I’m going to do further updates on the last 6 months after this post. I wanted you to see where my heart is at now before I describe in the next posts the challenges I have faced and overcome. I had to wait until my conscience was clear and the healing had taken place before I blurted out things that would be more of a rant from a wounded soul than a testimony of overcoming adversity.
Life has been an exciting ride full of many challenges and it feels like I came home just a few months ago, even though it has already been a year since I came back to Vancouver from 4 years of being overseas. I felt God speaking to my circumstances a couple of nights ago and I typed it down so as to remember them.
“Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:19-21
There comes a point in every Christian’s life where we must make the choice to die to ourselves to live for eternal rewards or hardly die at all and live for this temporary world that is passing away. Choose wisely now cause it will determine your fate. This is the point of my life where it has cut to the core of what I identified myself with rather than whom I identified myself with. Who I am as a Christian, as a Woman, as a Friend, as a Canadian, as a Student.. all that embodies and how I associate myself has been attacked in some way. Sometimes it takes several heartaches and backstabbing wounds to realize none of those titles are worth living your life by.
Our identity must be built upon the foundation of Christ. How we are SO loved by Him that we are to “die for” (literal context and not how we talk about chocolate cake) and that no one and nothing matters but being IN Him. Are you aiming to please people or please Him? What have we pledged allegiance to? Nothing and no one can take away the calling and inheritance He has for you. If you have labels you have held on to a high regard.. then hold them loosely cause God may want to put to death those precious titles, which by human definition we call them good… but in our lives, they may deceive us and serve as idols.
In psychology, I learnt that if you identify yourself with many “roles” in life and you fail in one of them or are bashed by someone about that particular thing you take pride in.. you are less likely to fall apart due to having a “high self concept”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-concept
But people with a low self concept, who “put all their eggs in a basket” are prone to experience failure and have a hard time recovering from it. The professor used a submarine as an analogy and that if one of the many compartments that we encompass gets blown up.. it is unlikely to sink, where as a person who puts all their being in a role of a “basketball player” for example.. their world would come crashing if something attacks them in that area of expertise or it gets taken away.
But what happens when ALL areas that you hold dear come to a test and sinks the whole ship? What is your life saver, if the whole submarine becomes submerged. I hope that your security is in Christ, who truly saves.
There was a temptation for me to go back to my old ways of coping and putting on a mask (acting was going to be my future career but I found out that it was used as a temporal coping mechanism) to avoid rejection.
I was challenged by the rejection of my own flesh and blood, misunderstandings with friends, my vast insecurities, along with my health, lack of accountability and my service to God. If you had a “Job” experience right now… metaphorically or literally speaking. If you value recognition, acceptance or respect, but your friends and family (including the family of Christ) forsake you, would you still be found in Christ alone?
A house that looks impressive on the outside could still be in trouble if the foundation its built on is not solid. Maintenance starts from the inside out and not the outside in.
The Wise and Foolish Builders
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
That will determine how unshakable your foundation is when you can still praise Him.
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Job 23:10
Being home has shown me all the issues, hurts, and insecurities I’ve repressed since I was a child and a teenager and as a young adult before I left home 5 years ago. All those memories came flooding back. I feel like a spiritual war veteran who has been on the mission field and battled on the front lines only to find out that the war has just begun raging at another level back home. Have you heard of the saying, “Different regions, different demons”? We need to be aware of tactics of the enemy that can deceive and weaken our spiritual position.
God does not take back the gifts he has given to each person. “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48
“But with great power comes great responsibility.” -Spiderman.
But if we are not careful, the enemy can tempt us to use self justification as a mask for good intentions. Satan can use gifted people in ministry to neglect their own needs by keeping them busy trying to meet others needs but neglecting their own relationship with Him.
Although I just quoted Spiderman, we are not superheroes out to do God’s work in our own strength. If we try to meet everyone’s needs due to our need of approval or self edification as a “useful Christian” we have missed the mark of why we are doing it in the first place. Is it truly to please God? Or if honest with yourself.. is it for yourself or for man?
If you overextend your gifts in areas where you are not called and out of God’s timing, Satan may use it against you when you are Spiritually lacking to burn you out by doing too much in ministry. God will make all things beautiful in His time, but it is easy to get disappointed and tired in the long run when you are most needed. It does not help if there is no accountability or support within the community to carry those burdens. A burnt out missionary like me had to step back and get back to basics… and define what the Kingdom of Heaven is all about in God’s perspective and not just meeting mine or someone else’s vision of what it should look like.
So that’s my confessions of a returning missionary. Hopefully it will benefit those who struggle with returning home from the mission field. I’m guessing the reason why there is no counselling or debriefing for long term missionaries is because there is no high demand for it.