"Ask yourself…" by Jamie The Very Worst Missionary


by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Attention Rally to Restore Unity participants! I want you to stop whatever you are doing right now…which I suppose is reading this post…and go subscribe to a blog. The blog belongs to Jamie Wright—known as Jamie The Very Worst Missionary—a writer and missionary from Costa Rica who I'm convinced is the best new storyteller on the Internet.

I’ve been bugging Jamie about writing a guest post for months now, and finally broke down and pulled the whole God-told-me-He-wants-you-to-write-a-post-for-my-rally card, which because she is a missionary, Jamie is required by law to acknowledge. I’m so glad that she heeded "the call" because below you will find an excellent piece about unity, toes, mouths, and missionaries...after you subscribe to Jamie's blog, of course.  

Ask Yourself...
by Jamie The Very Worst Missionary 

I knew she was a missionary before we even shook hands.  The long denim skirt and yellow Crocs tipped me off, but the gold cross on the outside of her turtleneck was the clincher.  

We chatted for a minute, then the conversation turned to the subject of school.  Naturally, her brood of MK dorks is homeschooled, but she asked me about the school in which I had recently enrolled my kids. As I talked, I watched her eyes dart from my nose ring to the blue bra strap peeking from under my tank top, and then down for a quick glance at my peep toe shoes and trampy red polish.

This chick was sizing me up!  

When she was done, her face took on a sour note of disapproval, and then she said something that really pissed me off.  She said, “Well, it sounds like you’re happy with that school, but we’re Christian missionaries, so the environment we expose our children to is extremely important to us.”

And I was like, “Are you kidding me?! Seriously? Ok, first of all - That’s just plain offensive.  I mean, do you honestly believe that you care more about your kids that I do because you’re a missionary, or a Christian, or whatever? Really?!  Because that has got to be one of the most ballsy, arrogant, self-righteous things anyone has ever said to me.  Oh, and second? Um. I’m a missionary, too! Thankyouverymuch.”

It’s true. I said all of that… In my head… Nine hours after the actual conversation took place. 

In a different version of the same you-know-what-I-shoulda-said moment, I imagined myself saying something like, “Listen, Lady. You need to ask yourself: Does what I’m about to say make me sound like a douche? And, then, if it does? Don’t say it.”

By the end of a full day of silent, but carefully crafted comebacks, I was questioning how it is that we could both be on the same team, both missionaries to the same place, pursuing the same God.

 What’s funny is that, in a lot of ways, I had done the exact same thing to her.  I had looked her up and down, made assumptions about her as a person, disparaged her character based on her attire, and thought something like “My kids would eat your kids alive”. So now who’s the douche?

 That’s right - She is!

Ok, Ok. So am I.  Honestly, I can be a real douche sometimes.

I would just love to wrap up this story by telling you that we became good friends and now she’s teaching me how to crotchet socks and I’m teaching her how to… shop online… But we aren’t friends and we likely never will be.  And that’s ok.  

Actually, I think this is one of the greatest and most beautiful pictures of unity in the Church.  A body, made up of many different parts, somehow working together to share the love of a Savior with the world.  And I love that a big toe and a mouth, for example, weren’t designed to hang out together but, still, they manage to be part of the same body.  In fact, you probably do your best to keep them apart.  

Are your mouth and your toe unified? Absolutely. Are they BFFs? Probably not.

The key is to let them each serve their purpose while recognizing that they both have a place within the bigger design.

In the same way, my condescending acquaintance and I can both be “called” (with emphatic finger quotes) as missionaries to Costa Rica, even though we are so vastly - and I mean vastly - different. There’s nothing that says we even have to like each other. But if we’re two parts of one body, we must respect each other, and allow one another to serve in the capacity for which we were each created. 

Yeah. It’s, like, way harder than it sounds. 

So, in the spirit of Unity and with the Hope of being a small part of a healthy body of believers, I’ve started to ask myself: Does what I’m about to say make me sound like a douche? And I’ve found myself quieted on more than one occasion. 

And that is exactly why I didn’t mention which one of us I think is the toe.

…See how that works?

***

Oh and God told me to tell Jamie to tell you to donate to Charity:Water.

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