In the conversation, Jason Lee shares what it was like to answer the call into the missions field. We also discuss the process of trial and error we go through as we step out of our comfort zones to find our God-given identity.
In This Episode
- The process of integrating into different cultures
- Our passions and interests change at different stages in life
- Taking risks to test and find who we really are
Jason: I believe that God tailor makes certain things according to the purpose of your life. For example, one of my life purposes became to travel the world to integrate into other cultures and to learn other languages. So I’ve learned two foreign languages and in order to do that, that again is where memory would come into play and being able to memorize different verb conjugations, different nouns, to build up a vocabulary and to be able to begin to piece it all together.
Charles: Where did that desire come from to have that desire to integrate into different cultures do you think?
Jason: It was definitely God-given. I wouldn’t say it was something that I initially knew would happen. In 2004 I got invited by another friend of ours, Mario from Mario’s Music Company. He’s also a good friend of ours by the way for anyone who might be listening. He’s from that same vein of me and you. We met each other back then and even though we may not have much direct contact today our relationship whenever we’re together remains strong. Actually, one of the people who encouraged and inspired me, and mentored me the most, he used to say, “There’s no Lone Rangers in the body of Christ. There’s on Lone Rangers as a believer.”
One of those people would definitely be … should I say names?
Charles: Yeah, absolutely.
Jason: Yeah. That okay?
Charles: Yeah, if you feel comfortable.
Jason: Yeah. One of those people would definitely be pastor Warren Hood from the Living Word Fellowship. He was and I’ll say is, even though I haven’t seen him or I haven’t had contact with him in many years, he was and still is instrumental in my development because he sacrificed his time. He and I spent many hours just him and I, him pouring his life into me and teaching me, answering my questions.
So, I got invited to a mission trip back then, that was my first experience out of the United States, I was 22 at the time. Once I went on that trip I knew immediately that this was something that I wanted to do with my life. It was like, it was just … God spoke to me, if you will, right at that time. It was only four short days in Mexico helping poor Mexican families, playing with their kids, building them a small house where they had electricity. They were living in very, very poor conditions and so we went and did that for a few days. And that changed my life. And from that point I knew just what I wanted to do. Like I said, that was 2004.
In 2006, I made the decision to journey out full time and I’ve been living overseas since then.
Charles: Yeah. You’ve been in several countries, right?
Jason: Yeah, yeah. I’ve kinda lost count. I have not sat down … In the beginning I used to count and be like, “Oh yeah, five countries.” But it’s somewhere around, I’m not the most extensively traveled as people would be way more, it’s somewhere around 25 maybe, 25.
Charles: They’re mostly European countries?
Jason: No, they’re mostly Latin American countries. But I’ve also been to South Africa. Where else have I been? I have been to various countries in Europe being that I live in Germany and European countries are pretty easy to travel to. I was recently in Norway for the first time a couple of weeks ago and that was pretty cool. So, mainly Latin American countries plus European and South Africa. I don’t really have a blueprint or a pattern. In my own words I understand a little bit about my calling as far as being a believer and having a calling and a purpose given to me by God. And based on that I try to move in the direction of keeping my ear tuned into what God is speaking to me.
And now being that I’m married, I have a wife and three kids, just being sensitive and tuned in to what He’s telling us and that He’s showing us at any given time. Not holding on too tightly to anything in this world but being ready and able to let it go and move to where God wants us to be. And that doesn’t make much sense probably to most people but that’s kind of my process. I just know when I know, and then I go.
I think that in a person’s life, at least in mine it’s like that, that our passions shift. It doesn’t mean that we lose them it just means that different interests and different purposes and different things play different key roles and kind of shift in importance at different times throughout our life. Right now, to be honest with you, my greatest passion is inspiring people. I wake up thinking about how I can be close to God because I know that He’s my source. And from there how I can be a blessing, and this is not just a sound cliché, how I can encourage my wife, how I can set up a day, set up an environment that she can grow and flourish in and my kids the same way. And then when I go to work, the same thing. How am I using my life to influence, to encourage, to strengthen, and to give hope to people. That’s one of the things that I love to do. And at the same time to receive it.
To be honest with you, by the way Charles, you’re someone who inspires me, believe it or not.
Charles: Well brother, I appreciate that.
Jason: Just watching, from a distant a bit, but watching your development over the years and seeing some of the things you’re doing now. This show, The Conversation, and not only that but beyond that you inspired me, and I told you this already, but I’m saying in the show now. You inspired me just a few weeks back, once we got into closer contact again, just by your belief, if you will. Someone from the outside saying, “Hey, I noticed certain things about you and wow you’re good at this and you’re good at that. And, hey, how about you do this or you do that? And just kind of giving me these ideas?” That was a major inspiration to me and really added some fuel to my tank.
Yeah. We all need it, we all need it. We all need inspiration and we all need to be an inspiration to someone else.
Charles: Absolutely. Well actually one of the ways that you actually kind of inspired me a way is to take steps out of my comfort zone a little bit. I think that everybody has that desire but a lot of times we don’t always know how to express it. A lot of times we’re always trying to look for a vein of being able to express it in an effective way. But a lot of it is about trial and error.
