Sometime last week, without my permission, my rose-coloured glasses slipped right off of my face.
How does that happen? How does something you love become annoying in the blink of an eye? (I think the married people just snorted.)
Suddenly petty little things became SO IMPORTANT. And IRRITATING. The quiet pace of life in Swaziland was holding me back. And where can I get a decent coffee? And, if I emailed it yesterday, why hasn’t anyone responded yet?
Ah, you see, the problem with leaving one life and starting somewhere else is this….wherever you go, there you are.
You – as in me. The one in the mirror who stopped counting blessings. The one who let the beauty become mundane and the joy become humdrum. The one who took her eyes off of God and focused instead on the things that weren’t perfect.
This is where the whine comes in – a sip here, a sip there and before you know it I was in full-on complaining mode. Getting intoxicated on the ‘did you hear’ and giddy on the ‘woe is me’. Gradually, just like turning up the heat on the frog in boiling water, my peace and my zeal for this adventure had cooled when I wasn’t paying attention. The subtle signs of discontent started to show until they culminated in a full celebration of ‘Meltdown Monday’.
You see, I never considered that I might fail at this escapade. That I might not have what it takes to work in a country that is truly hurting. Where I have no ability to solve the problems for people who die from poverty, and where I even though I know that my trivial problems and inconveniences don’t matter I still have the urge to let them splatter over someone else. I never even imagined that, less than three months into my one-year commitment I’d be sitting at my desk crying because I have no idea what to do, and my ‘career’ didn’t prepare me for this.
And that’s where Jesus comes in. Regardless of what I think should be done or why I think I’m here, it’s all up to Him. When I came here, I chose to be obedient and so, until He says otherwise, here I am, warts and all.
I’m starting to see that it has nothing to do with my work and everything to do with my heart. With learning to respond in love when the lady whose garden we planted neglects it for a week or so. With remembering that hurt people hurt people, and that I’ve been there, done that. With being humble enough, at age 48, to admit I don’t know how to cook a meal for 16 people. With getting my own needs out of the way when the ministry needs something of me. With learning that my value doesn’t have anything to do with my resume.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” (James 1:2 NKJV)
So I’m putting a cork in my whine and dining on the power and guidance of Jesus. Thankfully there’s plenty to go around.