You know how much I love a good list. I can make lists for anything.
Right now, there are two notebooks and two sticky note pads with lists on them sitting on the desk next to me. I have apps on my phone for list making and programs to keep track of this or that.
Making lists for things to-do, things to buy, things to read, things to write.
I love a good list.
In my list making, I was thinking about the New Year and remembered this post that I’d written for Velvet Ashes. My first post, actually!
It was titled “Questions that make me sigh” and, because this might be you right now in your journey overseas, in this new decade we’ve just begun, I’m going to share it here.
Original post below:
“What are your hobbies? What do you enjoy doing? What are some of your favorite things?”
I always sigh at those questions.
I sigh because my list is full of things I love to do. I have many, many things I enjoy. I have an unending list of favorite things.
I sigh because although my lists are long… the things on my list are often far away.
Living cross-culturally takes me far away from many of the things I love and forces me to live far away from the things I enjoy.
Birthday and holiday dinners with family
Shopping days with my mom and sisters
Sending the kids to Iowa and Grandma for a week each summer
Memory boxes stored over 4000 miles away
Beach days at Lake Michigan
Coffee with friends at Panera
An extra large vanilla coke from Sonic
Afternoons spent reading while the snow falls out the window
Church activities and picnics and lifegroups
Book browsing at Barnes and Noble
Camping in the woods with our girls
Bonfires with real Hershey’s chocolate, American marshmallows and actual Graham Crackers
The freedom of my mini van and a trip to Target with Chick-Fil-A for lunch
The wonderful sight of Red, White and Blue
I could go on and on…
My life is lived far, far away from so much of what I love and enjoy.
Yet, I must purpose in my heart to make new lists, to find new things that I love and enjoy.
Living cross-culturally opens doors and awakens possibilities to enjoy things I never dreamed I would do… let alone love.
My list now is broader, bigger.
I can enjoy things on this side of the ocean and create new hobbies, new loves all from our new home.
I am building a new list.
Meeting friends from all over the world
Creating new traditions
Setting up house in new places
Browsing through world museums and sights
Trying new patisseries
Sunshine every day
Incredible history all around me
Laughing while learning a new language
Beautiful flowers as I walk from place to place
Plenty of exercise
No processed snacks in sight
Foods from all over the world
Learning new cultures
Sharing life with friends back home through pictures
Seeing my girls grow in God through great life experiences
Training people in the Word where training has never been available before
Walking where no Christian has been for many years… or possibly ever
This list is fluid and growing.
I am learning that although I left behind many, many loves, God is not leaving me joyless and stranded.
He is daily opening my eyes to new mercies. He is giving me joy in the desert places. He is sufficiently providing and continually teaching me to trust His hand at work.
He is guiding me to branch out, live bigger, try new things and fall in love with different experiences and unexplored places.
God is showing me that I can enjoy Him, for who He is, and share in His blessings no matter where I live.
He is present. He is working. He is allowing me to enjoy His big world and He is giving me the gift of this moment.
Joy in the now.
Joy in where I am.
Joy in this situation.
Joy in each new experience.
Joy in the desert.
Joy in my new home.
Joy in my daily life.
Right here. Right now.
And just in case you need some inspiration:
So, what are you enjoying today as you live far away from your old list?
How do you let God help you create a new list of loves in this cross-cultural experience?