Just the Way You Are
Sometimes life is a lot simpler than you’d think. Really, we build up walls in our lives that create mazes, and get stressed out when we find all these dead ends which are the result of our own limitations. One way that I boxed myself into a maze was thinking that God could only use the equipped and capable to do His work, but thankfully those walls have been broken down and I’m living proof that the opposite is true.
At a young age I was determined that I would be a missionary when I grew up, although my idea of what a missionary was at the time was a little different. I thought I’d go off to some third world country where religion is banned and sneak in rosaries and food; I thought that it had to be a big dramatic rescue mission. As I grew up however, my desire to be a missionary went through a cycle of fading and growing, and eventually it got to a point where I just didn’t want to do it. It was such a scary thought! What if there wasn’t a response to the work I would try to do? It could be dangerous, am I really into my faith that much?
As my faith weakened over the years, so did my missionary spirit. However I did end up going on a short mission trip to the Dominican Republic, and the faith of the poorest of the poor slapped me across the face. Despite their sad situations where they had nothing to call their own, they had God, and that was enough. They had faith that I wasn’t even remotely close to having.
From that trip onward, I was on a mission to increase my faith also. My missionary desires started to come alight again, but I thought that I needed to get my faith-game on before I could even consider bringing Jesus to others. So I went to an institute for a year where I received amazing formation which was a great gift to me, and during that year I applied to NET thinking that now I was ready and worthy to evangelize. While it was really great that I had the opportunity to receive the formation I did at the institute, I realized after I got on NET training that I would still have a LOT of growing to do in the upcoming year regardless of all I learned.
Yes I had grown and I praise God for having had that experience, but I realized that wherever you are in life, you can always grow more. Even if I’d gotten a theology degree and had already done youth ministry work for a living, I’d still be challenged by my NET year. And I mean, challenged in the best of ways! NET won’t let you be spiritually stagnant…you couldn’t NOT grow in closer relationship with Jesus.
Now, It’s not that I’m doing NET because I was spiritually mature enough to do it; I’m doing NET because I had the desire to serve God, and HE is the one that is constantly giving me tools to do it His way and in His time. Through the way of life on NET, I’ve been inspired to strive after becoming the best version of myself for the glory of God, while also reaching out to my fellow youth and inviting them closer to Jesus. I thought that personal formation and ministry were two very separate things, but after coming to NET I’ve been led to believe the truth.
The truth is that formation and ministry work hand in hand: life with my beautiful team calls me higher and gives me plenty of opportunities to learn and grow, and sharing the goodness of the Truth with youth gives me the ability to apply all that I’ve learned.
So here I am, on NET, constantly learning and growing and increasing my faith in God. I had thought that in order to serve God as a missionary I would have to be perfectly formed in my faith myself first, but now that I’m on NET I’ve realized that formation never ends, it just gets more and more interesting. If you have any doubts about whether you’re ready or worthy to join NET, please please PLEASE put them aside. Who you are is enough, you are worthy, and NET is a great opportunity to continue forming your relationship with Jesus, while also bringing your fellow young people closer to Him.
“God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called,” ~Rick Yancey