And with adventure comes lessons – part II
Here are a few more lessons I’ve been learning as of late. In case you missed “Part 1,” check it out here …
* You cannot live in fear that “bad” things are going to happen when you are away from loved ones. This will be true for me when I’m on the other side of the world from my family and close friends, but it would also be true if I lived in the same town they did. It has been easy to go to the, “What if ______ happens when we’re in Thailand?” “place” in my mind, but I finally realized that I just can’t live there. Living in the same geographical location as my loved ones does not ensure they will remain healthy and safe. In the same token, living in Thailand does not mean that the possibility of hard things happening to my loved ones will increase. It just doesn’t. I’m realizing that once again, it’s a trust issue. Do I trust God with my loved ones … and with myself? Not trust Him that nothing bad will happen, because it could. But … do I trust Him that, if something does happen, He is still in control? That His grace will enable me to “be ok” if it does? That He can meet me, strengthen me, and enable me to keep living and walk faithfully with Him even in the midst of deepest heartache? Living in fear that bad things will happen while I’m gone (or anytime, really) is not the place I should “camp out” mentally. Quite frankly, it’s a waste of emotional energy in addition to not trusting God.
* There is probably no such thing as a “perfect” good-bye. For a highly-relational and sentimental person such as myself, good-byes are somewhat hard. I think about how I want them to be “perfect.” To be honest, I’m not even sure what that means. I guess in my perfect world, during my last time with a loved one, I would be able to completely focus on the other person, s/he would be able to focus completely on me, we would get to communicate absolutely everything perfectly, and I would walk away feeling as if everything was completely tied up neatly, being at complete peace about how it all “went.” I know it sounds silly. Welcome to my world! (yikes) I tend to have unrealistic expectations (although I am growing in this area) of certain aspects of relationships. I am tempted to ignore the facts that you can’t control another person’s response, the fact that all people sin, and that life is just not that neat and tidy. And did you notice in my writing that my desire to have perfect good-byes can be very self-focused? Yep. It’s been so good for me to re-think what a good-bye should (and realistically can) look like.
* It is imperative to ask the “right set” of questions. I am learning in an increasing manner that it really is all about perspective. When feeling fearful, anxious, or inadequate when thinking about our move, I tend to ask myself the wrong questions (as evidenced by the first lesson in this post). It is way more typical for me to ask questions such as, “How am I going to handle ______ emotionally? What if _____ happens? What if ______ is too much for me?” Thankfully, God is challenging me to ask some different questions. Questions like, “What are you up to here, God? and “How will you come through in _______ situation? and “What will it look like to walk through _______ situation by your grace? When thinking about particular fears, I’m also learning that the best thing is often not to think about them (or ask any questions) at all! Well, at least not over-think them (because the denial of fears, etc. is never really helpful) because over-analyzing can often lead one down dangerous paths. Instead, the right action is to thank Him for how He will care for me, comfort me, and give the grace to do the necessary things at the right times. The bottom line? Ask God-focused questions rather than Dawn-focused questions. Makes sense to me. Now to just put it in practice …
Seriously, this is such good stuff. Not easy stuff, but good stuff. I am grateful, although hey, let’s be honest. I definitely have days where I am not enjoying the process, nor do I have the right attitude about it all. But, by God’s grace, I continue to move forward … and continue to learn.
Do you have thoughts or practical advice regarding these lessons? I would love to hear them!