All of us have constraints, assumptions and norms that mould our life every day. You may work 30 minutes from where you live, so everyday you will spend an hour travelling to and from work. You may have children and most of your day is taken up with them. Most of us find that our very situation dictates the way we live. It’s called adaptability, and as human beings we are actually not to bad at it.
Jude and I find ourselves just like everyone else having to adapt. I view what God has given us to do at the moment as an assignment. It is a task we have been given at this moment in time. I’ve found it a helpful way of thinking about our life. I guess this is because it is much the same way that anyone else may view their job in the UK for example.
The difference here is that to be in position to be able to fulfil our assignment, our mission if you like, is that we are having to adapt on many levels. We are having to carve out a new life at the same time as trying to complete our mission. This is actually what makes it very difficult indeed.
Many people who work abroad step into a ready made slot. Someone else has pioneered their role. Maybe they join an institution. They will be given somewhere to live, a ready made community to live and work with and the solution to a thousand problems that present themselves. This is not the situation that Jude and I find ourselves in. We are having to create things from scratch, maybe that is what we do.
I guess I’m writing this because at the moment this is pressing down on us. It at times can feel weighty, overwhelming and ill defined. We have made and are making friends, we have found our feet, but every time something doesn’t happen the way you expected, the cost of being away comes back to you. I wish sometimes we were part of a big organisation, or institution. I imagine some things would be easier, but at the same time I also think the opportunity to fulfil our mission would be severely limited.
Mental and spiritual discipline is important, and sometimes I have to admit I feel that mine is lacking. To keep your eyes focused on the goal, to keep on running the race, to not drop out discouraged and exhausted takes great reserve and well, it hurts, but there will be a time where you finish, after you have kept going and that is truly exhilarating.
Those life constraints that hem you in. Circumstances that you maybe cannot do much about. Yes God has placed you in those circumstances, but in them do not be dictated to by them, do not be squeezed to the pattern of this world. See something beyond them, something good to do for God and His Kingdom, and then move heaven and earth to do it.
Maybe you will find yourself in uncharted waters, unsure of the way, feeling literally out of your depth, floundering around in an ocean of overwhelming complexity. To be a pioneer is to follow God, into a maze of what to you is unknown, but to him is completely known. That is where Jude and I find ourselves, so many questions, so much we do not understand, but deep in me I know that God has the map, the compass and he knows where we are going, no matter how much it hurts and strains for us to get there. To be adaptable is gods gift to humanity, it allows us to embrace the yet to be, it enables is to embrace the future. In whatever way this applies to you, do it, he really does know the way.