Monthly Archives: January 2011

Open mouth, insert foot.

Extroverts get in trouble for talking without thinking.

Introverts get in trouble for thinking by way of writing and publishing without editing. The internet only encourages this habit for introverts.

After receiving a barrage of emails, it has come to my attention that I need to explain a few things.

Why am I still blogging? The journey is over. Mission accomplished, right?

Wrong. The journey has just begun. This blog will morph throughout the rhythms of my life and will look a bit different as I continue.

It will serve to document my days adjusting back in America.
It will be a place for me to sort out the thoughts clouding my mind.
It will be a place where I strive to keep a Vertical focus in this horizontal world.

So, what is the aim of my blog?

To reflect and react.
To notify and inform.
To engage and inspire.
To open eyes and touch hearts.

The underlying purpose of this blog is to share my story with you. At times, the storybook of my life reads more like a tragedy than a fairytale.

I pray that my story bears witness to the sighting of God.

I am not held back by shame or brokenness. I know others encounter similar struggles along the way. So I hope…

to bless

and encourage

and walk alongside

until we see His glory revealed.

Disclaimer: The purpose of my blog is not to evoke shame or pass judgement on America. Having been away from the States, I can look at things with a fresh pair of eyes. That doesn’t mean that my vision is 20/20, but that I tend to see things from a different perspective. If you disagree with a statement I’ve made please comment on that to generate a broader discussion among other readers.

Reverse culture shock is a sticky swamp of emotions. Wading through the swamp is messy. And if it’s too painful for you to read about the process, I understand. But if you’re willing to watch me embrace this season of re-entry, feel free to stick around.

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Freedom

For the first time in my life, I’ve joined a book club. Sort of. It’s actually a blog read-along.

The book we’re reading is a raw, transparent story about finding your true identity (Your Secret Name, Kary Oberbrunner).

In Congo, identity comes from names. Birth names are descriptive, defining, even prophetic. This past year I sought to understand the significance behind my name and discovered hope in its meaning. You can read more about that here.

So far I’ve only read four chapters in the read-along, but a few passages have caught my attention and beckoned me to ponder at greater length. Like this one:

“…we’re more in tune with our stomach pains than our soul ache. We think more often of our need for food than our need for freedom.”

Deep down in our souls we’re all yearning for something more, no?

  • Maybe we’re too involved in the world to notice the longing in our souls.
  • Maybe the voices around are so loud we cannot hear the cry of our hearts.
  • Maybe, as Kary suggests, our hunger for food is deeper than our hunger for freedom.

And even in America—land of the free—most Americans aren’t living in freedom. No, our lives are just the opposite.

In the prosperous west, we’re in bondage.

  • We’re in bondage to technology, appearances, materialism.
  • We’re in bondage to our schedules, our careers, our goals, our 401Ks.
  • We’re in bondage because of finances, fears, false beliefs, and faulty vision.

But Christ has come to set us free from all that. Maybe discovering your true identity will help loosen the strongholds. May you experience freedom in Christ.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17

Disjointed Thoughts

My mind has been reeling with a steady stream of incomplete thoughts waiting for further development.

Writing is the way I typically process, but lately the words no longer flow.

Several thoughts remain stranded. This is a feeble attempt to begin the process of reconciling my heart with my mind.

NUMB.

As I unpack my heart I find a deep ache in my soul. A longing without knowing what it longs for.

And the location where my heart currently resides resembles the dentist’s office.

Numbness. Indifference. Apathy.

I don’t quite know the root of the numbness, but I imagine it must be something along the lines of protection, self-preservation, a coping mechanism.

Perhaps if I allow myself to feel the emotions, my soul will succumb to despair.

One of these days, I know that the anesthetic will wear off.

In fact, I can already sense my heart beginning to thaw; I just hope I’m ready to deal with it when it starts to melt.

Year in Review

An entire year has passed. Don’t worry about reflecting though, the media will do that for you.

Significant moments from this past year will be compiled into a variety of lists: Best and Worst Dressed of 2010, Top 10 Google Searches, Most tragic news stories, Most retweeted Twitter posts,

In America, we excel at filling our lives with distractions. It prevents us from having to deal with the brokenness of our souls.

Because if we really sit down and reflect on our own lives, we know it will be uncomfortable. Painful, even.

Can you remove the distractions long enough to sit still and reflect on your life this past year? It’s not easy, but I’m trying.

Here are some of the questions I’m asking to help me review the year:

  1. What experience brought me extraordinary joy?
  2. What was my greatest sorrow this past year?
  3. What was the most encouraging thing I did for someone, as measured by their smile?
  4. How did I serve at my church? in my family? in my community?
  5. Who have I cheered for?
  6. Who have I listened to carefully?
  7. How did I demonstrate love to an enemy?
  8. When was I most comforted during this last year?
  9. When did I say, “I’m not sure I can do this” and then discover that I could?
  10. When did I trust God with more faith than I had in the past?
  11. Where, geographically, did I find the most delight this year?
  12. What was the most satisfying $5 I spent this year?
  13. What three people had the greatest impact on my life in 2010?
  14. What attribute of His character did God demonstrate to me?
  15. What was the best conversation I had?
  16. What do I understand better than I did in January?
  17. What was the smartest decision I made?
  18. In what areas of my life have I become more disciplined? Less disciplined?
  19. What book did I read that was written before 1846?
  20. How did my presence in social media (facebook, twitter, blog) impact God’s kingdom?

Ask yourself these questions. Be real with yourself. Then be vulnerable and share them with a friend. (Questions added to and adapted from here.)