“I tried calling you last week but I was unable to reach you.”
“Iyanu! I tried calling you.”
“Hi Iyanu, I hope all is okay. Please get back to me. I am really worried that you are not responding.”
These are some of the messages I found on my phone upon my return. I hear the care, I see the concern, I feel the love. This does not mean that I do not recognize that to others, I was M.I.A – Missing In Action. But was this truly the case?
I have been working on a project since May with an organization and on an issue I can only call Divine appointment. The working part, daily grind, pulling the 9am -5pm, sometimes 2pm -10pm or 5pm – 1am made sense to everyone. ‘It is the nature of the grind’, they would say. ‘You are always busy’ they commented, but they understood. At that time, I was simply doing the expected, the needful, the norm.
Truly, I had no business being chosen to partake in the program, and I didn’t understand why the Lord had directed me down this path until I finished the second part of the three stages. The stage I completed not too long ago required me to go with my team into the wilderness – a three-week character building adventure. The only thing not allowed on this trip was anything that was internet based. I struggled with this at first. To be shut out from “the world” as we know it. The daily pollution of information, noise, and entertainment. As someone who wears several hats in different areas (family, community, vocationally and socially), how was I to disconnect completely for three weeks? I tried to find ways to bend the rules, rebel against, even downright disobey the rules – but I felt a prick in my heart. A conviction that said, do it – give up the hustle and bustle for just a moment. Give up your distractions. Do not miss the reason for which you were guided to this very experience, at this very time.
So, I laid down all of my objections. I immersed myself into the wilderness adventure completely. I allowed myself to embrace the stillness, the silence, and hear what the world around me, what the Word within me, was saying without distractions.
To others, I was Missing In Action, but in truth, I was a Messenger On Assignment (M.O.A). I was being refined as I witnessed the way God moved through love and compassion in those three weeks among my team. A move so subtle, so gentle, so easily missed when one is not paying attention. I was witness to the development of character and affirmation of belonging that held the group together even in the toughest challenges we faced. A trait so understated that it would have been missed if one was not present in their presence. I was used as a tool to make a situation that could have been terrifying and draining, to be a catalyst to meaningful relationships.
I wasn’t M.I.A, I was M.O.A. Three weeks unplugged wherein people connected in authentic ways and God gets all of the glory. Three weeks wherein life as I know it is no longer the same.
Are you willing to let yourself get there? Will you allow yourself to get to a place where you are M.I.A in order to be M.O.A?