Jason: Yeah. You just said a mouthful right there. And it’s funny ’cause I was just thinking that. Like I said, it’s so basic but if we’re not paying attention and if we’re not intentional, and if we’re afraid to take risks we’ll miss it. And that is exactly what you just said, trial and error. That is one of the greatest keys. That is one of the keys that I practice every single day. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. There’s a difference, and I’ve done both. I’m not trying to sound like that. But there’s a difference between blatant wrong and a genuine mistake. As we’re testing out the waters, as we’re discovering who we are, as we’re looking to grow we have to be willing to take risks and make mistakes. We have to be willing to fall and get up. And through that process, pursuing that within all of that, we will become successful, we will understand more. We will come forward. It’s an amazing thing. That’s one of the keys, you just said it.
Charles: Right, right. And it isn’t until you take those steps that, yeah, you might make a misstep, but all of a sudden a door opens that you wouldn’t have ever seen before. For whatever reason, it’s like you have to get out of your comfort zone and feel stupid sometimes in order for a door to open.
Jason: Yeah. And I love these kind of topics, I really do. Because life is a real art. Life is to be lived intentionally. It can’t happen on accident. It’s not just this attitude of I’m just maintaining, I’m just getting by, I’m just trying to make it. We gotta get away from that mentality. I escaped that mentality. I broke out of it. And the way I live now is I live risky. I live risky, not meaning foolishness, but meaning my desire, my heart is to, as best I can, do what God is telling me to do. Do what I believe God is telling me to do. Living life risky, not afraid to make mistakes [crosstalk 00:11:05].
Charles: Yeah, man, I totally agree with you as far as just taking little steps here and there. It doesn’t have to be anything huge or ground-breaking, but just enough for you to say, “Yeah. I took that step.” And you can look back at it and say, “Yeah. I felt a little stupid back then but look what happened afterwards.” If I hadn’t have done this, then maybe this might have never happened.
Jason: I would say along with that, another huge key and something that we all fall into, some more than others, some less than others, but we all do it and we need to learn to master the art of being ourselves-
Jason: … for discovering who we are. If we are ourselves, if I am myself and if you are yourself, and I’m always pursuing being authentic, being myself, you will automatically within that become unique because there’s only one you.
Jason: Another thing along with that is maintaining a healthy balance. For one, let me say it like this first … Being, and this is for someone who is already a believer obviously, being a God pleaser as opposed to a people pleaser. But anyone can identify with that. Sometimes it’s so easy to be caught up in wanting to fit in, wanting to please people, wanting to look good in someone’s eyes, and we have to be willing to look bad in someone’s eyes not because we want to offend them but simply because we want to be ourselves and we want to do what we know deep down inside that we should be doing with our lives.
Jason: If you can do that, you will lose friends, but you’ll lose the ones that you need to lose because they were just gonna hold you back anyway. And you’ll gain the ones that love you for you and who respect you for you and truly support you.
Charles: I totally agree with that Jay. Totally.
Jason: That’s a major key, man. This is a major key. I’m not a professional but I can tell you this, I’ve made these decisions and I’ve proven these things to be true in my life. I stepped out, I took big risks I 2006 when I left home with very little money and anything. I was single, I left home and ventured out because I wanted to obey what I believed God was calling me to do. I wanted to help people, I wanted to be an encouragement, I wanted to be a source of strength, I wanted my life to count. That was a big risk. I didn’t know if it was gonna turn into anything. And now, 10-11 years later, here I am. And it’s not all about material and what not, but I’m truly blessed. Even when circumstances and things around me are shaky I can truly look deep.
And I can look God in the face, if you will, in my mind, and when he asks me that question and he says, “Son, how are you doing?” I just say, “I’m doing good.?” Why am I doing good? Not because everything in my life is going good, but because I know where my identity lies, I’ve understood a little bit of the things that are truly important and the things that make life go forward. For that reason I’m thankful and I’m good.
Charles: Yeah, yeah. You know Jay, something that I’ve observed is that in my history a lot of what I would do, and I’m still working on this as well, in finding my own identity, a lot of times I look at other people who are successful or other people that I look up to and I try to model myself after those people. But sometimes, you mentioned being unique, being ourselves, a lot of times whenever I’m modeling somebody else, just for time being sometimes I can do that a little bit too much almost to the point where … Have you ever seen somebody trying to be like somebody and it starts to look a little bit ridiculous?
Jason: I myself have done that man. What we can do, though, is we can learn from other people. So I can learn from someone else and from someone else’s strength, and I can even identify with someone’s else’s struggle. Because, as human beings, the Bible says that there’s nothing new under the sun. The things that we’re experiencing, the feelings, the human experience if you will, is a very common thing we all go through. We all go through ups and downs of life. But at the same time we are different individuals and there a uniqueness about us. A classic example is that just like we all have a unique fingerprint, each human being is as unique as that although there are likenesses. So we can learn from other people without having to be just like them.