What I’m about to say some of my Christian counterparts are going to completely disagree with but it’s OK. This lesson I am learning is very new to me and maybe one you haven’t learned yet. Please be careful with how you respond to what I’m about to say remembering we should not criticize people who haven’t experienced what we have.
So I’ve been on the ground as a “’M’ intern” going on 4 months now. Since moving out on my own I’ve really been struggling with this excruciating loneliness that is overwhelming me more than it ever has. Loneliness has never bothered me to the extent it has this past month. I was freaking out on Friday trying to figure out what on earth was going on with me. It started causing so much guilt and depression to grow inside of me. Everything was so dark and I was thinking of doing things I’ve never thought of before. I was so scared!
I’ve been looking for accountability, and community within the group of believers I have encountered here but it just hasn’t happened. Yes, I have been able to meet up with some but that’s it, just meeting up and “getting to know you”. I don’t want it to seem like I don’t appreciate it but my life in Thailand is full of acquaintances that are believers. I have even fooled myself into thinking I was close with the people I work with only to find out otherwise. I’m so much closer to people here who are not believers and I just couldn’t figure out why.
Here is the thing about those acquaintances I have come to realize: 1. Some people move slow and that’s OK. I am beginning to see progress happening and I look forward to seeing what it can turn into. 2. Missionaries are busy so I gotta be patient and take what I can get. Good grief they are busy! 3. Things happen that can set you back in the “getting to know you phase” so don’t give up. (I don’t say all this to make those people feel bad so if you are one of those people don't take it personal. Just keep reading and you’ll understand why I included this.)
When you open your mind to it, you could be surprised as to whom God brings into your life. Since being in Thailand one of the things that has happened is God has placed me as a minority in the circle of people I am around regularly and growing close to. What minority is that? It’s being a foreigner Believer in the midst of foreigners who are not. A majority of my time has been spent with foreigners who do not believe (and even a few Thai people who speak English well).
I have been super careful about this position thinking if I’m not it could be dangerous for my walk and work in Thailand but then this weekend happened. I went on a trip with a girl who lives in my building that I met at the pool a couple weeks back. She is a surfer chic from New Zealand/Australia and I’m a country girl from America. We just got in the car, followed signs, and drove. It was a great adventure!
What could the two of us possibly have in common? Well to start we both love the beach and we probably talked about that more than anything else. But the most important thing is we are both 2 girls who are human and have experienced some major hurts and rejection during our life.
As we drove across the Northern part of Thailand this weekend we talked about a number of things from spiritual stuff to heartbreak, just life in general. Some of the things she was saying to me that she learned from her experiences were so profound and it really got me thinking about “godly wisdom” vs. the “wisdom of this world”.
HERE’S WHERE I MIGHT GET IN TROUBLE…..
One thing I learned while attending Liberty University was the importance of including the secular aspects of counseling and psychology in my studies of the subject. Their reason being that God can use all people to fulfill a purpose, and greater good for mankind as well as give understanding. He doesn’t just use Believers. Godly wisdom can come from anyone, whoever He chooses to reveal it too. (I know some of you may have your jaws on the ground now but it’s true.) We can learn a lot from the secular world. They have some pretty good ideas. Look at science and technology! We as Believers then use discernment to help us know the difference between what is of God and what is not.
As I got home this afternoon and began to process the events of this past week/weekend, I began to ponder these things I was reminded of once again. I realized my concern with messing up because I don’t have accountability with those who are “like-minded” has actually been a major distraction.
I was comforted by the thought that maybe God has put me in my position because He just “trusts me that much!” He believes in me more than I believe in myself! We have been through a lot together. He knows how much I love Him, how long I’ve waited to be on the “M” field and how hard I’ve worked and prayed for it. He knows I won’t throw that all away for something meaningless and so He has given me this group of friends because He trust me to make the right decisions and be discerning.
I realized I have been relying on, depending on, and seeking other believers to keep me in check when in reality He is the one I answer too, not them. My job is to trust that those He has put in my life are those that need to be there. They are here to fulfill His purpose for both our lives and who am I to tell Him what He is doing is not the best for me. I was so concerned with finding community in a group of believers that the rejection caused me to feel lonely while at the same time neglecting the community He has given me and the opportunities that come with it!
What profound things is God teaching you?
What things are distracting you from learning those lessons?
Who does God want you to love and love well?
BTW...after this revelation an opportunity for me to participate in a Ladies Bible Study starting the end of the month presented itself. His timing......so perfect! =)