This is hard for me to admit, especially on here, and I thought about not writing about it. I worried about what you would think of me or how it would come across. But, whether I say it out loud or not, the situation is still the same. Pretending does not change facts and I think our Christian culture could use a good dose of honesty and a little less acting like we have it all together. Up until this past week, if you would have asked me how I was doing, I would have said “fine.” Not great, not awful, but okay. Then this week, when I took a step out of the culture and got alone and out of my routine for half a minute, I realized I wasn’t okay at all. The culture, the homesickness, all of it had apparently been getting to me far more than I realized. They tell you about this culture shock deal, but I think I thought that because I had always felt pretty even keel about the culture, that I wasn’t going to experience culture shock. Well, you can call it what you want, but I’m calling this unexplained anger and feeling of suffocation culture shock.The only escape from the culture is hiding in my bedroom because there is no such thing as going for a peaceful run (I run, but I wouldn’t call it peaceful) or just taking a drive or sitting in a park. Those things don’t exist here. If you step out of your door, you are stared at, followed, and generally made to feel like it is extremely evident that you don’t belong here. So your options are get stared at or stay in your room. Four months of that can take a toll.
I know my personality is not always the most rosy one – I do like to think of myself as more of a realist (some people call that a cynic) but I never thought coming here was going to be easy. And it’s not. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies over here and everything that I ever had to distract me from the struggles and difficulties of life (friends, family, TV, shopping, hanging out, and the list goes on and on and on) those all don’t exist here. It is me and two other girls that I hardly know. Doesn’t sound like a big deal at first, but it has its challenging days for sure. You turn around and realize that all that you have ever known and loved no longer exists in the same context and you better learn how to cope in new ways.
As hard as that has been for me, this is also the time when the Father takes everything away that you’ve used as a crutch and its just you and Him. Is it hard? Oh yes – at least I think so. If I could have seen how it would have been here would I still have chosen it? Probably not. But He led me here and now I am here and that is good. The changes that have occurred in my mind and heart in the past 4 months are unbelievable even to me and I can only imagine what the next year and a half is going to continue to work in my heart and mind. As difficult and challenging as it has been at moments, my heart still rests in the fact that nothing has changed – He has still called me here and He is still watching over me and leading me. And I know that there are even more challenging days ahead, but I look forward to what He will teach me and show me about Himself during those days.Please ask that I learn to rest more in Him and abide more in Him.
Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.