If I had a tagline for my life, this would be it. It's the phrase God spoke time and time again. Today's no different. Again his patient voice says, "Trust me".
Even at thirty-one, I'm still figuring out this thing called life. I watch people around me take tests to figure out what jobs best suit them, what personality type they are and I don't fit into any of the categories. I've been spoiled for the ordinary. Missionary life will do that, especially if you've been in it since you were a kid.
Most people think missions is living in some third world culture, in a shack, with sandals on dirty feet. Not me. I grew up in Hawaii with sandy beaches, palm trees and pineapples. Yes, you can be a missionary in Hawaii.
I was six when my mum joined an organisation called Youth With A Mission (YWAM). I spent my days climbing trees, playing chase or capture the flag. I remember one especially great day when my friends and I decided to re-enact a scene from Jurassic Park. There was a huge field where about thirty of us pretended to be dinosaurs and chased after the humans. It was brilliant. When I was eight my mom and I lived in Belize for three months. We went there to help build a preschool. I remember seeing iguanas in the trees that were taller than me and I pet a jaguar named Teeka.
My life was charmed.
It wasn't without hardship, but I never remembered where I'd scrapped my knee. I was too busy going off on some new adventure, turning whatever tree I found myself hanging from into a massive spaceship. Trouble really started when I'd see the other kids jump out of the tree into the arms of their dad. I didn't have one, but these fathers would turn their faces toward me and I'd hear God's voice echoed by them as they'd reach up their arms and ask me to trust them. It was scary to jump but I did it.
When I was eighteen I took a Discipleship Training School (DTS) with YWAM. Only a month had passed since the events that rocked our world on 9/11 and I'm sure my mum was thrilled to send her only daughter half way across the world. I still remember her standing outside the security checkpoint, unable to cross with me. We'd hugged and said goodbye and she watched as I made my way through the line.
At the security stop, they asked me to take my shoes off and put my hands out so they could frisk me. Me? Was I really considered a threat? Plastering a brave smile on my face I did as I was told and looked back at my mom's concerned face. I knew God was echoing the words to both of us now. "Just trust me."
Thus the adventures began. The next eight years I lived and learned in some of the most exotic places. Each time was a new adventure in trusting God. I learned what it means to counsel others from a biblical perspective. I learned how to be a modern day prophet through the craft of acting. I learned how to tell a story well, both written and through the powerful medium of film.
All the while gaining new friends, until finally, God said "trust me"and settled me in a foreign land. A land of wallabies, snakes and spiders. I'd gotten used to the routine of living three to nine months in one location before moving on so when He told me to trust him and settle in one place it was like my roller coaster had jerked to a sudden halt and I spent the next few years dealing with the whiplash.
Living in Australia has been unlike any other culture I've experienced. The culture and people I was used to were kind, overly polite, and in some places plastic perfect. It took me two years to realise that my friends meant "I like you"when they made fun of me. My inner child would look up to my Daddy's eyes full of question and He kept saying "Trust me". It was agonising, I loved it here, but I hated it too.
I wanted to run away but I knew if I did I'd turn into Jonah and I really didn't want to meet his whale. Over time I got used to being settled, I hung pictures on the wall and everything. It was terrifying, but I did it and I'm so grateful I did.
Every time life becomes comfortable and routine, God shows up with his game changers and asks me to take a risk, jump off a mental bridge and seize the bull by the horns. I don't like seizing bull horns.
Life's become a bit too comfortable lately and I know God is whispering again. "Trust me."I've said yes to an opportunity and while I can't publicise the details yet I can say it's definitely going to be out of my comfort zone. It'll be demanding, busy and a lot of responsibility but I know it's the next step. If I don't choose it then my life will become stagnant, dull and I'll become fat and lazy.
Here comes another fight with the bulls.
Part of me is dreading the future but every time I turn to God, my eyes pleading, he takes my shoulders and says, yet again, "Just trust me."
Here's to the next adventure.
Charis Joy Jackson is working as a full-time missionary with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) a non-profit organization in Brisbane. During the day she makes movies and in her spare time is writing a novel. www.charisjoyjackson.com
Charis Jackson's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/charis-jackson.html