Newlyweds are dedicating their entire lives to sharing Jesus’ salvation at the risk of deportation and danger. A pastor is getting death threats in Colombia for teaching Jesus instead of drugs to high school kids. A father was targeted and killed in the Middle East for being an influential Christian leader.
Missionaries, not the comic book characters, have always been my heroes. The stories are amazing, exciting, and depressing.
“What am I doing for you, God? Am I wasting my life? I need a purpose, a mission.”
I fast and pray, and finally I hear, “I already gave you one, Mary.”
“Writing?” I laugh. “That’s not a legitimate mission, God. It’s like dreaming to be a princess.”
“I told you to write.”
“But, God, writing is the pipe dream of a poor, starving artist, and it doesn’t change people like missions in dangerous countries or neighborhood service.”
“Why have you been fighting me on this your whole life, Mary? You love writing.”
“Exactly, it’s my own selfish hobby. I spend hours behind a computer, barely reaching anyone. Shouldn’t I sacrifice in a dangerous country or walk around talking to people about you?”
“You always insist on doing something you hate, like holding babies in a third world country or being an extroverted evangelist.” It’s the same tone of voice as when my dad used to ask why I was so set on being miserable.
“Those things are more holy, God.” I’m pretty sure God was rolling his eyes. “Great people of God sacrifice everything for you. That’s what I want to do.”
“Who makes something holy and great, Mary?”
“You do, God.” I look at the floor.
“Then stop wasting your time chasing what I made other people love. Stop being jealous of what you think is holy and great.”
“How can it be good enough to spend all my time doing something I love? 5 a.m., on the train, any time I’m not distracted by the rest of life, I write.”
“You know you have to live for me in all your life. But I’m telling you to do your favorite thing in the world. Have a blast, enjoy it, stop looking for some other great way to serve me.”
“That’s not your problem, Mary. But greatness in practice looks ordinary. Abraham herded sheep. Paul sat in jail (and wrote).”
“Can I really get lost in writing for you without being a selfish pig?”
“I want you to write. I made someone else to have a blast holding babies in China, and I don’t want them to waste their time writing.”