Oftentimes, the journey of self discovery is one of many deep layers.
Layers that God wants to walk through with us if we will allow Him access to our thoughts, our heart.
Self discovery brought on by the difficult path of life can have a powerful impact on our personal growth.
Even those paths we never wanted to travel can be tools God will use to shape us into His image.
When I’m in these seasons of growth and change, my brain has a hard time shutting down.
There is so much to think about and so many details to coordinate in our lives as missionaries that I have a hard time experiencing any down time.
Each day is full of challenges.
Where is home.
Do we belong.
What is feels like to be fully and completely comfortable in our own space.
To not think about where we will sleep or which vehicle we should drive or how to pack our suitcases according to the weather, the places we are going and how many nights we are staying in each place.
To be able to just not think… this season includes so much thinking.
Thinking that makes me exhausted from the learning, the details, the constant go.
It is a good tired.
The kind of tired you feel during the long stretch of a marathon.
Enough energy to keep going yet feeling yourself fading with each passing mile, keeping the goal in sight.
We are in a mental and physical marathon… a long period of self-denial, self-control and self-discipline.
Relying on a deeper sense of strength than I even knew existed. Taking our relationship with God to a whole new level completely.
The kind of level that shows us how far we’ve come and how far we’ve yet to travel.
The kind of deep realness that reveals a new layer of learning with every single step.
Life right now is not easy.
It is hard and ripe for growth.
Even in the small things.
I was laughing the other day about how we are in so many new places that I forget where things are in the place I’m in at the moment.
I will just learn one place and then we move on.
I tend to memorize where things are in case I need them at night.
Light switches, kleenex, toilet paper… all the normal things.
I was in a hotel bathroom recently in the middle of the night and I kept searching for the toilet paper roll, convinced it was in one place… but I was thinking of the wrong bathroom. wrong hotel. wrong city. I had to fully wake up before I even remembered where I was for the night.
Another time, I was standing in the middle of a kitchen thinking, “Where is the trash can?” because I was in the third new kitchen that same week.
Or, I’ll think… “I thought they had straws here… oh wait, that was the last place.”
Just thinking about it exhausts my brain.
Every day requires huge amounts of thinking, planning, scheduling, prepping, deciding and executing the plan or the schedule.
This personal side of missionary life is tough stuff.
Real life doesn’t stop because we travel to raise support. Family life still happens. Parenting, paying bills, grocery shopping, phone calls, trips to the post office, calls to the doctor… life still goes on.
I’m watching my girls change before my eyes.
I’m watching our marriage walk through stress like we’ve never felt stress before.
I’m watching our family spend most every waking moment together and still enjoy the journey.
I’m watching us grow together and learn together.
I’m watching us choose joy in the midst…
Just when I think I’ve handed it all over to God or just when I think I’ve surrendered… just when I think I’ve gone all in… God takes me to new levels of surrender.
The worry, the homesickness, the struggle, the weariness… it all pales in comparison to what He has yet to teach us and grow us and keep us on this journey of missions.
I’m tired. I’m at the end of me.
But it is okay.
God’s got this season of self discovery.
We will make it.
This season will pass.
Into another season of more growth, stretching, struggle and joy.
Life isn’t easy but we didn’t choose missions because it was easy.
We didn’t choose West Africa because it was easy.
We chose it because we have chosen to obey His call.
Whatever the sacrifice. Giving our all every single day to the call of God.
Letting Him take us to new layers of ourselves, letting Him show us new levels of Himself and allowing ourselves the chance to be fully poured out and spent for the gospel.
So, when my brain can’t shut down, when my body can’t rest… I trust His hand and His heart. I ask Him to show us new layers and new levels. I ask Him to walk this journey with us, entrusting our family to His care.
When the full impact of our lives right now stares me in the face, I look to the face of the One who called us.
When the mountain is huge and the valley is long, I cling to the Rock that is higher.
So… to the many deep layers of self discovery we have yet to see and to the many incredible levels God has yet to show us… we continue on the race set before us… choosing joy, choosing obedience, choosing to follow.
To take this journey, this adventure and all that comes with it.
What are you learning in your season of self discovery?