Sometimes I feel an incredible weight of guilt that my persona is not the same as those of my fellow Christians sisters on fire for missions. To be honest when I hear missions, a check list starts screaming in my head... You don't blog about this enough, You don't read enough missionary biographies, You don't buy enough t-shirts to support the cause, You don't go on missions trip, You don't vocalize or converse about this enough... You don't do enough.
My framework for missions and ministry has been torn down and restructured over the years. See, if we were to go back in time to visit 13-year-old Natalie, and you asked her what she was going to do with her life, with passionate stubbornness she would've told you that she was going to go to Africa to teach children even though her dad didn't want her too because she's only got one life… and being a missionary to Africa is the only worthwhile way to live life… and how can we call ourselves Christians if we aren't willing to go to third world countries and sacrifice it all. I'm more than sure it was annoying to a lot of people.
It was a season of passion and dreaming about missions, but I also elevated (and romanticized) the life of a third-world missionary, while demeaning other avenues of missions, ministry, callings, and kingdom work. Now I've swung to feeling like a failure because I don't do enough... because it's become a game of comparisons. I can't speak for you, but comparison competitions always awaken fears of being looked down upon by those who (in my mind) are doing it better.
It just seems like a really bad idea to be doing that with missions. Like the wrong motive.
I want to be honest and say that I don't I need another t-shirt designed by a fellow classmate. I'm tired of buying them, and they're taking up too much space in my wardrobe, especially when I don't even wear them that often. I don't go on missions trips, because they're not cheap and I have college loans and bills. So I give money to organizations who I think will steward it well, but I just can't put down a couple thousand dollars to spend two weeks in a foreign country right now. I don't blog, tweet, or share about every orphan care ministry. Radical is not one of my favorite Christian books. And anybody who's known me for very long knows just how much I hate fundraising. I don't like asking people for money for causes (including the ones I support and love), and I legitimately have no talent in those endeavors. Ask the more business-minded people in my life. I couldn't even make lemonade stand money as a kid, much less get a person to give to aid relief.
That doesn't mean I don't care, or am lacking in wanting to help others, because I do, and I will. Jesus calls every one of us to be on mission.
Missions is whole lot wider and encompassing than some of us think it is. It's not narrow. And there is no difference between kingdom work and non-kingdom work. God has just as much purpose and use for the lawyer in New York City as for the missionary in India. Neither one of those jobs or situations are of lesser value. Not everyone of us is called to go to a far-off country. Not everyone of us is called to support the same venues of ministry either. If one man writes a check towards orphan care, another towards natural disaster relief, another to a couple on the brink of divorce who need to get counseling, and another to further cancer research, then all are being the hands and feet of Jesus.
I think God calls us all to different venues of ministry... of mission work, that uniquely fit each on of us. He tugs on each of hearts towards certain causes and missions, but I don't think one is necessarily better than the other or more "holier." Is this not what it means to be the body of Christ in a sense? A foot doing what feet do best, and an ear doing what it does best? You can't diminish one's purpose and function over the other. (Except maybe the tonsils or the appendix... I suppose.)
Just something I'm wresting through. What are your thoughts?
P.S. Don't ask me to do fundraising for you. I'm just giving you fair warning now, that it's not my "gifting/talent" and it would go bad.