So what am I going to do with my life?
I’ve been wondering this for quite some time now, as everyone does. Once I thought I would be a writer, but then I found that I’m not very good at writing and don’t even like it that much. Then I thought I’d be a veterinarian – until I realized that I wouldn’t be playing with cute, fluffy animals; I’d be giving them pills and shots and they wouldn’t be happy about it and they wouldn’t like me much. Other dreams have come and gone, but eventually I came to realize that whatever else I did, I would have to live as a full-time Christian, as all Christians should. (Never mind that I presently stink at that. :P) As to what that would look like… well, I know that I’m easily distracted, so I might be able to be more effective in some sort of inherently Christian career. All of this led me to seriously consider planning to become a missionary.
No, for those of you who might wonder, I haven’t felt a “call to missions” as such, but it just makes sense. And I haven’t been “called” to anything else, either, so what in the world exempts me from the Great Commission? (Hint: The answer to that question starts with an “N” and ends with “ot a darn thing”.).
I basically thought about three possibilities: A) North American missions (career or lifestyle), B) International missions, C) Bible translation. This summer that list has been refined a little.
For starters, at a conference here in Toronto, a former missionary to the Philippines told me some shocking statistics about the percentage of resources spent on North American missions vs. what goes to unreached people. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but it was ridiculous. Anyway, North America is getting more than its fair share, so I think I should go elsewhere, preferably to some of these unreached people who will otherwise remain so.
Then I started thinking about Bible translation. I fully support it, just as I do North American missions, but in the same way, I now believe that it’s not what I personally should devote my life to. Is it what Jesus or the early apostles devoted their lives to? Didn’t the early Christians (and early Jews, for that matter – Abraham, etc.) get along fine without a Bible? Not to mention that I’m still trying to figure out where I stand on Biblical inerrancy and all that stuff.
So – international missions. Just like those three emerged as the possibilities that made most sense, this one makes the most sense of the three. It honestly looks like that’s where I’m heading.
The next step is figuring out where. The world is a pretty big place, after all. One strong possibility is the 10-40 Window. (I’m a little confused about that page’s “Historical and Biblical Significance” section and why in the world that matters, but the rest of it has a lot of information.)
Don’t tell my dad that I might go somewhere dangerous. It’ll scare the heck out of him. 😉
Anyway – this is all just speculation, but hey, maybe someday I’ll really go to the 10-40 window – maybe to the Middle East or to North Africa or to China or somewhere else entirely. Then again, maybe I’ll go somewhere outside the 10-40 window. Or maybe God will tell me to stay in North America. Or maybe they’ll find life on Mars and I’ll be the first interplanetary missionary. Whatever. There’s no way for me to know now what’ll happen in five or ten years.
Since not much is certain, I think I’ll stick with the strategy I’ve been using. Graduate high school. Go to college. Continue to study language, because I love it and because I can use that knowledge anywhere in the world – yes, even here. Prepare for as many possibilities as I can. Learn how to live this missional lifestyle, because I won’t get far as I am now. And wait. It’ll be clear when it needs to be.