I’ve recently had the chance to dive head-first into the world of “External Focus.” Though I’ve had my fair share of one-time service projects and short-term trips, being mission-minded right where God has placed me is a newer concept. Suddenly, I’m seeing my neighbors and even local grocery store workers as people God has entrusted me to engage with, know, and love well.
The following are three ways God is giving me “fresh eyes” as I learn to live missionally:
“Things aren’t always as they appear.” I know that’s a commonly-used phrase. But really take an honest evaluation of your disposition towards the community around you. Because that viewpoint matters and changes how impactful you can be.
No matter how beautiful and perfect the community looks from the outside, choose to dig deeper. Only then can you learn the real story of individuals’ lives and their cultural undercurrents. Caring usually requires intentionality. Choose to be informed and know what is really going on in your neighborhood, local school, and City Hall. Make the choice to dig deeper.
It’s vital to keep a teachable spirit. Be a “learner” of the culture God has placed you in, whether you like where you’re located or not. If you are a believer, you are God’s child. He does not make mistakes. He can use you wherever… even in suburban America.
Make the choice to take a humble disposition. Be honest about that fact that you don’t know everything about those surrounding you. And remember that maybe the faces you see every day are just as desperate and in need of life as the children you hear about in West Dallas. Desperation comes in many forms.
Decide to be a learner of your community and local culture. Then, do what you can to meet a need.
God can use anyone. This means YOU.
No matter how you’re viewing yourself at the moment, what God says about you in His word is true. You are not saved or useful because you are somehow more “unique” than all the rest. God is big, great, and loving. He has chosen and redeemed you, declaring you can do every good work with Him (Hebrews 13:21).
You may be small, scared, or struggling with self-centeredness, but God has not moved from His throne of power and grace. Be encouraged that you are not too “messed up” or “uninformed” for God to use you in big ways to help those around you. Once you make the decision to be others-focused, you can trust God, initiate, and let Him show you just how big His plan is.
You don’t have to have it all together to engage and impact the world around you. All you have to do is trust God and take a step forward. Rely on His Spirit to work through you (Romans 8) and enjoy the journey of actively learning how to serve others well. It will undoubtedly change your heart and life forever.
What is God trying to show you about the community He’s placed you in? What can you do to fill a need?
Take a look at the new External Focus blog each week! Find us at www.watermark.org/blog/external-focus.