Amy Peterson grew up on the great missionary stories of Amy Carmichael and Jim Eliot. She dreamed that someday she would follow them on an overseas adventure for Jesus.

After college, that’s exactly what she did. But an extraordinary journey to southeast Asia – to a country she still can’t name out of concern for the security of those her life there touched – taught her something she did not expect: her total commitment to God’s work was not as vital as her total surrender to God’s will.

“I think one of the biggest things that I learned was that I had thought my missionary work was about me being fully committed to God. But what God wanted was for me to be fully surrendered to Him. And there’s a big difference between commitment and surrender.”

She hones in on exactly what she means by that.

“One of the famous missionary doctors, Helen Roseveare, wrote about a verse in the Old Testament that says, ‘God, you’ve hidden me like an arrow in your quiver.’ And – in studying that verse – she wonders what that means. To be hidden like an arrow in God’s quiver.”

“It means that you’re not in the bow, and you’re not being shot. You’re not being used. You’re hidden away. And I think that being surrendered to God, for me, meant that I was willing to be hidden away. To be not used.”

“To me, being committed was about, ‘I will do all the things!’ Being surrendered was recognizing that – sometimes – God might call me to not be useful at all, but to be hidden away.”


Amy Peterson teaches and works with the Honors program at Taylor University. She taught ESL for two years in Southeast Asia before returning stateside to teach in California, Arkansas, and Washington. Amy has written for Books & Culture, The Millions, Christianity Today, The Other Journal, The Cresset, and Art House America, among other places. Dangerous Territory: My Misguided Quest to Save the World is her first book.

On the Road with Amy Peterson

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