That’s a question that comes up often in my life. Am I just surviving each day or am I enjoying it? Am I just “making it through another one” or am I engrossed in the happenings of today? Am I drowning every day in mindless pursuits meant to “fill time” until I get to …what?… or am I immersed fully in enjoying the time and circumstances I’ve been handed for today? One means I’m escaping and surviving; the other means that I’m enjoying and living. One is self-pity and laziness; the other contentment and joy. One leaves me empty; the other fills me to overflowing!
The temptation of the last several weeks has been to survive. A missionary doesn’t magically have their cares and concerns vaporized when they arrive on the field. And often times, their lives feel split between life here and family and circumstances elsewhere. Some have sick family members that they want to be home to support and comfort and care for. Some are missing their kids and grandkids. Some are missing big events in their loved ones lives—weddings, graduations, performances, new babies. Some are here experiencing their first child with their parents and siblings so far away. Some are contemplating the upcoming changes as they leave their son or daughter at college in their home country and then turn around to come back, living half-a-world away from them as they go through all these new experiences. Some have lived here many, many years—maybe even growing up here—and are now following as God leads them to return to their home country—a foreign country to them in some ways as they’ve been away so much of the last many years. Some are now in their home lands hearing about the joys and sorrows of their friends on the field, missing being a part of it all there. Some have come out of tribal works to live on center, helping their brothers and sisters in Christ from a distance as they learn to lead themselves, grow as a church body, and deal with the many things that face them; encouraging them, praying for them, guiding them…but from a distance. Not so different from you in so many ways! It’s simply part of this life to feel split between two (or more!) “worlds”. But our response to it is what makes our life a joyful, peaceful, fulfilled one or a dull, empty, “not sure what I’ve been doing” kind of life.
I’ve been overwhelmed, saddened and burdened by a variety of things going on back home. Part of me wants to be there to help care and comfort l/oved ones, encourage my family, and simply be there to work alongside of them. To be present with my church family, to help stir them up to prayer and passion in serving God, to encourage them in the changes, and to just be there to listen and support them. To see “my kids” from work and talk with all my friends there. And yet I know beyond-the-shadow-of-a-doubt that I am exactly where God wants me to be. My temptation is to drown myself in mindless pursuits so that I don’t feel overwhelmed. (It’s hard to feel overwhelmed if your brain is flat-lining! LOL!) But life is too good to pass up like that! I have only to carry any of these concerns to God and I can know that He cares for them. I can let go and choose to rest rather than worry because God is in all the places I can’t be and is all of the things I can’t be and knows all of the things I don’t know. Choosing life is to choose to trust, to rest, to be joyful and content and in return to be filled with peace and flooded with joy!
So to combat these temptations (besides conscientiously choosing to leave things with Him), I’ve enjoyed having several of the families around me over for meals. It’s been so much fun! I love cooking for people and no one here (in the absence of fast food) passes up a meal they don’t have to cook! I had a great Mother’s Day adopting moms to spoil with a meal “out”! In fact, when I had two large families together for a meal someone commented that we looked like “the whole church potluck!” And though I still often feel “split” I know that God isn’t. So whether I can do anything or not, “God is so good. He’s so good to me!”