This week, one of my best friends from college asked me in an email how she could pray for me. So I sat and typed on my computer for an hour and a half, telling her how messy my life is. About five minutes after I started typing, I thought, “Wow, I really haven’t said all of this to anyone.” These past few days, I have been thinking a lot about why.
I know that it might be controversial or a little bit awkward to write that my life is messy in my missionary blog. I mean, shouldn’t my life as a missionary be absolutely perfect? Shouldn’t I be so fulfilled in my prayer time that I run around joyfully while butterflies and rainbows float around in little trails behind me?
No. False. That is a lie. And I’m embarrassed to admit that it is a lie that I’ve been believing for the past few months, or even longer. I’ve been so afraid that if I admit that I struggle then I will make God look bad, or make missions look bad, or make Life Teen look bad. But I think the truth is that admitting my struggles makes the Lord look very good, because it gives Him credit as my Savior. He can take all of my messiness and somehow turn it into something that brings Him glory. So yes, I struggle. I admit it. And honestly, who really believes it when we try to pretend that our lives are made up of cookies, and butterflies, and ponies, and pretty flowers all of the time? That is completely inauthentic, and doesn’t glorify God in any way.
So, the truth is that most of the time I have no idea what I’m doing. I have a lot of fears and worries. I question if I’m even good at youth ministry. I question if I have the strength and/or the gifts to be a missionary. Many times, I grasp onto doubt more than I grasp onto faith. Sometimes I get tired and emotional. I use the word “overwhelming” multiple times a day. The truth is that it scares me that we have a lot of ministry opportunities coming up, because I worry that I may not be able to fulfill other people’s expectations.
And I’m also a huge sinner. A lot of times my messiness spills out of me and overflows onto other people in the forms of frustration, tears, glaring looks, passive-aggressiveness, and even outright anger. My community could probably tell you all of my faults because they see them on a pretty regular basis. All of my inner struggling has brought out a very ugly person in me that I’m definitely not proud of. It’s really humbling when I think about how childish I sometimes act.
That being said, lately I have been realizing one important, life-changing, mind-blowing thing: I’M A HUMAN BEING! Becoming a missionary didn’t suck the blood out of my veins and replace it with shiny, wonderful, glittery holiness. I am not a living saint. I’ve realized that my prayer life is important because I suck and I need God, not because I’m super holy and have awesome prayer powers. I’m a human being. It is unhealthy for me to put unrealistic expectations on myself. I don’t have to know everything. It is okay for me to struggle. I don’t have to pretend that I have an overabundance of peace in my heart, because that is just not true. My heart is messy right now, and I am coming to terms with its messiness.
I’ve also found that there is a lot of beauty in all of this. I am a messy, broken, confused, anxiety-filled girl who is deeply in need of a Savior. There is so much freedom in admitting that I just really need Jesus. I need Him to come and transform me, and purify me, and take me deeper every single day because it is going to take a really long, long lifetime of grace, and prayer, and surrender in order for me to make it to Heaven.
Dear Lord Jesus, You have a lot of work to do in my soul.