You see the need. You are stirred. You hear the call. You begin to prepare.
But what can keep you from your cross cultural mission?
Here are a few things I had to personally overcome.
As you read this, be encouraged to walk free and move toward the burning desire God has placed in your heart!
The average American carries an average of anywhere from $7,000-$15,788 (14.5% average rate) in credit card debt; add to that high student loans (anywhere from an average of $5k to well over $100k), and you are putting yourself in a position to be forced to wait until you have knocked most of that, if not all of it down, before you are sent.
Is this one of the reasons we are seeing less and less young people from America coming overseas?
We in the West have to learn the principle of “delayed gratification.” This is a tough thing for us since we are bombarded with constant media telling us to not be satisfied. But I believe that if we faithfully practice the principles of finance found in God’s word, we will be able to free ourselves from the debt. We will also find that we not only have enough for our real needs, but we also have an abundance for every good work.
Once you are married you are in a life long covenant. That’s why its important to know before you are married whether or not you want to be a missionary.
One of the first questions I used to ask my former girlfriends is “how do you feel about living in another country…as a missionary.” If they were not interested I knew it wouldn’t work!
If you are already married, don’t give up on your partner if you want to serve overseas. Take them along with you in the journey slowly. As you move forward together, God can open their heart and show you his plan that includes both of you in all of your individual giftings and personality working together overseas.
If you are single, and want to stay that way, skip down to #6!
John Maxwell says “You attitude will determine your altitude.” Another angle on it, is that “it’s not what happens TO me that matters, but what happens IN me.” Everyone goes through it, but a good attitude makes life much more bearable when you are struggling.
A bad attitude can ground us even before we have a chance to get into the air. People with negative or bad attitudes that cannot be controlled will find a million things to irritate them once they arrive in their new country.
Culture shock is rough at times but culture shock with a bad attitude is really debilitating. It has the power to knock us out of a place of effectiveness in the work.
Lack of Relationships–
Relationships are key to getting sent because no one can go overseas and be effective as a cross cultural worker on their own long term. I have found that it takes an army of people standing behind us in order to be effective. People skills are a must.
I have always had the thought that we as missionaries have to not only be willing to go ourselves, but we must take people with us on our journey…the more the better! For those God will call to join you in support (and He will!), their eternal “fruit” is tied to your eternal “fruit.”
That’s the way God set up partnership in the Gospel.
Where you go, they go. What you do, they do. When we realize this, we will make it a priority to continually build and strengthen our relationships and be on the look out for new ones God brings our way.
Concerning our partners, we are privileged to have them on our team, and they are privileged to be a part of what God has called us to do. The blessing is never one sided, but always reciprocal when partnership is done in faith.
Lack of Patience-
Preparation is a process. There were many times when I was frustrated with that process and lost patience with the timing of everything. I found myself in situations, especially in regards to non ministry related work, where I despised where I was at the time.
But as I look back, it was some of those hard experiences that strengthened me for the work that I am doing now. In this type of season, the temptation is to blame other people for holding you back or not giving you the shot you feel you deserve.
Don’t allow cynicism to creep in. Keep a right attitude, keep praying an pressing into God to open doors, keep moving forward with your passion, and make a difference where you are right now…with a good attitude!
Can we be forgiven? Yes, we can. Can God still use us despite our past? Yes.
But besides the obvious biblical warnings on sexual sin and its effects, and there are many, I want to bring out its effect on something that we may not be considering…”confidence.” If we persist in holding on to sexual sin in any form, it will steal this one key precious commodity that will take us where we need to go in God.
I believe Godly confidence is the key to walking in victorious faith. And without victorious faith, we are not going to go far from where we are now, or do anything audacious for God. We have to get past some of these struggles, so that we can focus on others in prayer and not ourselves all the time.
Start by making yourself accountable to others in this area of your life now and especially when you arrive at your field of service.
Lack of Resilience–
Life can be tough. It’s inevitable that we will get knocked around or even knocked down at times. Some times it will be by the people closest to us. This is the one that hurts the most. But we have to learn to keep our eyes focused on Jesus and ultimately not on any man or woman.
We have to so believe in the call of God on our lives that absolutely nothing but God Himself will keep us from fulfilling it!
We will walk through disappointments, times where we don’t understand what is going on, and emotional and relational turmoil among other things, but we have to be willing to dig deep down into our faith in God, forgive often where it is needed, repent where we need it, and bounce back with resilience.
Believing You are Indispensable–
This is a form of pride and can lead us down a path where we eventually stumble and fall. None of us are ultimately indispensable. God can use anyone or anything for his purposes…A donkey comes to mind.
It is truly an honor and a privledge when He chooses us! No matter where we go or what great things we end up doing, it all comes back to His Name, His Honor, and His Glory alone! The majority of times, we are never really pioneering anything solely on our own. We are entering into the labor of those who have gone on before us.
We are part of the plan, priviledged to play a part, but nothing ever will rise and fall on us alone. God will have his will be done, with or without us. With that being said, “you are definately needed”!…which brings me to my next point…
Believing You are Not Needed–
You feel a burning passion in your heart as you think about the needs of the world, but begin to convince yourself that someone else should be the one to answer the call.
“Who am I anyway”?, you may ask yourself or God. But you may be forgetting the fact that many people God used in a big way for his purposes was reluctant at first.
There is great need in the world today, and if you are sensing a call…a unrelenting burden…if you are hearing His voice, then know that you ARE needed.
If someone can talk you out of something that you know that God spoke to you, then you have to ask yourself, “Did God really speak to me or not”? If He did, then you are surely needed! Stop having a pity party and get on with it already! At the end of the day, we are all called to “go”, how far depends on God’s will for your life. But we can all play our part in sending.
If you are serving overseas, what are some things you would add to this? What have you had to overcome that could have kept you from the mission? Have you seen folks who have “slipped through” despite some of these issues? What has been the long term results?
If you are preparing or thinking about cross cultural work, what is the tough one for you?
What are you planning to do to overcome?
I would love to hear your thoughts….