Choose wisely

Had another one of those “What the heck am I doing here?” moments last Friday, attending a large prayer conference in a soccer arena near Cairo, Egypt. Of the 4,000 to 5,000 people attending, Lincoln and I were the only non-Egyptians.

beitelwadi-7171These moments happen quite often now. I’ve found myself in refugee camps just a few miles from a war zone, at the scenes of natural disasters, lost in a Middle Eastern city … even aboard a pirate ship at the edge of the Baltic Sea. The adventure quotient in my life has shot through the roof since I left a successful career teaching college journalism to follow God’s calling to the uncertainty of missions journalism.

There’s another, less attractive side, of course. My wife and I sold our house and lived for a year in a shed (today we rent a duplex). My income dropped to zero for a while, and today it’s still not even one-third of what it once was. We don’t know exactly where we’ll be living or what we’ll be doing in six months. I’d be lying if I said any of that felt fun or adventurous. We do know that all of this uncertainty leads Godward, and that motivates us to persevere.

I believe most people get a choice in life: safety and predictability, or adventure. Depending on your circumstances and personality type, great good can be accomplished in either route. But: If you’re wired for one route and have chosen the other, you will spend a lot of time feeling restless, frustrated, bored or scared.

I once read a column in The Onion titled, “Find The Thing You’re Most Passionate About, Then Do It On Nights And Weekends For The Rest Of Your Life.” It was The Onion at its cynical best, mocking all the self-help books and speakers urging people not to settle for a humdrum existence — when reality says you’re stuck with the path you’re on.

You’re not. Having experienced a nagging restlessness that eventually became a raging storm and led to a leap of faith, I can tell you that comfort and safety are vastly overrated – especially if God is calling you to an area of great need.

H. Jackson Browne Jr. wrote: “Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor.” In other words, faith comes before clarity. If that means jumping off a diving board when you’re still not sure how much water is in the pool – which is almost always the case – then the real question becomes: How much do I trust God?

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3 Responses to Choose wisely

  1. Wow, thanks for sharing! I’m a journalism student in college right now, and I want to do mission work & “missions journalism/photography” after graduation. Definitely had one of those “what in the world am I doing here” moments on my way home after helping out at a Sunday Night Youth event.

    • Jim Killam says:

      Thanks for the comment. I’d love to hear more about what God is calling you toward in journalism and photography. Opportunities will be many in the coming years. – Jim

      • I’ve been working for a missions organization that works in Nicaragua for the past 2 years, but I’m moving on temporarily? to youth ministry. I love writing and photography, and so I hope to travel as a missionary after graduation doing communications work and telling stories of people across third-world countries. I’d love to hear more about what you’re doing as well. Shoot me an email if you have some time (address is on my website @

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