Monday, 5 December 2011
Mission, purpose, meaning: Living a life that matters (at home)
I go back to Uganda every night.
I dream of a girl I met in an orphanage. I see the young women I met. I hold their babies. I have entire conversations with new soul-sisters in the back of the bus.
If Benjamin wakes up at midnight I can barely register where I am, who he is, what I’m here for.
Even before I left, I have wanted to get back there. There is life-on-purpose. There is the freedom of forgetting myself. There is the luxury of African time, the shrugging shoulders when plans go sideways, because what can you do? This is Africa. There is clear meaning, definite purpose. There, everything matters.
Here, it’s the faces I love but the routine we can’t escape. It’s the luxuries of a big house and a thermostat and cold beverages but the rush and hurry of schedule. Here, it’s the lists and responsibilities and calendars and to-do lists. Here, it’s the thrum of dawn-to-dusk that can cloud Larger Mission.
And so I’m in Uganda all night and daydreaming about moving there all day, but partly I’m just running away from myself.
It’s the lure of short-term missions: The whirlwind, the intensity, the immediate gratification that’s so unlike the long walk in the same direction of parenting, of discipleship, of all the Most Important Things God has called me to.
Short-term missions are so fun because we’re seeing the fruit of already established ministry.
If someone came into my life on a 10-day mission trip when my kids are in their twenties, they’d have so much fun hanging out with these beautiful young adults, exploring and finding who they are. But I’d be there in the background, having cultivated these moments from the time they were this little, having given them everything I had, having spent it all to see them grow into their identities in the One who made them and are giving them purpose.
It’s exciting to step in, to go on vacation, even to go outside comfort for a few days of deep meaning, amazing people, sights, sounds and lessons that you just can’t get at home.
But it’s Here where I’m planted. It’s here God calls me to the long, hard, rewarding, beautiful long way, the constant bending in the same direction, the call of repetition and consistency. It’s the holy work that shapes human character, and it’s no small task.
May I be here and see the calling. May I live in the details with an eye on the goal.
May we all be present where we’re called, missional in the everyday, cultivating meaning in the little things, grabbing onto the moments that give a glimpse of the never-finished goal.
Every day on purpose.