For the month of January I expected to write about my transition from Bangkok to now working in the Hope House. However, I decided that I wanted to invite you inside my mind to see the questions I’m wrestling with.. maybe you’re familiar with these questions too.
These thoughts are fresh in my mind and unresolved. I’m not writing to you after God has calmed my heart, or the Holy Spirit has brought Scripture to my mind to remind me of God’s path. I’m writing to you in the middle of wrestling with these questions, simply to acknowledge that it is okay to be in the process of understanding life and God and not have all the answers.
So the overarching question in my mind (having only lived in Thailand for 4 months now), is “do I want to commit to this ministry long-term?” There’s no real need to answer that yet, since I haven’t even finished this first “trial run” year. I’ve presented that question to friends and family and often they have reassuring answers. And yet, here I am, again, worrying about whether I can commit.
Am I a typical millennial that can’t commit?
If I decide to come home for good at the end of my allotted time, will that mean I am a disappointment to my parents or to the church who is supporting me?
The anxious questions come in waves. Sometimes I feel good. I know God has called me here and I will enjoy the journey. And then, unexpectedly, I’m overwhelmed with these questions:
Would it be wrong to go back to California?
I really love the weather, and the convenience… is that a bad thing to want?
I would love to live near my parents… is that selfish?
……Am I a bad Christian?……
I know people (Sara, the Pakistani refugee of whom I wrote about in the last update) who are given no choice as to where they want to live or the kind of life they want to create… why should I be so privileged?
Is it wrong to want to create a peaceful life when so many of my brothers and sisters are dying, starving, and in fear for their lives because of their faith?
Does my enjoyment of life even matter?
So the overarching question of “do I want to commit to this ministry long-term” has many sub-points, a lot of which, question my character and value as a person. I think a constant worry I have is, “will I reach my full potential in life?” and “will I make a difference in the world?” So then I ask myself questions like:
Am I doing my best?
Is my best good enough?
Why was I, particularly, called here.. there are better Christians out there..?
I also came to here after a challenging year in Missouri. I thought Missouri was practice for the mission field. I thought working 80 hours a week, physical exhaustion, emotional stretching, and being completely out of my comfort zone was practice for this year in Thailand. Now, I’m making the kids cereal for breakfast, babysitting a 4 year old and a 2 year old, taking a nap in the middle of the day, and singing Bible songs with them at night. In comparison, this is MUCH easier. So then I question:
What was the point of that job in Missouri?
How does my previous work in Missouri connect to what I’m doing now?
How does every job I’ve done, and educational opportunity I’ve received, connect to what I’m doing now?
Am I using my skills and gifts enough?
Do I need to work harder? Do more? Be better?
Am I helping enough?
I wonder if people think I’m just lazy?
I want to be a helpful servant, like Jesus was, but how?
…..Am I a bad Christian?…..
What am I doing here? Am I even making a difference?
Do people expect me to change the world? Because I’m not!
Doesn’t the mission field mean intense suffering and discomfort? I sleep in an air conditioned room…
What’s next after this year?
I can’t answer a lot of these questions. I don’t know why I even have SO many questions. I don’t know how everything connects. I don’t know what’s next. I don’t know what everyone expects from me. I don’t know how to muster up spiritual maturity!
I do know, however, that God is all-knowing, and completely in control of my life and His plans for the world. I know that God promises to complete the work He started in me (Philippians 1:6). I know that God is very familiar with how my mind works (Psalm 139) and He loves me totally (Romans 8:37–39). God and I have had many conversations like this already, and I know He will reveal Truth to my mind and help me. I love Jeremiah 23:23 “‘Am I a God Who is near,’ declares the Lord, ‘and not a God far off?’” That verse comforts me because God is near me, and He is willing and able to help me. I always picture God with an outstretched arm, because He is so eager to help.
There you have it! The many anxieties on my mind. I am in the middle of conversing with God about these thoughts and we are working through them. If you have these same thoughts flood your mind, it’s okay. Think over them. Hash it out with God. Read the Word and wait (it may take a little while) for God to answer or bring peace to your mind. It’s okay to not have your act together. It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to be in the middle of the learning process and not be able to tie a pretty pink ribbon on it, yet..if at all. Just remember that nothing can separate you from the love of God. Jesus loves you infinitely!
Ps. On a seemingly unrelated note, I’ve been toying with the idea of deleting social media (Instagram and Facebook). I suppose I could limit my time to it, instead of totally deleting it. However, I’m kinda over social media. There’s so much trash on it and I would rather be more present in the community here and life in general. My own personal choice. I’m only telling you because it will mean that pictures of the girls and life in Thailand, will come in bulk about once a month.