Thursday, December 20, 2012

Is Africa my Nineveh?

I didn't really want to come back.

Being away from everything was good for my soul. It's like Africa provided this barrier that had been placed between myself and all previous expectations on my life. It provided the haven of a break. A true break. A much needed break. No one could expect much of me because I was out of the country... I was unreachable... I was gone. 

Sometimes it's nice to be gone. 
To be in the midst of a situation where the expectations for you are simple. I knew what I needed to do in Africa. 

But when I looked at coming back, a huge monstrosity of confusion clouded my vision. Maybe it was more just the overwhelming realization that upon my return to America, a new life for me would inevitably unfold. As much as I've been thinking, planning, and praying for what would be next in my journey come January...there was always the buffer of time on my side. Nothing ever feels real when it hasn't happened yet, when there's still months and weeks left to meander through. 

Coming home meant a new life was literally right around the corner, and I didn't feel sure about that new life. The question that I've been successfully avoiding was now at the surface of every thought accompanied with my future: is this really what I should be doing? 

It's a question that stems from fear. 
Because, the truth is, I don't actually know. And I hate not knowing. 

So, naturally, while in Africa one must entertain the notion of what it could look like to spontaneously drop everything and move across the world to love orphans who are clearly in need. That is undeniably important. But is that what I should be doing? 

I don't know. 
A part of me would love nothing more. And in the midst of my uncertainty about my current future plans, this romantic/dramatic part of me would love to sell everything I have, move overseas, and establish myself as a woman who will be there to love and care for those kids no matter what... to be someone of stability in their life. 

On our trip we had devotions each morning led by various team members. One particular morning, Erin led us in a discussion about Jonah. It was complete with the Jesus Storybook Bible (which might be one of the better books around, if you've never read it...). Naturally, it brings up this inner conflict as you sort through the Ninevehs in your own life. Or, at least it did for me. 

Is Africa my Nineveh?
Is God calling me to go to Africa, to preach the good news there, to live a life of love there... and I'm rejecting the call? 

Honestly, I still don't know. 
So this is where I've left it... 

I'm going to graduate school in a few weeks near Boston. And while I don't know that this is what I'm supposed to be doing...I'm walking in faith that it's still good. I'm walking in faith that if this is not the path I'm meant to be on, that the Lord will make it clear to me. I'm walking in faith that if the Lord truly wants me in Africa, that it will be a decision that I feel confident in. Because, like Jonah, God didn't release him of the call even when he didn't initially follow through. I feel like God will be faithful in that to me. 

I struggle with discernment. I struggle with knowing what the Lord would have me do versus only doing what I would have me do. I know I'm not alone in this struggle. So, in that? I think this is the best I can do. 

Often I'm walking blindly, often I'm walking into the unknown, often I'm simply unsure. But, no matter where I go, I pray the Lord find me faithful... I pray He find me obedient in loving Him and His people. So regardless of if I'm in Africa, or Boston, or somewhere else in the world, I think I'm okay as long as I'm seeking to know Him. 

And when and if my Nineveh ever comes? I pray that the Lord would find me faithful in going, in sharing, in loving... no matter the cost. 

But for now I'm simply too unsure to make drastic life alterations. For now, I know I'm still walking into something good and maybe necessary before I move onto another season of intense ministry. 

And for now? I'm back. Fully immersed in the previous expectations that I had received a small break from... and it's good and they matter. You matter. 

Instead of us being people who flounder around in the uncertainty of where God would have us go, I pray that we would be people who walk assuredly toward becoming the people He has called us to be, trusting that He will move us in and out of various places along the way. I wonder if our journey is much more about who we are becoming over the places we are going and somehow we get caught up in the thinking the latter defines the former. Perhaps it's the other way around. 

May we be a people who focus on loving God, knowing God.... and letting that define how we serve God. 

* * *

Your entries will remain anonymous

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your honesty and transparency, Debbie. Love reading your posts.