I am a missionary. Not a called-across-seas sort of missionary, but a called-to-stay missionary, called to be salt and light in a bland and dark world. You are a missionary too. If you have Christ in your heart and blood moving through your veins you are called to live out justice and peace and reconciliation where He has placed you.
I am a called-to-stay missionary, and I regularly feel like a fraud and a failure. I know I'm not the only one.
I've struggled with anxiety and depression since adolescence, although I haven't always had the words to express it. I suffer from a sickness that tells me I'm not sick, I'm just a piece of shit. I live sometimes at war with my own being. I regularly feel like a failure and a fraud because I tell people that they matter to God more than they can fathom but I can't hold on to that truth tight enough in my own life. I tell people there is hope for them when I'm not convinced there is hope for me.
Maybe your story is different but the same. Like David in the 31st psalm, we are broken pottery.
I have a friend who suffered her first panic attack recently. I told her I was sorry to hear that, panic attacks aren't fun. She responded that she was thankful for it. It gave her insight into what some of her friends live with. It gave her empathy.
What if our pain is part of becoming more fully human? More fully aware? What if, like my wise friend, we can choose, in our better moments, to see the pain as a refining fire, making us more honest, more vulnerable, more real?
What if the hope that comes in the morning won't come just to us, but through us.
What if the world needs our brokenness more than it needs our strengths?
A favourite writer of mine (Henri Nouwen) says that community is not a talent show for our combined gifts, but a place where poverty is seen and accepted as a source of new life. He teaches over and over again that there is a richness in our weakness.
Every one of us is called to a mission field. Whether it's some far away place or delving deeper into our own community, we are all called to reach out to a world desperate for hope.
And that thing you think makes you unqualified? It is exactly where God wants to shine through.
Dear messed up ordinary missionary: you are exactly the person for the job God has tasked you with.
I'm writing this from a place of darkness. I'm preaching to myself. I am a tired broken mess.
And God is going to use me for his glory.
Not because of who I am. But because of who He is.
Not because of what I have done. But because of what He is doing.
Not because I have it all together, but precisely because I don't.