A personal update has been missing from this site for too long. I have been waiting for the right feeling. You know, the God is amazing, life is amazing, I am amazing feeling. Well, it’s not happening. Pretty much since we returned in August, I have felt depressed. Not the “I can’t function or get out of bed” kind, just the “blue but still going through the motions” kind. Those feelings are part of the journey; we all experience “I hate life” moments. Stages, cycles, phases…they come and they go. I have learned not to over-react when I am in those times, but rather remember that eventually it will feel different, I will feel different. So I continue to get up and do what I do and carry on, waiting for the next stage.
It is now six months later and I don’t hate life (mostly). But the God is amazing, life is amazing feeling hasn’t cycled back. I know that God is amazing. I know that my life is amazing. But it’s a SUCH a struggle.
One reason I struggle is that I want to go home. I want to connect with my friends in my home culture. I want to speak my heart language and sing my heart language and listen only to people who are also speaking my heart language. I don’t want to work at relationships or try to work or even do anything that remotely resembles trying to work. I don’t want to reach out to others who are different fom me. I don’t want to be different at all. I want to be in a community of same. I want to be part of the group, not the outsider, the alien, the muzungu. (Thus my shame – good missionaries WANT to be with the people they live among).
This year, my one word is LISTEN.* LISTEN to God – what is he saying about my struggles? Am I living in grace and truth? Am I setting up unreal expectations? Am I living in disobedience? LISTEN. But also, listen to me. Have I defined my uneasiness? Have I allowed myself to fully express my frustrations and feelings? Am I listening to my husband, my friends, my family?
I hear my daughter when she expresses her frustration over the fact I seem to be attached to my iphone. I hear God’s whisper when I waste yet another hour checking facebook. I hear my husband when he asks how much longer I will be working on my sewing project. But am I really listening to them? All of these seem to point to the fact that I am self-medicating and withdrawing from life. Am I willing to recognize these escapes and listen to my heart? Acknowledge the war waging inside?
PROBLEM: I am plugging my ears to God. I don’t want to take time to sit with him and listen. I won’t do it! I have tried to remove barriers – like reading, facebook, sewing – but I seem to find a new one just as fast as I give up the old one. WHY???
ANSWER: As long as I don’t spend time with him, I still have hope that He will make it better. But WHAT IF I seek him and it doesn’t get better? Then I enter the dark abyss…and that scares me more than staying where I am.
I’m thankful that God is my hope. Because His love never fails me.
Facebook fails me, my iphone fails me, internet fails me, entertainment fails me, food (even chocolate) fails me.
My husband fails me, my kids fail me, my friends fail me (bear with me, I have been working on this list for a long time…my self-medication comes in many forms), there are days when the sun fails to break through the clouds, but God never fails me.
HOPE: God is good and I can trust him. My reality hasn’t changed. We aren’t returning to the USA for two more years. That is a long time for me. A REALLY LOOOONNNGGG time. But the fear is gone. The shame is exposed (I’m not going to get that “Missionary of the Year Award” that I was campaigning for). But God’s peace is here. He will give me strength for this journey. Time to stop shaming myself for what I am not and embrace what I am.
God speaks in the silence of our hearts
Listening is the first part of hearing from God
*Read My One Word by Mike Ashcraft – a great book!