Ready to hit the mission field? Do you have a lot of thoughts and questions swirling around your head? How will the people respond to me? What will the missionaries I work with be like? Will I make a difference? We can have lots of questions and expectations that intentionally or unintentionally go with us.

John 12:24
“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

We, too, are called to die to ourselves and that includes our expectations for our lives. Instead, we are called to embrace God’s direction for our lives and with it, the successes and failures, desolations and connections that might exist within it. Whether you are taking a short term trip or planning to serve for an extended time, here are three expectations that could hinder your effectiveness on the mission field.

You need to die to the expectation of the experiences you will have. It will be hard and your experiences will not always be easy. If you are going because you think it will be full of glorious encounters you will be very disappointed. But if you go with expectations that it will be hard and stretching and uncomfortable and sacrificial, then when you have great experiences where you will say “wow, how blessed I am that I get to experience this”…. versus being bitter when your experience doesn’t match what you had hoped.

You need to die to your expectation of the missionary you will serve alongside. Don’t expect that the missionary you work with is super spiritual and is error proof. When you get to know the missionary you are working with. They are normal human beings just like you who are walking in obedience to God’s call on their life and making some mistakes along the way. Instead of being disappointed by their mistakes, give them grace. You also need to go with a heart to serve and not with an expectation of what you will get from the missionary. Then when you do receive something from the missionary you will be grateful for what was provided and not disappointed you didn’t get more from them.

You need to die to your expectation of the fruit you will bear. You need to go with a sense that you will serve but not that you will be lauded as God’s gift to the nation you are serving. As you serve and you see the miracles that God does actually use you in, then you will be excited and thankful that God used you in even one small way instead of disappointed that you didn’t see the masses impacted.

If you die to these things, then you will be dying to self and positioning yourself for greater effectiveness in the harvest. The Lord wants to do great things in you and through you.

Take time to pray right now. Lord, what are my expectations? Reveal any that are harmful or unrealistic. Will you help me to die to them today? Create in me a new heart and a renewed mind that I may serve you fully.

special thanks to Pete Bullette and UVA Chi Alpha’s resource Give A Year: Heart Issues