A few weeks ago I did an email interview with a missionary in Uganda. She's been there for just under a year and living with three other missionaries. Some of her insights, along with the general atmosphere of the world and culture today, brought to mind a series of questions I've been pondering. Let's just dive right in:
If you stripped away all your hobbies, interests, favorites (including television shows, books, movies, flavor of coffee, etc), tastes (in clothing, decorating, music, type of vehicle...)--what would be left? How would you define yourself and how would others define you?
How would people describe me if they couldn't include that I'm a fan of the Green Bay Packers, I drink lots of Diet Dr. Pepper and I enjoy reading and writing? What if all the opinions and preferences from the last 25 years were stripped away and I was simply left with who God made me?
Would I be happy with what was left? Perhaps I would be left with nothing, because who I am is based on the very things I've stripped away. Or perhaps I'd find the real me--the one created by God for His glory and I've let the world and its distractions taint the real me.
In the interview with the missionary, she said something that really struck a chord with me. Before leaving for Uganda, she had in mind what she would be doing in Uganda, but when she got there she discovered that it wasn't about what she "brought to the table." She went to Uganda expecting to reach others through art and teaching art. When she got there, she discovered that they didn't need or have time for art. We're raised to believe we all must bring something to the table--to have something to contribute to make the world better. Or just something to help make our mark on the world.
But is that what we really need? Don't we just end up defining ourselves by our hobbies and preferences, rather than as a child of God? A creation of God, made in His image? And when all is said and done, isn't that what really matters?