Few people in the world have ever seen my angry except for family and other Missionaries because I am a fairly laid back and relaxed person. Certain individuals however have the power to turn me from calm and peaceful Bruce Banner into a furious incredible hulk (lets give teenagers a minute to go Google the words Bruce Banner before continuing shall we).
Don’t get me wrong I can put up with a lot of things, but opinionated people annoy me. Now please don’t think I’m saying it’s wrong for someone to have an opinion about subjects, obviously we should all be willing to stand up for our beliefs or ask for something we think is important. But we all have those friends who take it upon themselves to share their opinion on every single subject and of course have to be right every time. You know the people I’m talking about; the ones whose response to the question “what movie should we watch” is defended as if their very lives depended on it.
Part of my annoyance with these people comes from the fact that God made me non-confrontational, which means I rarely share my opinion about things strongly. Non-confrontational people are known to ask others for help, but only if their right arm has been severed from my body, and someone is beating them with it. My parents used to end every Skype conversation with the words “do you need anything” but stopped doing so because my answer was always no (even if I did need something). Being non-confrontational isn’t so much about low self-esteem but deals with having a passive personality (focuses on others who have much greater needs than mine) and the fact that there are enough people in the world demanding their rights or trying to win arguments.
Many people upon meeting me are surprised because I don’t fit their preconceived notion of what a missionary should be like. We have the idea that Missionaries should be a mixture of Jack Bauer, Macgyver (just Google it kids), and Indiana Jones. They must be courageous people who never show fear or weakness of any kind no matter what the danger. They can fix any problem without the help of others in less than twenty-four hour, have a growing ministry with people getting saved every week, and write tear jerking stories in their weekly prayer letters. In short, Missionaries are courageous, successful extroverts.
This is why when God called me to become a Missionary during my junior year of High School I laughed instead of accepting the call. My personality and non-confrontational nature didn’t fit the “swashbuckling and swinging from tree vines” view of missions. Thankfully the Lord helped me realize there are missionaries of every kind serving Him in foreign fields, and many of them aren’t outgoing extroverts.
Over the last six years I have seen the Lord use my passive personality to open many doors of ministry and provide countless opportunities to share the Gospel with the unsaved of Melbourne. The Australian culture is one that’s focused on relationships and earning respect with your character, which fits perfectly with a nature that cares deeply about the needs of others. Sure there are times when the Gospel must confront the sinful nature of individuals hearts, but even this can be done in a spirit of Love so that the Holy Spirit brings conviction.
There are many people in the world like me who when God calls them to be a missionary refuses because they don’t fit the idea of what missionaries should be. The good news is there is definitely a need for the strong extroverted missionary, but there is also a need for missionaries with a non-confrontational lifestyle. Yes there is such a thing as a non-confrontational missionary, because the Gospel does all the confrontation and conviction on it’s own, and doesn’t need our help.