A life characterized not by willfulness.

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It was never our plan to become missionaries.

In fact, looking in from the outside it still resembles complete lunacy that God chose an animator and a storyteller who don’t speak more than 5 words of Spanish to move to Mexico to serve.

It’s the way of the Lord, though, isn’t it? Remember the walls and the trumpets. The whole ark ordeal.

He says look. I can see you aren’t amazing. I made you. I know your weaknesses, your sin patterns, the places you try and hide. I know all of them.

There have been so many times,  as a family, that we have looked at one another and thought, why us? Why would He have brought us? Here?

We’re slow to learn but we’ve picked up on a few things. He didn’t bring us here so that we could shine in all our glory and giftedness, that’s for sure. Ask us how it really feels to be sitting in a discipleship group where you’re catching only every 5th word.

So often we leave asking the Lord why.

Would we not be more effective in a land where we could actually speak with eloquence all the amazing things we know?

Time and time again the Lord has made it abundantly clear that we are exactly where He wants us to be and our mandate in this season is to just keep showing up.

We’re learning the power of sitting with people unable to speak big words, but hug and cry and pray.

We’re learning that there is nothing in us that can do the work, though so often we feel there is. We feel we can help. We can step in, with all our great ideas and logic and smarts. But what we’re really learning is that it’s the Lord. every. single. time.

We are learning the difference between willfulness and willingness.

Willfulness is deliberate and intentional. It’s headstrong and stubborn. Qualities we aren’t proud of but lie deep in us when we take on things we’re extremely capable of. Things we know we can do. We set out, sure with the Lord at our side, but with an understanding that we really know the in’s and out’s and surely we can accomplish what we set our mind too.

What God has shown us by taking us to a land where we haven’t been able to do the things we’re used to, the things we think we’re good at, is that willingness is all He requires.

Willingness is different because it has nothing to do with a plan or a great idea. Rather it’s a consent to going along with a plan. It’s a cheerful readiness, all self-perceived gifting aside.

This Easter week as I pondered what our Saviour, Jesus Christ, did on the cross for my wickedness and sin, I realized it wasn’t willfulness. It wasn’t a steadfast decision on Jesus part to say, “You know, I have a great idea. Why don’t you place the weight of the entire world on my shoulders while dying the most brutal death imaginable.” Of course it wasn’t that. It wasn’t a headstrong decision to play the martyr because that would gain accolades from followers and they would be praising Him for this great act.

No. It wasn’t any of those things. For He pleaded that if it was possible this cup would be taken from Him.

What we see in Jesus obedience is willingness.

What I want my life to be characterized by is the same.

Not my will, Lord, but yours. Not the things I perceive as glorious, but whatever you have for me. Not my agenda. Not my thoughts. Not my ways or opinions, arrogance or self-righteous lineup of all the amazing ways I can show up for God.

I’m learning how small I am in comparison to the greatness of His plan for my life.

I’m learning that comparison is truly a faith killer, not just a contentment killer.

I’m learning that while what God has called me to feels strange and I feel so unable, He is capable of all of it.

He uses the weak and it turns out that’s where He’s brought us these days. In turn we get to see the bounty of His work apart from us.

When we first planned a one week long trip to Mexico my prayer was that God would bring us to the end of ourselves. I feel like it’s the most gracious thing a loving God could do. That He would strip us of all we think we are and show us exactly who He is in us.

Before that week we never imagined this would be our reality.  Living, working, grocery shopping, serving and muddling our way through this Mexican life. It doesn’t make any sense but I’m learning the very best things never seem to. He doesn’t give us what we think we want or what we conspire we deserve. In His loving-kindness the Lord gives us exactly what we need.

And so, here we are. Tiny town in Mexico in the middle of a global pandemic feeling small all the while God is showing Himself as so so big.

I can’t imagine anything better.

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