of all the what if’s. Oftentimes, fear takes over in our lives and we listen to it. We let it dictate what we do instead of listening to what God is speaking to us.
During the business school, I made a choice. I chose to stop listening to fear. I applied for staff and decided I was going to do missions. After making this decision, I immediately felt relief. For so long, I had denied what God was saying and let fear take the front seat. But I wasn’t going to let that happen anymore. Even with all the fears, I couldn’t deny that God was calling me to missions. Yes, it wasn’t how my twenties would be. It wasn’t secure or comfortable. It was unknown and terrifying. It meant working through my insecurities and being vulnerable in community. It meant going out on the streets and sharing of a Father who pursues His children.
In my mind, it’s all worth it. Fear will no longer tell me otherwise. God is worth it to me. His love had transformed me from the inside out and now I couldn’t just leave it at that. I had to bring that love to everyone around me. I had to experience deeper intimacy and freedom with Him. I had to grow in trust with Him as I stepped into the unknown.
God is found in the unknown and in the mystery
After being on staff now for about 8 months now, I can say that God is found in the unknown. He is simply asking us to take a chance and follow His voice. Even if it isn’t what we expected. Even if it sounds like the opposite of what we would want. I’m constantly reminded that God knows what we need and what we are capable of. If I hadn’t joined staff, I probably would be enjoying college and preparing to be in the fashion industry. It would’ve been good, but not God’s best for me. When He called me to missions, He knew I would fall in love with it and constantly be empowered to live in my true identity as a daughter.
When God calls us to the unknown, are we willing to say yes? Are we willing to leave the fear behind and journey with Him through the doubts? I never thought my life would look like this, but I can’t imagine myself anywhere else. In the unknown, I’ve found more of God’s character. He’s looking for people who will seek Him through the unknown and scary places. It’s easy to trust Him in the known, but what if He calls us to something we think is crazy? Will we go with Him knowing He is good and only has good in store for us?
Will you follow God into something that may sound crazy and terrifying?
This is a question for you to think about. Has there ever been a time in your life that you let fear take over your heart and drown out God’s voice? Is He calling you to a DTS or to missions? Even if it sounds crazy, are you willing to follow Him into the unknown?
He is looking for children who will wholeheartedly chase after Him into the mystery. Are you up for it?