Patience has been defined as the ability to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. Passiveness is defined as accepting or allowing what happens or what others do, without active response or resistance. So how do we know when we are being patient or passive when it comes to the Lord’s plan for our lives?
Patience is something we all had to learn at KM during what seemed to be the worldwide quarantine of 2020. Pretty much all mission activity stopped and everything became a waiting game. We weren’t sure when we would be able to visit or send out new missionaries, but we were sure that God was in control. Now, waiting patiently for the next step of God’s plan was not exactly easy. There were days when it felt like we couldn’t do anything, “What good would it do, right?” This is when a little too much passiveness started to creep in. We were tempted to sit by on the sidelines, even though we knew God had called us to send missionaries to Europe.
So when this bit of passiveness started to creep in, that’s when we knew we had to shake things up. We began to dive deeper into opportunities in the online world and learned about how we could share our mission and message there. We dove deeper into member care (missionary care), even though it now meant phone calls, emails, and zoom meetings. We dove deeper into the zoom meeting world and had one of our best Mitarbeitertagungen (team retreats) ever. We chose to be patient, but not passive, and it has paid off.
Although at the beginning of 2020 we weren’t sure if we’d ever be able to send missionaries again, we had the opportunity to send a recruit/intern couple and two different trips this July and August to Ukraine and Albania. We had the opportunity to recruit more missionaries at ICOM and other missionary conferences. We went to different colleges and planted seeds in many students about becoming missionaries. Our usual KMUSA sending routine has had to change a lot in the last year and a half, but we chose – we choose! – patience instead of passivity.
This patient versus passive idea has been one I have been personally experiencing for a very long time. The season of life I’m in has given me lots of opportunities for decision-making and trying to figure out where God is leading me to. However, I have noticed I sometimes struggle and become passive in this waiting game of patience. When I find myself driving in ruts of passiveness instead of being actively patient, I first pray and ask for wisdom over my next decision, and then more actively seek opportunities to help better understand my calling, even though I don’t have it all figured out.
Many of our missionaries have identified some of the specifics of God’s calling on their lives, and they are now waiting in the pipeline for their opportunity to go. They are walking daily in a state of patience …and it is not easy. They are tempted to be passive while they wait, but we encourage them to instead stay active in the parts of the process they CAN control, and CAN do, so they “remain patient, but stay active.” This state of existence (PBA – patient but active) can look like developing relationships with supporters, learning the new language they’ll need in their host country, or finalizing other things that must be done before they can move.
Some missionaries, including those who haven’t quite figured out their complete calling yet, can become discouraged in waiting for it to be revealed. However, we challenge them to increase their prayer life and continue into a deeper walk with God instead of becoming passive and waiting on the sidelines.
Maybe you’re reading this article and wondering if you’re even called to do anything at all. I want to encourage you to be patient as your calling is revealed, but do not be passive. Take opportunities to think and learn more, and talk about God’s leading with someone you trust. Work at discovering what God has called you to do, and pray earnestly. Who knows? …maybe He is calling you to be a missionary.
Are you being patient or passive?
To find out more about discovering your calling, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our social media series on the subject!