I came to the mission field hoping I would be the perfect missionary, at least the ideal missionary I envisioned in my head. Somehow on the plane ride I would be transformed into a sweet, bubbly, outgoing person (preferably with adorable hair and a smile that brightens any room), the kind of person everyone instantly loves. This is the type of person who will make a difference, who will be remembered as someone great.
Well, I’m sorry to say that magic transformation has not happened. I am not suddenly outgoing, I am not good at asking people all kinds of questions, and my hair is certainly anything but adorable (most days I am content if it isn’t sticking out all over the place because of the humidity). I am most definitely NOT the “perfect” missionary.
But perhaps my ideal is not really God’s ideal. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 says, “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it”.
More important than being the contagiously sweet person that everyone loves is that I share the aroma of Christ. What is in me that will draw people to the Light of Life? What is in me that needs the sanctifying work of Jesus? Oh there is much. My goal should not be to bring glory to myself by somehow attaining an imaginary ideal. No, my goal is to serve a faithful God who works in and through me for HIS glory.
This does not mean I can give myself permission to not work hard to be outgoing. Loving people means learning their stories, talking and laughing with them, building relationships. While that is not what I am good at, not what is comfortable for me naturally, I trust our Faithful God to keep up His work of grace in my heart so I can sit and chat and ask questions of strangers in order to open a door to share the Truth. May He be honored and glorified above all else.