You have lived this last 11 months in a fish bowl. You may not know that yet, but you are about to find out. It probably started with your parents, or your supporters, but it has since moved out like ripples on a pond to your communities, your churches, and your colleges. Your blogs, pictures and videos have captured our attention. We are fascinated by your stories. We secretly wish we could have such amazing adventures, and some of us will. You have inspired us with the joy on your faces, and your tales of the heartbroken from around the world. Your journey has stirred something in us. Something that has been dormant…passion. Passion to live life to the fullest. Passion to go beyond mindless everyday living to being led by the Spirit of God.
We know that we cannot all GO like you did, but we have realized we can LIVE like you do. Trusting God for daily direction and provision instead of ourselves. Allowing others to speak into our lives instead of shutting ourselves off. Reaching out to those he puts in our paths no matter who that turns out to be. You have lived a watched-life, and we are grateful to you for taking us along on your journey of transparency.
I wanted to encourage you to continue this watched walk as you return to familiar roads and paths. Do not take off this intentionality when you cross the border. It is your garment to wear into your every day mission field…home. It will be tempting to fall back into habits with which you are accustomed. It will be easy to allow our American way to seep back into your minds and hearts. To pull back and fade into anonymity. I feel sure there will be some anger, sorrow, and pain in your future as you remember the joy of those you met along your journey that had nothing and you see the ungratefulness of many who have so much. Those will be your new realities, but in the midst of those remember the vulnerability of your travels. I am not saying you need to post videos about your trips to Walmart, or your office job. There is no need to post pictures of your food, or your mode of transportation. But what if you did? Metaphorically anyway. What if the day to day life you live…that at times seemed so mundane, became your mission field? What if you carried your “missionary mindset” into your daily world? What I am referring to is not your actions, it is your heart…because in reality, the whole journey has been about your heart. God has changed it. He has molded and softened it. We need softened compassionate hearts here at home.
You will continue to live a watched-life. Anyone who claims Christ does so. The really cool thing is that he will lead you here just like he did around the world. You merely have to look for him to find him all around you. To share him with others is an overflow of walking in transparency and living life…in a fishbowl.
You are saying good-bye to some incredible memories these next couple of days and that will be difficult as is each new life stage. Losing the closeness is hard, but it is good to remember what you have gained. Here are a few things I can think of…you can add your own.
- Couches to sleep on around the world.
- A new appreciation for “normal” food.
- Friendships that will never end, no matter where you are.
- People who “get” you.
- Eyes to see.
- Hears to hear.
- The ability to trust.
- The journey of a lifetime.
- Crazy games to teach your kids someday.
- A new talent for Karaoke.
- Permanent Chaco calluses.
- Leg muscles from walking, back muscles from carrying both packs and kids.
- Fully operational sweat glands.
- The knowledge that you can survive on a few dollars a day.
- The freedom that knowledge brings.
- Indelible marks on your heart left by the people of each culture you encountered.
- The vision to see beyond our own borders.
- Understanding of how to give and receive feedback.
- Seeing the importance of it.
- Knowing how to count money in 11 different countries.
- A love for God you didn’t know existed before now.
- Memories that will bring a smile to your face whenever you need one.
- A new appreciation for reliable internet.
- Knowledge that you don’t have to have it to live life.
- Thankfulness in all things.
- The God who is.