A guest entry from my friend, Zachary Robertson.
When I was ten years old, I felt God call me to be a missionary in Africa. Despite my initial stubbornness and rejection of the idea, Jesus began to place passions and dreams in my heart for people overseas until my calling finally began to excite me. It wasn’t until the summer before my freshman year of college, though, that the reality of what sacrifices I would have to make began to settle in. After graduation as my family and I made final preparations for me to move six hours away for college, it suddenly hit me that I would be leaving everything I knew to go to a new place in east Tennessee. I was terrified! Leaving home was one of the hardest experiences I have ever dealt with as I said goodbye to my family and friends. I began to constantly think about Africa. If I struggled so much to just move to the other side of the state for school, how could I ever go overseas for years at a time? It wasn’t that I didn’t love the idea of being a missionary...I really did. I was just terrified and began to think that perhaps God had made a mistake in calling me. Zachary, someone totally attached to his friends and family, had to be the worst person for the job. However, I did not by any means reject the calling. I remember the day after my parents dropped me off at college, I was crying out to God in my dorm room and wrote this in my Bible: “This is the start, I’m holding on, just take me where you want to go.”
Maybe you relate with the idea of being called into something you do not feel ready for. One of my favorite things about the Lord is that He does not give His children dreams that He does not prepare them for. Perhaps He is calling you to write a book, share your testimony, or speak up with someone at the lunch table or at work about your faith and you feel unworthy or unqualified. Maybe He is calling you into either ministry or an occupation that takes you away from home and your heart is simply not there yet. The key word, though, is yet. Saying yes to God is all that He really wants from us. Jesus does not call us because of who we are right now, but He calls us because of who He sees us as being in the future. Never does He put something on our hearts and just abandon us to the wolves. He is prepared to bare with us in our struggles, comfort and silence every fear, and help shape our hearts to where they need to be in order to live out what He has called us to do. There were many days I struggled: I got homesick and continued to doubt, but I did not stop praying.
The Lord’s presence was my place of refuge, and it was there that He began to soothe my fears and reawaken my passions for those overseas. Perhaps you can relate. Often times as we stand before Him, we begin to grasp the weight of our sin and the consequences we deserve for all we have ever done, yet we stand forgiven and redeemed at the foot of the cross and catch glimpses of the Father’s heart as anything that holds significance in our lives comes crashing down in comparison. We suddenly realize that the compassionate heart of God also aches and cries for the lost in this world. Before we know it, like Isaiah, we are crying out “Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8). I am so thankful that the Lord bears with me and tends the soil of my heart when any fear and questioning goes through my mind.
So what is the biggest lesson I learned in His presence? Give Jesus all of your love. By giving the Lord all of your affection, you give Him the ultimate control to mold your heart and send your love wherever He desires—whether it be overseas, hours away, or just right next door. No matter where that place is, that’s where you will be. Like a speck of dust being carried by the wind, let your heart’s passions and burdens be free to go wherever the Lord sends them. Let yourself be tied to no person or emotion but eternally connected to the cross of Christ, because He is sufficient in any weakness and better than any relationship you could ever have. The cross may seem heavy at times, but as you fix your eyes on Jesus and remember that we have an eternity with the Lord and those we love to look forward to, the cross becomes so much lighter as we step out into obedience and dance in the deep. Where He goes, you go. Where He stays, you stay as well. Whether near or far, distance is insignificant; isolation or ridicule doesn’t matter when you are rooted in Christ because He has all of your love and, therefore, ultimate control.
As the Lord leads me step by step, there came a point when I realize that every fear I had was gone and my heart was finally in tune to hear the cries of the broken and lost souls that Jesus is calling me to. You see, by saying yes, you give God the key to unlock your heart, set up shop, and begin the process of growth and maturation. He will plant, water, and tend to these dreams until they are ready for harvest. So if you have a dream planted inside your heart but you are not ready, do not fret or think that you have failed the Lord. Nothing we do could make us worthy anyway, so trust in the fact that He cares and hears every concern you have. When you simply say yes and passionately seek to share a portion of the Lord’s heart on this matter, over time He will adequately supply the needs of your soul until one day you look up from the business of life with every triumphant fear gone and only excitement and passion for the dreams He has put inside of you remaining. Realizing that Jesus is enough and worth it are the keys to unlocking the path to your destiny.