A Year Overseas
Abide and rest in Jesus, trust the work to Him and follow His directionsThis year I moved away from everything I knew, into a context I had never experienced, in a place I had never been. God had much He wanted to teach me. One of these themes echoing through the year has been that of rest and rhythm.
Busy. Good but Busy.
I don’t necessarily enjoy being busy, but I nevertheless found myself in a cluttered and unsatisfying busyness over the past several years. Whether this came through scholastic pursuits or meeting deadlines at work, if someone asked how things were going, I would likely say, “Busy. Good but busy.” I figured that as long as I could answer that way I was doing something right. People are not very quick to question your busyness.
But talk about shutting down a conversation… I might have well said, “Fine but too busy for you.” No one wants to build a relationship with someone they feel like they are stealing time from every time they say hello. God had a plan in the works to change my heart in this area.
All you can eat buffet
Once I arrived on the field I realized I didn’t know how to be ‘busy’ out here. Subconsciously I sought after it and found my desired busyness not far away. I saw language and work and organizational development and personal growth and relationships spread in front of me like an all you can eat buffet. Maybe it took this context to really load up my plate with more than I could handle, but I instantaneously broke down.
I can’t even buy pears
Who was I kidding??? I can’t do EVERYTHING. I can’t even buy pears from a lady on the side of the road without creating my own sign language system on the spot to try and figure out what on earth she was saying. Obviously I had not found a good plan for life on the field. I would sprint and then collapse, sprint and collapse. I was pretty miserable. I was sitting in my cold apartment by myself, no water or internet, listening to a downloaded Spotify playlist before my phone battery died, wondering what in the world I had gotten myself into – miserable.
God is faithful and He didn’t let me stay there for long. He made it clear that I was in over my head. I carefully started peeling back the busyness in pursuit of equilibrium. I had to find Him at the center of everything. He was calling me to rest in Him before I could start working towards everything else. It comes together for me in John 15.5 which is one of my favorite passages ever.
John 15:5 (ESV) I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Jesus says that real ministry comes from resting, residing, being, abiding in Him. I am learning to find more balance in Him. He is more concerned with my time spent with Him than the to-do list I was able to check off this week. I am forced to re-adjust things so regularly it’s ironic to even call it balance.
On days I have no idea what to do and don’t feel like doing anything I take walks and pray for the people I see. I shift my focus to the only thing that matters – Jesus Christ and His glory. I run to His Word and He meets me there.