Friday, July 10, 2009

Understanding Doesn't Equal Exemption

It's begun. Culture stress. The inevitable process of adapting to and becoming part of another culture. And yes, it is inevitable. Even if you've lived in another culture previously. Even if you are walking with Jesus daily. As long as you are human, you will partake of this process as you integrate into another culture.

But that doesn't mean it's always a welcome process. I have found in the missionary community, there is a lot of acceptance of culture shock and culture stress, as long as we are not the ones experiencing it. But we tend to be very demanding of ourselves and believe that we shouldn't experience this natural and necessary process.

For me, this stems from the misbelief that if we UNDERSTAND a process, we somehow believe ourselves to be EXEMPT from the effects of said process. Do we really educate ourselves on culture stress to prepare ourselves to walk through it...or deep down is it in hopes we can avoid it all together (wouldn't that be nice!)?

To all my missionary friends out there, my deepest desire for you today is that you would accept the grace that is there for you as you go through this process (and it can take years), that you would stop begrudging yourselves for experiencing it! You are a beautiful creation of His and as painful as it sometimes is...He designed you to adapt, with His grace and by His power at work in you!

I encourage anyone who is a missionary or who loves missionaries to click here for a brief description of culture stress. I found it a helpful reminder.


Belinda Chaplin said...

thanks for the reminder!! I guess I was wondering again why I am soooo tired, and this is a good reminder as to why (well besides being busy!) And I like that article... the practical things that one can do! Hope that you will work through things as well...

Ellie said...

It's funny, but we think that. If we understand it, we are exempt.

Here I am this week all moody and emotional and upset at myself. I know that we are leaving here for awhile and headed out for two months of travel and new beds and all, going "home" which is becoming less and less home each time back, but which I still miss being a part of... I understand that I am in the "pre-move" jitters. I'm tired, anxious, and emotional.

I could just relax. I know I'll be ok again once we actually hit the road.

Good reminder.

Tim and Susan said...

Thank you so much for your post and the article. I think I will put the link to that article in my blog sometime if that is ok.

I was just in tears just to have someone verbalize what I have experienced. You always hear of "culture shock" and I usually write that off after the first few months....but, "culture stress" is there forever...AND we have to deal with it here in the States too. It just zaps ya sometimes and I need to give myself grace and not expect too much of myslef (or my family for that matter!!). Thanks for blessing me today!!!

So glad God provided your family with a super car-van!!! Hope you can settle soon in your own place!!


Becky Aguirre said...

Yeah, good reminder...I think I tend to think that way, too. Love the new look!

Mo said...

Thanks for the post Shilo. I've quit fighting it and though I don't feel I've completely surrendered to it, I need to work on it. I'll read the article and let it speak to me. I've been warned of the 7 - 9 month lows. Perhaps that's where I'm at. And if this is the lows, well then, it's only up from here. :)

Julie said...

Yes, this is so true. I miss Paraguay so much and can't wait to be home in just about a week!! I look forward to catching up more with you then.


Related Posts with Thumbnails