I came to this country with the intent to work doing something that I am passionate about and trained in--establishing righteousness and justice in the agriculture/agribusiness field and working to see humankind's task of stewarding over God’s creation is fulfilled in a God glorifying way--while also striving to share my personal hope and spread the Good News to those around me. In overseas contexts this is often called working as a “dual identity person”. I think it can also simply be referred to as the daily life of a working believer, but in the realm of overseas kingdom work this “dual identity” approach is unique in that it by necessity embraces a holistic approach to kingdom expansion. However, I am beginning to see how challenging and faith building this life can be.
As my life has been getting more and more busy (trying to finish language school, taking profesional development courses, building more relationships and friendships with locals), I have been feeling more and more like my time and ability to fulfill my different roles here is becoming increasingly limited. My team leader, who has been living overseas as a “duel identity person” for more than 20 years, shared with me what he has found to be a key in this role. You have to have faith in God in the things that you are not doing.
At first I found this obvious; of course I have to have faith in Him in all things, including the things I am not doing. And yet, I had never thought about it deeply before. It is so easy to have faith in Him in something that I am doing, because I can see what is happening, I even subconsciously feel like I have some sort of control over things. But to have faith in God to work in something that I am not actively participating in to the point where I am at peace leaving it undone… that is difficult.
Practically for me it looks like this: I have responsibilities as a student, as an employee, and as a servent of God (although they are not so neatly separated). Sometimes the homework will pile up and that means I might have to postpone a meeting with someone who I have been having spiritual discussions with so that I can focus on glorifying God in my work by doing--because I belive that this work honors Him. I have to have faith that He is Faithful, that He is still working in that persons heart, and that He has called me for this purpose. I have to have faith that even though I am not doing the “ministry part”, that it is God who provides the growth. And conversely, there will be times where the Spirit is moving in such a powerful way and He provides a really unique opportunity to share my life with my neighbors, but at the expense of putting in hours on a work project. I have to have faith that He is Faithful, that He is guiding my steps, that He has called me here for this purpose. I have to have faith that He is sovereign over our development work here, and that He will take care of those things as I walk into the opportunity He has laid out for me. I must have faith in God in the things that I am not doing.
My prayer is that we all would grow in this type of God exalting faith, and that it would free us from worry and doubt.
Photo by Ehimetalor Unuabona on Unsplash