Friday, December 12, 2008
Who is This Person?
Vintage clip art courtesy of the Graphic Fairy
I'm sitting there, my heart's racing and I feel so anxious. Tears are pouring down my cheeks. I'm wondering, "Who is this person? Because she's not me. She's not the confident, decisive person I have always been."
It was supposed to be a fun day of shopping with my husband. But I wasn't having much fun. I felt under pressure to find the perfect gift at the best price. I picked things up and then put them back. I doubted my judgement. And I felt angry that I was having such a hard time! This was supposed to be fun. And really, it always had been in the past.
As I sat there crying and praying, I realized I was having a little bit of reverse culture shock (that means I was having a hard time processing or accepting the way things are done in my own culture). I'd evolved into someone different during my four years in South America.
I guess it's because, in some ways, my options were so limited there and choices weren't a luxury that I enjoyed (if you've never travelled overseas, you're gonna have to take my word on this). I remember shopping and shopping until I found something that would work for me. I got used to "making do" and "pinch hitting". I gladly paid whatever outrageous price was asked for an item I had been searching for because I knew I would likely never find it again. I got used to living that way. Sure there were times it was hard to deal with but on the other hand, it made me more creative and resourceful and ultimately reduced my attachment to things. And that was something to be thankful for.
But back in my own culture, I felt overwhelmed at all the options . The thrill of hunting for the best deal became cumbersome. And I suddenly began to question my ability to make good decisions. Had I really become so mush brained that I couldn't tell until I walked out of the store that $30 of merchandise for $20 was better than $20 of merchandise for $20?
I can be pretty hard on myself, and maybe that's what you're thinking I'm doing. And you're right. At first, I was. But what it's turned into for me is a chance to remember what my REAL identity is. I'm not an indecisive, anxious, insecure person (even if I feel like it).
I'm a child of God. I'm not defined by my actions or thoughts (no matter what provokes them). I'M DEFINED BY WHAT HE SAYS ABOUT ME. And He says I'm accepted in the Beloved. I'm seated in the heavenly places at His right hand. I'm loved with an everlasting love. I'm bought with a price. I'm secure for all eternity. I'm His.
And that makes all the difference. It allows me to forgive myself for thinking I should be perfect. It causes me to relax and deal graciously with myself when I see that I am having difficulty processing my own culture and appreciate that OF COURSE I am changed by four years in another culture (I would have robbed myself greatly if I had never learned from that opportunity!).
So why am I sharing this with you? I don't really know, except that I feel compelled to do so. Maybe someone will be encouraged by my testimony. Maybe someone else will understand missionary women better as a result of reading it. Ultimately, I just hope that God gets the glory somehow. Because He deserves it.