Psalm 139, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”
Through serving cross-culturally, I’m often surprised by what I see, and how I grow as opportunities to serve in community impact me.
Spending intense time with others in close community while seeking and serving God often causes some important things to take place. Growth comes through the lab & mirror.
I remember high school chemistry with Dr. Flores. He would often walk around with a squirt bottle of water so he could soak anyone who was sleeping. In his class, which was also a laboratory, he’d often have us wear safety glasses, white jackets, gloves, etc. The Bunsen burners and chemicals brought risk, but the safety tools allowed for experimentation.
In the lab:
-Real life experiments
-Sometimes things worked, sometimes they didn’t
Short-term missions, when done well, can be the safe place where we allow God to create new things in us as He works through new discoveries and our wonder.
My wife has many talents, and one of these talents is that she’s a professional makeup artist. She’s even done the makeup for Johnny Cash! At her spa, she has a makeup table with a mirror surrounded by lights. The mirror magnifies and shows every pore and blemish. I learn things every time I look at it.
-Shows a view with clarity we don’t often see
-Can magnify blemishes (or our best features)
-Creates awareness in the midst of insecurities
Short-term missions can be a mirror that magnifies insecurities, highlights emotional and relational limits, and helps us see our strengths and weaknesses with more clarity.
Short-term missions provides opportunities for both greater clarity and opportunities for growth. As I serve with teams, my prayer is that we’ll all look in the mirror, and learn new things about ourselves, God, the world, and interaction with others. As we learn things about ourselves, we’ll at times be thrilled, but at other times frustrated or even hurt. I pray that in the midst of this learning process, the team and time with Jesus will provide a wonderful laboratory where we can grow as a person in a very safe place. Hopefully along the way, we won’t get squirted with Dr. Flores’s water bottle…
How have you grown through the lab and mirror?