“The danger is turning your ‘get to’s into ‘have to’s.”
Last week I helped lead a group of mostly high school students on a mission trip to Colombia. This trip was set up months ago as a joint effort between Hebron’s student ministry team and missions team to mobilize students to the nations. We believe that the truth of the gospel is worth giving our lives to lead people in our community, nation, and the world to life-changing faith in Jesus. We don’t just say that because it’s Hebron’s mission statement, we say it because it’s the truth. The gospel is worth everything.
At the time that the groups were established, I was eagerly anticipating joining a team back to one of my favorite places. But as it always happens, my human nature gets in the way of what the Lord intends for me, and I grew pretty nonchalant toward the trip. I learn this with every trip I go on, but for some reason it doesn’t stick: the Lord is never done with you. No matter how many times you read a passage of scripture, or how many mission trips you go on, or how many times you sing that song, the Lord is not finished teaching you through it.
But of course, I go to Colombia thinking I’m just there to help lead. I’m just there because I’m familiar with it and can speak some rusty Spanish which is more useful than no Spanish. I’m just there. AND YET in the midst of just being there, God continued to teach me. You see, working on the missions team at Hebron is a literal dream come true and answer to prayer—and going full-time at the church? An even bigger answer to prayer. But when you start to do something for 40 hours a week, I’m learning it’s easy to burn out. It’s easy to turn the “get to”s into “have to”s, and forget why you do it to begin with. It’s also easy to not even notice the burn out is happening.
Last month was Disciple Now at Hebron, a weekend retreat for students with the goal of leading them to take one step forward in their faith. The last night of DNow, the teaching was about the danger of your “get to”s turning into “have to”s. When our group of 8th grade girls got together to discuss what we took away from that, we were focused on prayer, sharing the gospel, and reading the Bible. It didn’t even cross my mind that my own job was turning into a “have to.” It still didn’t, until this morning.
This morning God showed me just how much I needed that trip to Colombia. I didn’t realize that I was burning out from setting up mission trips and doing all the logistical things to the point that I was numb to it. Praise the Lord that He still teaches me even when I’m not anticipating it. This trip was one of my favorites I’ve ever been on (I probably say that after every trip). Our team of 9 included 5 high school students who had never been on an international mission trip, and it was such a joy to watch them step out of their comfort zones to share their story and God’s story with others. And as I was reflecting on that this morning, I thought I get to be a part of this. The past two days being back to work, even though I’m wiped out and have 4,000 things to do, have been awesome because I am reignited with a passion for what I do. I get to mobilize students and adults to go to the nations, I get to spend my days talking to missionaries, I get to hear stories of life change found through Jesus, I get to advance the gospel in my own community and to the ends of the earth. I get to.
So now that I’m here, the question I’m asking myself is how to ensure the “get to”s don’t once again turn into “have to”s. One thing I know is that I need to continue to go out and do the work because that’s where I’m reminded of the value. We were not made to keep our faith to ourselves, and we don’t have to do it alone.