Thoughts That Lead To Death. Thoughts That Lead To Life. (Or Navigating Culture Shock…)

Thoughts that lead to death:

I am done.
Cooked.
Completely overwhelmed.
This was not at all what I expected it to be.
The demands are too high.
The price tag is, too.
In lots of ways.
This is impossible.
And I can’t do it.
So I might as well quit.
Or at least stop trying to so hard.
I mean, does it really matter?
Do I really matter?
There is no point.
Why bother with any of this, anyway?
Why not look out for me?
No one else is – so I need to.
Because, let’s face it, no one really understands what I am going through.
Sure, God says He does but let’s face it – He’s not physically present.
His arms can’t hold me.
He’s here – but it sure doesn’t feel like it.
And I am doing all this stuff for Him and He doesn’t even appreciate it.
I mean, it is getting harder, not easier.
I thought He blessed people who walk with Him?
I thought He cared about me?
I thought He was good?
Can’t see that in my life right now.
So I might as well throw in the towel.
On all of this.
I can’t do it – so why try?

Thoughts that lead to life:

I am done.
Cooked.
Completely overwhelmed.
This was not at all what I expected it to be.
The demands are too high.
The price tag is, too.
In lots of ways.
This is impossible.
And I can’t do it.

But You said I can do all things through You.
It sure doesn’t feel that way right now.

I really want to quit.
But I know You have called me here and You have promised to finish the work You began in me.

But can I at least stop trying to so hard?
I mean, does it really matter?
Do I really matter?
There is no point.

But You say to do everything as if I am working for You, not for people.
So yes, of course it matters.
Because You prepared good works in advance for me to do.
You brought me to this point in time, space and eternity to accomplish Your will “for such a time as this.”
So no, I can’t stop trying so hard.
Because I am not doing this for them – or for me – but for You.

But I feel like no one understands.
No one “gets me” here – and the people at home can’t really “get it”, either.
It is a unique kind of loneliness.
I know You say You understand.
Do You really?

Oh.
Yeah. Right.
Jesus left heaven.
He, who had never experienced sin, was immersed in it.
He, who could hear thoughts and read minds and knew hearts, was in it over His head.
He, who spoke the world into existence and knew no limits to His power, was trapped in a body.
A frail, human, bleeds-when-you-cut-Him body.

And that’s why He so often went off by Himself to meet with You, isn’t it?
Because it is hard.
Hard to live away from Home.
Hard to be constantly misunderstood.
Hard to love the unlovely.
And hard to complete the work You have assigned.

And Abba, it’s true that You are not physically present.
But You have sent so many messengers of Your love.
People
Beauty
Blessings
Protection
Provision
I cannot see Your face – but oh, how I can see Your fingerprints!

So this is hard.
Harder than I thought it would be.
For different reasons than I thought.
But tonight I rest in the fact of Your goodness.
Your enemy wants me to doubt it.
He wants me to believe You are not good.
That You mess with people.
That You have messed with me.
And that the task at hand is greater than I can accomplish.

And on that point, that bitter, nasty serpent right.
I do not have what it takes to live cross-culturally.
To teach such a wide range of kids.
To deal with four different cultures in my classroom.
To work with unfamiliar resources.
And to meet stringent demands.
To have every single thing be unfamiliar.
And to have a learning curve steeper than the paths my friends at Bethlehem routinely climb.

I can’t do what needs to be done. And do it well.
All I have are a few loaves and fishes that are my life.

I can’t.
But You can.
I am incapable.
But You are fully able.
I am powerless.
But You are the mountain-mover.
The ocean-splitter.
The water-walker.

And so the enemy’s reminders of my weakness backfire.
They simply drive me to Your arms.
Your promises. Your character. And Your heart that is for me and not against me.
Leading me to expect You to make great things out of my weakness.
You will take all that is flawed in me, all that is flawed here, all that is impossible, all that I cannot do, and turn it into the best wine, the most bread and fish, an incredible feast.
For me.
For the kids I serve.
And for their parents who are serving as well.
But mostly for Your glory, God.

When I am weak, You are strong.
When my circumstances are impossible, You make all things possible.
When I am overwhelmed, You calm the storm.
And even when You don’t, You calm me.

So back to the original thought.
“I’m done.”
But You have just begun.
Lead on! Show me what You can do – for Your glory!

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2 thoughts on “Thoughts That Lead To Death. Thoughts That Lead To Life. (Or Navigating Culture Shock…)

  1. I…have no words.
    But you just made me cry, and I don’t cry very often.
    You just touched a place in me so deep that I don’t even know how to express it.
    Because I often feel exactly the way that you said you are feeling, and today was one of those days.
    So thanks for being real. We ARE in this together, even when we feel lonely and frustrated. Thank goodness we have a God Who knows. Knows us. Knows these kids. Knows our limitations and our weaknesses. And loves us anyway.

    Like

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