Thursday, March 6, 2014


“Why are you going to Africa? Just to say you lived in Africa?”

That was a question asked of me by one of the gymnasts I used to coach during college. At the time, I was in the midst of preparing for college graduation, a summer at camp, and the beginning of my YAGM experience. Needless to say, I kind of brushed it off.

Tonight, while listening to Moruti (pastor in Sotho) preach about the Gospel reading from Matthew 6, this comment came flooding back.

“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them…” Matthew 6:1

“But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret…” Matthew 6:6

Ok, I get it. Don’t show off. Don’t act all “high and mighty” because of your deeds. Don’t pray in public.

Wait… What?

I am pretty proud of my place in YAGM. I post pictures on Facebook and tell people about what I am doing. I pray out loud at meetings, aerobics class, and during church with other people. Oh gosh, what am I doing??

Honestly, it doesn’t take too much thinking (or listening to preaching) to realize that these words don’t have to be taken literally. The problem isn’t with the actions themselves.  The problem comes with the reasoning behind the actions.

Alright, I can agree with that. It is better to worship because you want to praise God, not because you want other people to see you worshiping. It is better to treat prayer as a personal conversation with God instead as a way to show others how great of a Christian you are and how good you are at using big words.

So… did I do YAGM just to say I lived in Africa for a year? Well, I sure hope not and I don’t believe so. I truly feel that I was called to do this and that God was behind it all. However, I would be lying if I said I didn’t look forward to the impressed looks on people’s faces when I tell them about my experiences. Does this mean that I’m doing this for the wrong reasons?

Despite my belief that God was behind my decision to do YAGM, I also believe that I will never truly understand God’s call and I could very easily misinterpret his plans. I know that I am but a human, broken and in need of God’s love and grace. I mess up, but God always seems to be there to pick up the pieces.

Although I may never understand God’s purpose for my life and I may have doubts about my reasoning for doing things, I know that it is ok to question and doubt. I mean, I am dust and to dust I shall return. I don’t think God expects dust to have it all figured out, right?

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