Wednesday, June 27, 2012

When WORRY Has A Choke Hold

When one part of your life becomes difficult, does it affect the other areas of your life? And negatively at that?
Well, I have been learning - very painfully - is that when I stress about one thing, I let it ooze into the rest of my life! I admit that I am not the faith-filled, little missionary with even the mustard seed kind of faith.

And this - my lack of faith, my stress, anxiety, and worry - is really ugly.

Photo Credit: HAC Staff
Lately, my ministry, my co-workers, friends, and housemates could practically visualize this "burden" upon my shoulders. I hate this - that my "worry" gets in the way of connecting with my students, co-workers, friends, and housemates. Ugh.

And "the burden" is not "the problem," but "the burden" is "the worry" I choose to carry.

It has to do with that "new home" (a.k.a. apartment) I just moved into. I learned new information upon arrival that makes it advisable to leave (no, it's not the housemates. I love them and will be taking them with me).

One reason to leave is the lack of security, and this affects my feeling of safety. There was a burglary here a few months back - a common occurrence here. At night I wake up to various noises and wonder if its someone breaking the windows and entering the next room - really, I do.

Ironically, I'm reading a book now that addresses some of this topic. The author Lisa McKay says, "I'd eventually learned that when you don't feel entirely safe, it's hard to feel at home, regardless of how you define it."

So we are looking to move - SOON - to another "new home."

I know that my circumstances in life will not always change, and if they do, that will only be a temporary solution to my worry - and not really "fix" what I need to address in MY OWN SELF. I still need to learn to give my cares over to God MORE SOMEHOW and have MORE FAITH SOMEHOW. Do you know how to do this? Because I do try and pray and "focus on God" but...?

It raises the question, "Do I really trust God?" With believing God for provision, moving to a foreign country, asking Him to help me give and love others - with all of this, why am I still not trusting Him to care for me?

I read in Matthew 6 where it says "do not be anxious" how many times?!?!

"But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?" (Matthew 6:30 ESV)

"O YOU of little faith," I bleakly chide myself.

I Am Convicted.

I Acknowledge. GOD. KNOWS.
as verses 31-32 continue.

"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
~ Matthew 6:33-34 ~

And So I Seek... (Honestly, isn't seeking hard to define, to understand - in my muddled, partial, human, faulty and reliant - because "I can't do it myself" efforts?)

I realize how much this is a battle. Spiritually (not to leave out mentally and emotionally). I desire to change - to grow in my faith, as a person, free of worry, and in trusting God. I desire to put worry aside so that I can focus on what really matters and love the people around me.

And this post is so hard for me to share with you and to write for myself and acknowledge - these ugly parts of me. That I still need to be transformed. And that I ask for your prayers. Because I realize that I cannot walk this alone. It is tough over here, as in the PLACE and in the HEART - as I am sure it is over there where you live too.

And I Will "Therefore Do Not Be Anxious..." and "Therefore Be..." to another day when I have the benefit retrospect to give me more perspective. (And I postpone worry this evening to wrap myself in a good book from which the included quote came.)
Would you consider sharing your story - about worry and/or faith here? Where are you at? What do you find helpful or harmful?

 I would love to learn from you and to pray with you.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

When My Student Inspires Me

At the end of class, students and staff stood in a circle. Our facilitator asked if any students had any motivation to share with the class before departure.

She shared her story - of tragedy. 

Tragedy upon tragedy.

But her countenance was at peace.

She shared because she was compelled by A Greater Peace.

She understands her classmates' hardships: township life, lack of money, death and destruction. 

And she knows a Deeper Foundation and an Inner Joy - He who gives Life to Dry Bones.

And she calls her classmates to discover and find He who gives True Hope and True Life.

Tears ran down cheeks that day as hearts of my students were stirred.

My own tears flowed as my own heart hurt... 

And I am so grateful to a girl who I hoped to inspire but instead she inspires me to Hope.

Please pray for my students' hearts - to Seek and to Find Hope and Life in Him.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Tough Love of Interview Prep And I Have No Internet

It is Interview Preparation day for my students, and I am their teacher. They are at my mercy - hahahaha (evil laugh gives way to timid chuckle). Not really - I am not that scary.

The question looms, "What do I want to say?" With more to follow. "What should I say? What do I need to say?"

Photo Credit: HAC Staff


So I prepared. In the morning I am armed for class. I have my arsenal packed with punches... and big, smothering hugs. 

Punches - because for the life of me these guys have walls that say, "You can't touch me." I hit those walls of theirs in Life Skills course. I prodded at them with my little finger. Many would not budge. But thank the Lord, some crumbled - a little bit.

As for the punch - to give them a hard kick in reality. "It's a big bad world out there. Interviewers are tough, and the competition is brutal. If you're not gonna give it your all, step out of your shell, and show them who you are, then you're not gonna get the job. Period."  

It's a big deal - that shell of theirs, those walls a mile high, or a kilometer high in this case. I've heard the "talkers" talk but then in a big group, they won't say a peep. ("Aaaaah, you have it in you! Just open your mouth," the voice in my head yells.) Leading to my second point... 

It's a VERY big deal - the "WHO YOU ARE" part - what the Life Skills staff and I have been trying to impart to them - their WORTH. But it's not a battle won overnight. 


SO that's why I deliver my kick with encouragement! 


I believe in you. You have something good to offer - BUT ya' gotta step out - so that they can see you SHINE!


As I contemplate what advice to give my students, I ask what advice would you give my students when they go for job interviews?