From Missions To Mundane

I work at a helicopter company. And for the record, no, I don’t fly them. I’m not a pilot with a mistress, I’m just a researcher. Analyzing data and materials to make sure those helicopters stay in the air. You may already be checking out and bored with my occupation; I guess I can understand that.

Now come back with me as I rewind 8 years…

At 16 years old, I graduated High School early, and decided to go to Bible College. Young, vibrant, and so hungry to be apart of something, I somehow got into Christ For The Nations Institute in Dallas, Tx. Well under the age acceptance, I studied Biblical Theology for 2 years. Playing on the worship team, on school albums, and their DVD, led me to start traveling around the world with my closest friends doing worship and “ministry”.

This is what i loved to do!

I was living the dream and very well thought “I could do this forever!”. At this point, I was at the top of my game and felt more alive than ever before. I was someone with a cause and truly felt like I had the real ability to bring change.

A few years of ministry and traveling crept by, and before I knew it, I was burned completely out. Tired, unbelievably out of steam, and so hurt by crazy charismatic people i was left with the ever looming question :: “did I miss it?” I thought I was doing the stuff, the stuff Christians want to do, so how the hell did it backfire and how the hell did I wind up behind a desk researching helicopter parts, 8 years later??!

I’m not adopting babies and digging wells (and I admire those who do, immensely), what I am doing is logging 10 hour work days in a corporate office, with corporate people, doing all that corporate mundane crap.

Why God, why?

It was a common question in my head and one that I learned to embrace. Why, you ask?

Because God’s Leadership in my life is perfect. And what I’ve realized is that it’s perfect regardless if I agree with it or not. And for you, that may be a very tough pill to swallow.. I choked on it for a while, so I completely understand! However, I promise you, the day you come to grips with this truth – will be the day the weight of “why” is lifted…

We have to face every bump, every turn, and every unwanted change that life brings us – because it’s all important to the Shepherd leading us. Every single step along the way is what’s making up a beautiful journey in this broken down world.

This is where grace finds us. For the once “missionaries” now confound to the four walls of a workplace. There is good news for us, our heart can be alive here. Behind a desk and in a cube, truly the location matters not to God, because the posture of our Heart is what shines brighter than anything.

Maybe you’re like me

–and you’re not on the “mission field,” on another continent, doing what you thought you’d do forever and just maybe you’re now punching the clock wondering how the hell you ended up here.

Let me encourage you today. God’s leadership in your life is perfect and every twist and turn has the ability (if you let it) to benefit your heart in a massive and powerful way, if you agree with how He leads.

Your heart can still thrive, and your mission to affect a people is still vitally important, even at the office where the mundane and repetitive are as close as friends. Cause at the end of the day, It may “look” different from what you and I dreamed up, but the importance of loving people well, will ALWAYS be present and true, no matter how it looks.

[photo: A. Jordan Pryor]

  • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

    Nicely said Sarah!

    Your story parallels mine very closely and I pray this opens the door to some comfort for some today. Thank you for writing.

    • http://sarahjbaker.com/ Sarah Baker

      thanks for reading and your kind words, chris. i agree, i think this is a theme in a lot of peoples life and easy grounds for discouragement and frustration to creep in. ill definitely agree with your prayers:)
      thanks again!

  • http://everydayawe.com/ Stephanie Spencer

    Thank you for sharing your story, Sarah!

    I think there are many people who think of missions or church work as the “godly” occupations, while the rest are just settling. That is not the biblical view at all. God is in the midst of all of it, and using us in all of it. I love how, in Jeremiah 29:7, God tells the Israelites “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile.” I think this can do a lot to inform our theology of work. I agree whole-heartedly with your statement, “your mission to affect a people is still vitally important, even at the
    office where the mundane and repetitive are as close as friends.”

    Also, a couple I went to college with did some exciting missions work overseas, and now are back in the United States, living an “ordinary” life. They are writing about living intentionally through a column on Relevant (http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/practical-faith/want-revolution-make-casserole) and an upcoming book (http://www.amazon.com/This-Ordinary-Adventure-Settling-Without/dp/0830837876/). Thought you might be interested.

  • http://www.cross-platform.org John Hanan

    Thanks for the reminder that God’s perfect, even when we don’t agree with Him.

    • http://sarahjbaker.com/ Sarah Baker

      sometimes thats a big ol’ tough pill to swallow. but i believe it to be truth, wholeheartedly. pray that god helps us to live from that reality, even when its hard to walk out in daily life. i don’t think god asks us to do things that are impossible, so theres a bit of hope:) thanks for reading, John!

  • http://sayable.net/ Lore Ferguson

    That’s ma girl!

    • http://sarahjbaker.com/ Sarah Baker

      :) thanks friend.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=563848572 Nasma Jordan

    Great article..I can soooo relate, as your story is very very similar to mine… Thanks for the reminder that the mission to affect is just as real here in the workplace and the office when it gets mundane…:)

    • http://sarahjbaker.com/ Sarah Baker

      im so glad i have company ;) i think there are many more that have our story. i pray that we all stay faithful to the opportunities that god puts right in front of us. though times are sometimes mundane, its still time and its still redeemable. thanks so much for reading and commenting, Nasma!

  • http://KatieAxelson.com/ Katie Axelson

    Amen, Sarah!
    My current mission field is a freelance writing job at a Christian company that I show up to almost full-time hours a week. It’s mundane and at times my heart yearns to be in another country. But I also get to see the hurt here, on this side of the world. The stories will break your heart just as badly. This is where God has put me (for now), so (for now) I will learn to be content with it.

    Katie

    • http://sarahjbaker.com/ Sarah Baker

      i think your heart is postured the best way it can be, katie. god absolutely knows your desires deep on the inside, but you’re right, he is wanting to use you. right there in that office, in the midst of mundane repitition. and he will, if you have eyes to see those opportunities! pray that god would open up doors for you when his time is right. thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment :)

  • http://www.spiritualglasses.me/ Jennifer Upton

    This is what I call “Mission where life exists” and life exists different places for each of us. My lens truly began changing when I was taught to see life this way. God has shown me lately that one of my greatest missions thus far has been sowing into the woman the world tells me to hate and friends warn me to love from a distance. I shared this story this week on The Listen Project entitled “A Shared Meal.”
    “Cause at the end of the day, It may “look” different from what you and I dreamed up,”
    You words are so true and I know many today needed them whether as a new outlook or as a reminder…Thank you!

    • http://sarahjbaker.com/ Sarah Baker

      thanks so much, jennifer. you’re exactly right, its a new lens and way of seeing life and opportunities God kindly puts in our paths. no matter how it looks, Gods still looking for obedience. sometimes a tough pill to swallow. just read your “a shared meal” article. so raw and truth filled. thank you for sharing your story with us!