Letters of Life

When A Stylista Contemplates World Missions

All Things Bright and Beautiful

This post is dedicated to my gal-pal, Yv.

A month ago, I very badly wanted a gold pendant I saw at Tiffany’s. But Andre said I should not get it  “without any reason.” Some friends helped me find a reason in my upcoming wedding anniversary, now only a few days away.

Thing is, I don’t want it any more.

Something happened to me over the weekend. In a prayerful mood during service, a quiet voice inside my head told me that I needed to cut back on time-wasters like Facebook and shopping, especially window shopping. The amount of time spent at a mall could be so much more fruitful spent working on, say, a worship song.

Then in my mind’s eye, I saw myself in the basket of a hot-air balloon. It wasn’t up in the air, but hovering above the ground, still anchored by strings. I leaned out of the basket,  a big scissors in one hand. Snip! Snip! I was snipping the strings away, the ties that bound.

One string had to do with shopping.

If God is calling us, and we are ready to listen, He will prepare us. Oh, He knows how much I love pretty things, well-made things, kawaii things. But surely I will see more beautiful things from the hand of God than a man-crafted Italian clutch purse or a silver grey Dries Van Noten kimono silk blouse?

What does shopping have to do with the contemplation of cross-cultural missions? Not much, unless shopping distracts me and clothes and shoes and bags and accessories become things I idolize without knowing it.

These little idols insidiously steal my time, my energy, my money, and my thoughts away from pursuing instead the unseen treasures of eternity. 

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
He’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.  
The Message Bible, Proverbs 3:5–7

I was surprised that a recent errand to a mall drew a blank for me. Where once the candy-coloured trinkets and clothes would catch my eye and reel me into the shops like a hooked fish, I found the displays uninteresting. Of course, I didn’t cast lingering looks at them either. I know myself. Maybe I now have bigger fish to fry.

If we lift our eyes to the heavens rather than look at the faces of our idols, choose to look at the beauty of the earth, the glory of the skies, they have something to tell us about the brand of God, for nature in all its chic simplicity and elegant complexity bear the mark and all the promises of the Maker.

In the end, it’s the story of our lives that plays itself out in the mission field, for God is in the business of changing lives, not just those we serve, but our own too. In the same way that God found us, He will call us only if we search and listen and talk to Him everyday about our life, our loves, our hopes and our fears.

And if we’re lucky, we get to live out the dream that God gave to each and every one of us.

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