When I was a young girl, I dreamed of changing the world. I yearned to travel to distant countries, investing my time and energy into people whose legacies would outlast me. I aspired to one day look back when I was old and gray, and see how God moved heaven and earth to fulfill his purposes in and through me. Since then, I have married my husband, Andy. Though it may look different now, it is in this new context of marriage that the Lord has done his deepest and most powerful work on our lives as we have lived on mission. It amazes me to look back and see the places we’ve been, the miracles we’ve witnessed, and the world-changing operations we’ve gotten to play a part in.
I would like to share with you a bit of what it means to live our lives on mission, why it is important, and how we can do that as individuals and in marriage. By doing so, I hope that it will encourage you wherever you are. I don’t believe God will choose to work through each of us in the same way, nor do I claim my path has been perfect. What I hope to do is encourage you where you are to look to our Creator and reflect on the journey He is leading you on.
The first question that comes mind is what? What does it mean to “live on mission”? To live on mission is to intentionally pursue a specific trajectory or purpose in life. It is to aim the course of our lives toward a certain goal and align our thoughts, passions, and pursuits with that end as our focal point. For example, I have two main goals in life: to fall more in love with Jesus daily, and to change the world. They shape my ambitions, how I spend my time, and what I view as success.
I must be honest in this, though. When I think of today’s world-changers and globe-shakers, I don’t normally think of marriage as being a means to that end. What comes to mind instead are the strong, persevering individuals who vigorously chase the ambitions the Lord has put on their hearts. These men and women stand out from the crowd, strive for nothing short of excellence, and are willing to sacrifice the social norms to relentlessly live their lives on mission. I would like to challenge my perception and propose that we can each live our lives on mission, regardless if we are single or have been married for fifty years. Each of us can choose, to align our lives toward a specific goal. In doing so, we begin the wonderful adventure of living on mission and engage with the purposes we were created for.
The thoughts surrounding what it means to live on mission trigger a second question: why? Why do we live on mission? The answer is simple: we live on mission because it’s what we were created to do. We were made to bring glory to God and we do so by living in His purposes. As children of God, we are called to be in this world, but not of it. We live with an acknowledgement that the things of this world are not our end goals in life. We never want to become so fixated on this world that we neglect to see other opportunities the Lord has placed in front of us. When we keep in step with the purposes God has for us, we will find all that the world so desperately craves: safety, security, and comfort. By surrendering our methods toward obtaining these things and focusing our attention on Christ and his purposes, we find all that we had hoped for in the first place, but to God’s glory instead of our own.
The final question that comes to mind is how? How do we live on mission? The “how” will look different for each person, but there are a few things that stand out as common ways to stay engaged in a life on mission. The first is this: to live on mission, we must learn to be confident in who God is and what He says. One may argue this is easier said than done, but I would like to propose that it’s actually simple. It does, however, require time and intentionality. To be confident in who God is, you have to get to know Him personally. Spend time with Him and His Word, get to know His purposes and ways, what He has done for mankind since the beginning, and reflect upon what He has done in your life. This builds in us a sense of confidence and trust in Him and His Word, so that when He asks, “Want to go on an adventure with me?” we hear Him and can say, “Sure, let’s go!”
In more recent years, I have come to realize how critical this is. I will argue that Andy and I have some of the best family and friends surrounding us. They support us in all of our endeavors and offer wise and trustworthy advice. Be on the lookout for others—young, old, single, married, Christian, non-Christian—who are set on a life-giving trajectory, and keep them close. There will be days when you feel discouraged or unfocused. Having a community of world-changers around you will provide support when you are at your lowest.
Once again, this sounds too simple to be true, but when we have confidence in who God is and what His Word says, we can trust that when we are willing to pursue opportunities He presents, He will not let us down. He will plant in our lives further opportunities to pursue His purposes and give us provision to be able to do that. I can guarantee that things will be different than what you plan, as God often has bigger plans for us than anything we can come up with. He knows the desires of our hearts and wants to use those for His glory. He can only do that if we are willing. So just say yes, give Him the opportunity to prove himself to be faithful yet again, and see what our God will do.
Having a purpose for what we do has shaped even the seemingly insignificant decisions Andy and I make on a daily basis and has challenged us to reflect upon whether or not we are living on mission. It has expanded the range of our perspective past the mundanity of our to-do list and has allowed us to keep in the forefront of our minds the bigger picture of God and what He is doing in the world. Most importantly, it has given us the courage and confidence to trust in the Lord and say yes to the opportunities He places in front of us to glorify Him. Nowadays, I no longer dream of changing the world. Instead, I truly believe we are.