Life on Mission

Life on Mission

Jun 23, 2017

by Katrina Goodrich

How do you live a Life on Mission? This is the question I’ve been contemplating throughout the year along with many others in response to our 2017 General Conference theme. I suspect that there are as many correct answers to this as there are people on the planet. Everyone’s life on mission looks just a little bit different in application — but the core of this missional life is sharing the love of Christ with the world (the Great Commission: Matthew 28:18-20).

It’s easy to get stuck in the personal application of the Great Commission if your mind works the way mine does. When I’m thinking about what it means for me personally to live on mission I tend to think I have to find one big cause to dedicate my time to (like starving children in Africa). If you have that calling — that’s great! I don’t know where my “big” calling lies or if I even have one. Just thinking about it can be intimidating. That intimidation leads to avoidance, and so on. For the past year I’ve been focusing on simplifying the how portion of living life on mission to two things I can do every day regardless of where I am, who I’m interacting with, and what the big picture might be.

1. Smile

“Attitude is like a cold — contagious. Make sure yours is worth catching.”

This motivational poster or some variation of it has shown up in just about every elementary school I’ve ever stepped foot into — as well as countless other places — because attitude is important. Smiles, too, are contagious and an important foundation for attitude, yours and others’. Smiles can be used in a variety of ways to reassure, comfort, communicate worth, approve, and in general convey happiness. A simple smile can have a lot of power. I don’t think we need to walk around with a perpetual goofy grin on our faces but we can be intentional about gifting a smile to those whom we come in contact with.

It may seem silly, but sometimes a simple smile is the only positive affirmation people may have that day. Next time you’re out and about, take a look at the faces of the people around you. I would say a majority of the people I’ve seen walk around scowling, or looking unhappy, or they have a sort of pleasant smile on their face (but it’s just what they put on when they leave their house in the morning — meaningless). When I’m walking around like this I tend to make eye contact with lots of the people passing by because I’m paying attention to the people around me. For those brief seconds of contact, I make sure I smile at them — no matter who it is. Honestly, most people on the receiving end of this look shocked that some stranger would smile at them. Most of them seem to have a moment of doubt, then when they realize you are truly smiling at them, their entire countenance can change and they smile back. If this works on strangers, imagine what it would do with people who you actually have meaningful contact with, who know you aren’t “just a happy person.”

It has been my experience that, as silly as it seems, a smile can make a huge difference!

2. Listen

Listening seems like a no-brainer. It’s surprising how many people will talk to you, trusting you with intimate details of their life, simply because you listen to them. I’ve heard a lot of life stories that just sort of spilled out unintentionally because I provided a listening ear. It opens an avenue of opportunity — much like smiling.

Smiling and listening are not where my life on mission ends — but beginning each day making a conscious decision to do both of these things is a start.

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