by Matt Schroeder
I’ve lived in Zambia for a little over 9 months now. It’s hard to believe I’ve lived here that long, yet at the same time I feel as though I’ve been apart of this world for many many years. Part of that may be due to how many times I’ve come here before actually moving to Zambia, but I think it’s also due to how much love this place and these people. When your heart finds a place it loves, it sinks deep and attaches strongly.
However, despite a strong love for this place and these people, I still can say one of the biggest things I’ve learned in only 9 months is that God’s calling on your life is what ultimately sustains you to continue the work. As much as I love the work here, there are plenty of days when I want to throw in the towel and find other work. The CEO of my ministry always says that “if you don’t have days when you want to quit and give up, then something isn’t right.”
I can speak for myself and all of the other missionaries here at Family Legacy when I say, “there have been plenty of days where American life sounds much better than what we’re walking through here in Africa.”
But what God always keeps bringing me back to is His calling on my life. I always know that no matter how hard life can be, anywhere for that matter but especially here in Africa, if His calling remains on my life, then I am to remain in the same spot. If His sovereign hand of leading and guiding is calling me to stay, then that’s all I really need to know about a situation.
And when I can finally get my eyes off of the “what am I doing here? Did I make a mistake? Did I mishear God’s voice?” type questions, then I’m finally at a place where I can start to take inventory of what it is God is trying to do in me.
When my eyes are so fixed on the big picture and thinking that this whole thing is too hard or I can’t do it, then I’m taking my eyes off of the small details of sanctification God is trying to work in me. I don’t allow myself to be molded by the Lord, because I’m chalking this whole thing up to a mistake or that it’s too hard and time to go home. When I surrender my life to His ultimate lordship, then I’m free to receive each moment for what they are and be shaped how God would have me be shaped.
And I think this is the way it is for all of us no matter what side of the globe we live on. I think the most important question we need to ask is, “Do I know that this is where God wants me to be right now?” And if the answer is yes, then we’re free to let go of control and allow ourselves to be molded by this season exactly how God wants us to be.
The more we can trust God with the macro, and find ourselves content to live in the day-to-day, I think we’ll actually end up looking more like Jesus without spending tons and tons of time evaluating whether or not we’re in what we think is the best place to enable ourselves to look more like Jesus.
Another way of saying what I’ve tried to unpack here is this, God is smarter than me. He knows where I need to be and what I need to be doing. I’m learning to let go of lots of control in my life and allow each moment and each season to mold me, knowing that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. If I’m walking in the calling He has placed on me TODAY, then I can focus on being sanctified and loving other people instead of wondering if I’m missing my life’s purpose.
So you see, even missionaries wrestle with feeling fulfilled and content with life. Ultimately, God is good and that’s all that matters.