Friday, January 7, 2011

MK guilt and a missions conference

Tomorrow we're off on our annual week long holiday to a missions conference.  This conference is run by the mission group that my parents worked for when I was a little girl growing up in India.  I've been going to this conference forever and our kids have gone since they were born. It is a great conference with an incredible children's and youth program all run by volunteer young people (I did my time as a uni student helping out with the primary program for four years).

For many years I struggled going to this conference because I felt like we needed to GO.  That we needed to pack our bags and go to Africa/Cambodia/Alaska - whatever was the country of the moment.  This is what I call 'MK guilt'.  Not experienced by all, but experienced by many.  You grow up with such a strong sense of 'being a missionary is the hardest, most important, valuable thing you could be doing as a Christian' that anything else becomes a bit of a cop out.

So when we decided that Sydney was where we should be for the long haul, I couldn't believe it.  Downtown Sydney?  Truly?  How dull.

I have many peers who work as missionaries.  Kids I went to boarding school with are now Bible translators in India.  Friends from my youth group who work in other countries.  And it's truly hard.  It really is.  The isolation.  The distance from family and familiar things is very tough.  Bringing up kids in a different culture and language. I feel it.  I feel it so strongly.  So I go to this conference and struggle. I think 'what we're doing is just not HARD enough - does it count if it's not really hard?'.

A wise missionary friend said that she thought that it sounds like survivor guilt.  Like I got away with not having to do a hard thing and so now I feel bad about it.  But in reality, what have I done wrong?  Have I been unfaithful in what God wants of me? No. Does God love me any less?  No.

Grace, upon grace, upon grace.  It is God's grace - not what I do. And I am only really starting to understand it now - actually I'm only starting to understand that I don't really understand.  He saved me - not because of the righteous things I do/have done/will do.  Just because.

3 comments:

Deb L said...

REALLY?!!! Wow. I'd never really connected that feeling to having been an MK. When I'm tired, and feeling guilty about many things, I often feel I've failed by not "going". And I often feel guilty about living in Australia.

Peter Sholl said...

Have a great (guilt-free) week Jenny. By the way, the photo your chose for this post is excellent - I appreciate the big green country right in the middle of the world!

Jenny said...

Hard to find a picture of the globe without your part of the world smack bang in the middle - I suspect that might have a little to do with the country above you!