I find myself in a rather odd predicament as I’m writing this blog: I don’t know what to say.
Just to clarify, this is new and different. Words are a big deal for me. My life seems to revolve around saying things (or not saying them, or wishing they were said, or hoping someone will say them…etc.), and so I’m not exactly sure what to do with this feeling of being speechless. But I think that it’s good, and that God is actually trying to reveal a greater truth through this experience; in fact, it parallels what God has been doing here in my own heart lately.
First things first: living in Germany, there is a need for us to learn German. Yes, I know that seems like a rather obvious thing to say; but what I’ve realized is that while it’s one thing to sit in the Mission Academy and laugh about how silly it is to say random German phrases from Rosetta Stone out loud, it is quite another thing to go to the dentist while using your very limited German, or to try to withdraw money from an ATM that is all in German, or to try and be relational and minister when all you can say is “Wie geht’s?” “Wo wonnst du?” “Was machst du gern?” “Was isst du gern?” (translation: How are you? Where do you live? What do you like to do? What do you like to eat?)
I am in a continuous position of being humbled through realizing that there is so much I CAN’T say; not because I don’t want to, not because I’m afraid of offending someone, not because I’m not sure if the other person is going to be receptive to what I’m going to say…I literally just do. not. have. the. words.
As you might imagine, this frustrates me to no end.
There is so much I want to say! There are so many people I want to reach out to, and I just don’t know how!
Ah….here is the beauty of what God is teaching me.
I was praying about this the other day, and how frustrated I was with not being able to speak, to share, to talk, wondering why God would want to bring me to this place where I can’t say anything (!); and God just spoke into that (haha, “spoke,” I know…let’s just say he revealed it to me), reminding me that in all my discerning about coming here this year, in all of our prayer in preparing for this mission, in everything He’s been revealing to all of us regarding our presence here, there has never once been any mention of speaking. I’ve been so caught up in the frustration of not being able to speak, that I’ve been missing out on all the other ways God is asking me to reach out, to invite, to love. God wants to stretch and change my conceptualization of what it means to be missionary; learning how to fulfill the Gospel call to “go out to the ends of the earth and proclaim the Good News” without words.
I’m starting to realize that I’ve been exerting so much effort I didn’t really need to exert in the first place. I’ve been thinking and acting like any of this mission depends on me or my ability to share (in a speaking sense of the word) God’s plans, and that if I can’t speak, then the “real” mission hasn’t started yet. I’ve felt like I’ve failed in a lot of situations because of my lack of ability to speak. The beautiful truth of the matter, though, is that God is bigger than any words I could use to talk about Him, and that in this moment, He is calling me to be even more dependent on Him through my inability to use words—to point back to Him through my living and acting and BEING more than through anything I could ever say.
Jesus is the Light and the Truth.
It is Jesus who converts. It is Jesus who reveals. It is Jesus who speaks.
All I can do is turn back to Him, to live as best I can the truth He’s revealed to me. All I need to do is be loved by Him and to love in return—to hope in His promises, to walk in His freedom, and to be a vessel of that hope and freedom for others.