I've set out to be a sold out believer.
I've armed myself with the Word, pledged my allegiance to God and stated as much here with much bravado.
And then *crickets*
I sat with my chin in my hand trying to figure out what that looks like practically.
When I look at the world as a whole, there are LOTS of opportunities to make a difference.
So many, in fact, that I just want to curl up in a ball and cry.
From the uprising in Egypt to Pastor Saeed in Iran and starving children everywhere, abused and neglected children right in my own back yard...it's downright overwhelming.
It took me about 2.3 seconds to realize I had no direction.
And 2.4 seconds to feel defeated.
It was a quick revival.
And then I sat back and thought about it: looking at the world as a whole is far too overwhelming for one person (hello?!)
But if I break it down and piece it out in chewable portions, I see that it starts with me and 1 other person.
Jesus didn't come to change laws or act as a political figure (much to the Jews' dismay at the time). Instead, He came to change hearts. He came to relate to people and build relationships and respond in ways that were unexpected and unorthodox (pun intended).
He built rapport with each and every person He came into contact with.
And that's how I can start.
So, while my field of influence may not be orphans in Ethiopia (for now anyway!), building schools in Uganda or teaching English in Haiti--all WONDERFUL THINGS--but not the season in life where I am currently. My mission field starts with the woman in front of me at the bank, the guy who cut me off in traffic, the young girl who talked and giggled through the movie, the rude cashier, the construction worker who parked in my driveway and acted annoyed when I asked him whose car it was, and--most importantly--my husband and children.
That's where I start.
Practically speaking, my mission field is no further than the tip of my nose.
How I act in each situation can have as much impact as hand-carrying Bibles to Africa.
My point here is not to sound like I'm a missionary hater.
Far from it, In fact, growing up, I longed to be a missionary and even planned a teen missions trip to Zimbabwe in my senior year. I envisioned living in a hut in a third world country, loving on and teaching the natives about Jesus.
So, I'm a little off target from that.
(I sometimes feel like I'm a foreigner in a strange land surrounded by little people who want to tie me to the stake, does that count?)
But to point out that you don't have to be on foreign soil to minister.
How we treat each person we come in contact with can change the world.
Sound overly simplistic?
Think about it...we may not be able to change the world all at once, but just by loving on one person, that can have a domino effect. That person loves on someone else, and that person loves on someone else, and so on...
That's how the world will change.
So that's where I'm starting.
By being kind to my neighbors, even if their kids aren't always that kind to my kids.
Teaching our children that just because someone else doesn't believe what we believe and says so in a mean way doesn't give us the right to spew negativity back at them. Instead, we should respond with love and patience.
That lady who complains about my dog all the time, for barking and pooping and well, being a dog? I'll take her brownies after she gets home from having open heart surgery.
That woman down the street who isn't fond of children and looks at us like we are the anti-Christ as she does a head count every time she sees us out? We'll continue to smile and say hello.
I can't promise I'll be perfect at this.
But it's the power of one I'm working on. Me.
Who knows what God will call us to in the future. Maybe it will be planting crops in a third world country. For now, we're going to keep our eyes open and see where this wild ride leads us--even if that's only a block away.