Kyle Shreve- Missionary to Peru

I am not a movie star. I don’t have a book about me either
December 22, 2013, 8:15 am
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Well, after 2 months away, I’m finally back with a new post. I know blogs are supposed to be 600 words or less. This one isn’t. I guess if you average out 2 months inactivity with a long blog post, it averages out. I hope so.

Books and movies aren’t about the norm

If you’ve ever read a fictional book, or watched a T.V. show or movie, you should quickly notice one thing: it isn’t about everyday life. That would be boring. Really boring. Besides, we already  know what that would be like, because we live an everyday, normal life on a pretty much daily basis. Sure, there are times that we go on vacation, or have some out of the ordinary experiences, but for the most part we have “everyday life” covered pretty well.

And that’s why authors and directors don’t make books and movies about taking your children to school, running some errands, working 9-5 and having the weekends off, or getting the oil changed. Or if they do, there’s usually some kinds of crazy, unexpected plot twist that forever changes the main character’s life. But I’ve never been abducted by terrorists on my way to Subway. And I doubt you have either.

Movies and books sell so much because they’re about what never happens to us, not what always happens to us. Honestly, a movie about my life would be pretty boring after about 8 seconds.(Hint: it involves lots of phone calls, and driving on the interstate, with some preaching mixed in there.)

Another key element of these modes of media is that they are all about a main character or group of characters, and  how they have to overcome problems. Even when said characters are fighting for a greater good, the emphasis is (usually) placed on their individual struggles and hardships in relation to that greater good.

They all follow the same pattern

Growing up, I loved movies. I spent most of my income on them, and really had a fair sized collection of them. And after watching them, over and over and over, I came to have a little bit of what you might call a “silver screen complex.” Here’s what I mean:

Movies/books generally follow a similar plot line.

1-Main character/characters are introduced

2-Problem/conflict arises

3-Character/characters must rise to the challenge (usually life altering, or greater than any previous challenge)

4-Resolution of conflict and conclusion

I understand that this is not the only plot line for books and movies. But you would be hard pressed to find one that doesn’t have those basic elements in them.

So, as an avid movie and book fan, I kept waiting for that one moment when something dramatic would happen to me. I was always waiting for a cataclysmic event to radically alter my life, and have to rise above a challenge like no other. But it never came. I had “silver screen complex:” always looking for movie-like events to pop up in my life

Pictured: not my daily routine

Pictured: not my daily routine

I often felt like I was doing the same thing, over and over: get up, go to school, sports practice, work, homework, bed, and repeat. Even in Bible college, there was some of the same kind of repetitious schedule to my life. And, to be honest, even on deputation, there is a great deal of the same cycle: Get up, make phone calls, go to meetings, go to bed, repeat.

To be honest, I can’t think of one single thing in my life that would make for a great movie or book. Sorry. I’m not a movie star. And if you’re reading this, guess what? I doubt you are either. Sorry.

Don’t try to live a movie life

I’ve pretty much given up waiting for that one catastrophic event or life changing moment. Will bad things, and unexpected circumstances happen to me? I’m sure they will. Will I find out that I’m actually a robot, created in some kind of science experiment by the C.I.A.? Doubtful.

So what? Since we’re seemingly relegated to being normal people, who will never have books or movies about us, what can we do? Slog through our ho-hum life and hope to get transported back in time so we can have some real fun? I don’t think so. I don’t even think we should really look for those “movie or book” moments either, to be honest. But I’m also not living a boring life. Not at all. And I don’t feel like I have to discover a deep, hidden secret to have validation and justification for my existence.

I have my life. The life of Kyle M. Shreve. What I can do, and what you can do is this: live your life serving God as best you can, and be faithful in everything you have been given. I’m not promising that you’ll be a missionary and get to live in another country (but you can if you want, you know. We need all the help we can get  down in South America). I’m not promising you that you’ll get to preach to a million people on a grand stage. But here’s what I will say: you will live the best life a Christian can live.

Created to NOT be the main character

It might seem like a small and boring thing, at first, to “just serve God” with your life. But for myriad reasons, that is what our life is to be about: God and not us. I am a servant of the Lord Jesus, and my life does not belong to me. Or at least according to 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 I’m not. That says that my body and spirit are bought with a price, and belong to God.  I’m not the main character of my life. Jesus is. My “movie/book life” isn’t about Kyle Shreve. It’s about Jesus Christ, living and working in me. My job is just to serve Him, and let him work.

Here’s a truth I’m starting to learn, that at first was very uncomfortable and a great blow to my ego, but has really been more of a comfort than anything to me of late: I am probably not going to be the next Charles Spurgeon. I doubt I will every preach to thousands of people. I doubt I will ever be in a history book. I’m just going to be a normal guy, live my life serving God, die, and spend eternity with Jesus. (which is a pretty good deal, by the way.)

So how is that a comfort? Because it really allows me to not worry about my life. I used to fret and feel so insecure that other people were doing things that I wasn’t. This person got married at a younger age than I did. This person went on more missions trips than I did. I didn’t have the experiences of other people. I often felt like a character in a B-movie, compared to a bunch of blockbuster, bestsellers. Honestly, I felt too boring and normal to be used of God.

But here’s the truth: that’s not my responsibility. I’m not called to live a crazy life and have all these wild experiences. I’m called to be a servant of God and live every area of my life in obedience and service to Him. I’ll let Him write the script.

Not an excuse to be lazy

However, let me add this before you draw the wrong idea: This is not an excuse to do nothing with your life and call it serving Jesus. Serving Jesus ought to take a serious investment of your life. Literally, it ought to touch and control every area of your life. This is not an excuse to sit on the pew idly, and claim that you didn’t get the William Carey script for your life.

If you’d get up and start serving, maybe you’d find out that God would do something with your life besides the normal routine and rut you’re stuck in! I highly doubt that when Peter began following Jesus he knew he’d preach to thousands at Pentecost and be the apostle of the Jews. He just though, “Hey! This is what I’m supposed to do, so let’s see what happens!” I think you would be shocked and delighted what God would do in your life if you would surrender to serve Him in every area of your life.

Will it involve corporate espionage and death defying car chases? I don’t know anyone like that, and I’m blessed to work along some modern heroes in missions. So I doubt you and I will live up to the insane standards set by movies and books. But that’s okay. We’re not called to do so.

You and I, normal people, are called to serve God. Let’s just let Him fill in the details, and I think we’ll be pleasantly surprised with what He does. I love serving Jesus with my life. I might not ever jump out of a helicopter as it explodes, and I’m okay with that. I get to serve the creator of everything with and in the life He has given me, and I will be content and pleased to do so.

Slow motion scenes not needed.