Tag Archives: decisions

I hate waiting…

Standard

I hate waiting.

I think a lot of us can relate to that.  We don’t like being in the Waiting Room of life.  Yet waiting is a reality, a life skill, and a spiritual discipline.  But I hate waiting just the same.

Right now in my real world I am waiting for certain things to happen.  I am waiting for a few people to get back to me via email.  I am waiting for certain events to come to completion.  I am waiting for a few problems to be resolved.  I am waiting for God to give me direction in a few decisions that must be made.  But I hate waiting.

I had coffee with a long time friend this week.  She too is in a Waiting Room in her life.  She has obeyed God, taken a step of faith, and risked it all without knowing how it’s going to end.  She and her husband have quit their jobs, because God told them to.  And now they wait.  They are waiting for the next direction from God.  Soon the paychecks will stop coming, and there is no “plan” for when that happens.  God has told them to wait.  And so they wait.

My friend lives by the ocean.  One day as she was walking along the shore watching the waves,  and a question just popped into her head.  She wondered, “who times the waves?  Does God tell each wave when to hit the shore?  Surely God has better things to do than to command each wave when to hit.”

And in that moment, God spoke directly into her heart.

God said, “I have already given each wave it’s orders.   I set the waves in motion and each wave knows when it will hit the shore.  I have already set the wave of your life in motion, it just hasn’t hit the shore yet.  Wait for it.”

And peace followed.

Wait for the wave to hit the shore.  It is coming.  Events are already in motion that you know nothing of.  The wave is coming.  Wait for it.

Second Guesses Don’t Count

Standard

Every once in a while I second guess myself.  Most of the time I am totally sure of my impulsive self (get it?).  Most of the time my actions are completely congruent with my vision for my life, where I think I should be going and the kind of person that I’m trying to become.  But every once in a blue moon the stars align and I’m hamstrung with self-doubt, paralyzed with indecision.

This cosmic even usually occurs in a Walmart within the first week of arriving back in the United States.  We have Walmarts here where I live, but they aren’t the same.  They are purely functional.  If you want a plastic spatula, a laundry basket or a bag of Kitty Litter then a Costa Rican Walmart is your place.  All the basics are here.  Walmart is just a grocery store on steroids.  For example, they have an entire aisle of yogurt and another complete aisle of coffee products and milk in unrefrigerated boxes.  Here I never feel paralyzed with indecision because my choices are quite limited.

I’m still so frustrated with my reaction to shopping when I go home.  The minute I set foot in a big store like Target or Walmart I feel the count down to a migraine beginning.  It’s a race against the clock.  I better go in there with a list or else I’m doomed.  This star-crossed shopper has been known to leave the store without buying a single thing simply because I couldn’t make a decision.  I know it’s time to leave when I hear my decision-making brain cells start to sizzle with the over load of information.  Sensing fear, Self Doubt sees its opportunity and pounces on the weakest of the herd.  It takes me down like a predator to its prey.

I found the Emergency Exit… in the middle of a forest.

This happens in my Spiritual Life too.  I don’t know how many times I’ve prayed, “Lord, you have to make your will SUPER clear to me, ’cause I’m not hearing you so well right now.”  I make a move in one direction and doors start to open.  I usually take this as a sign that I’m on the right path and keep moving along that route until I hit a wall or come across a fork in the road.  Usually I live by the philosophy that if you don’t hear anything new from the Lord then you just keep doing the last thing he told you to do.  No new instructions mean “keep on keeping on.”  Stay the course.

But sometimes I’m pushing on doors and they are opening smoothly when suddenly I’m griped by that old self doubt.  I second guess my decisions.  “Oh my word, this might actually happen!”  I gasp.  “Am I ready for this?  Is this really what I want?  Is it too late to back out of this commitment?”  I get cold feet.  This thing takes on a life of it’s own!

That’s when my prayer switches from “God lead me” to “God give me courage!”  Of course I want him to stop me if I’m wrong, correct me if I’m off course, and keep me from making a bad decision.  But when self doubt and fear come knocking on my door, I need courage to stay the course and not go running back to what is familiar and safe.  I commit my way to the Lord again and pull out his promises to strengthen my resolve.

“The steps of a Righteous Man (Woman) are ordered by God.”

“Direct my footsteps according to your word, let no sin rule over me.”

“A man’s steps are directed by the Lord.  How then can anyone understand his own way?” 

Then I breathe deeply and resolve to Keep on Keeping on until I hear differently from the one who orders my steps.

Navigating with a broken rudder- Reverse Culture Shock

Standard

Before we became missionaries I heard lot about culture shock, the emotional roller coaster ride you take when you enter a new culture.  What I didn’t hear much about was reentry shock or reverse culture shock, the emotional roller coaster ride you take when you return to your native culture.  OK, so what I did hear about reentry shock made me roll my eyes.  I heard stories about missionaries having tearful break downs in the grocery store because they couldn’t decide which salad dressing to buy (Good grief, get a grip Woman!).  I heard of missionaries forgetting their English vocabulary (seriously?!).  I heard of missionaries hiding in their houses and not wanting to talk to people (don’t be such a party pooper).  I thought, “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of.  Why would anyone have shock coming HOME to the culture you grew up in?  That’s ridiculous.”  I mocked.  Until it happened to me.

Coming back home from Mexico for the first time, reentry shock hit me hard.  And I was horrified that I had ever made fun of it before.  It’s real.  Oh, let me tell you, it’s real!  Now I was the missionary having a melt down in the grocery store… only it was over shredded wheat, not dressing… I remember the feeling of panic rising in my heart when I entered the cereal aisle.  Oh my Gosh!  There are 6 different flavors of shredded wheat- and I’ve never tried ANY of them!  How do I know which one I like?  In the end, I couldn’t commit to a new flavor.  I walked out with an ordinary box of mini wheats because it was the safe choice.

I also remember the first 5 times I entered Walmart and walked out again without buying a single thing.  Yes, I said FIVE TIMES.  I could feel my decision making brain cells starting to sizzle.  I felt a migraine coming on.  I was totally incapable of making so many decisions at once.  I was overwhelmed by my options.  Do you remember the first time being a parent and going to buy diapers?  Do you remember standing in the diaper aisle and reading every label, comparing prices, size of package, size of child, special features?  Remember how consuming and overwhelming that was because you didn’t know which was going to be the best bargain?  Then after a while you commit to a brand and it becomes your “go to” brand.  You can tell your husband, Pick up some diapers at the store, and he knows to get the red package or the package with the puppies on it.  You don’t have to think about that decision any more.

Well, coming back into America it was like my computer had crashed and the memory had been erased.  All my “favorites” had been erased, my cache had been emptied.  I had to start from scratch and rebuild my life.  There were a lot of tears in the first few months.  I remember half way through the grocery store putting my head down on my exhausted arms resting on the handle of the cart.  I said, “I just can’t make one more decision!  Why the heck is this store so big?”  I looked at my cart and I thought about unloading everything onto the conveyor belt at the check out, then bagging it all up, then loading it back into my cart, then loading it all into my car, then bringing it all into my house, then putting it all away in my kitchen.  I was seriously tempted to abandon my cart right then and there.  I was in a full fledged reentry shock episode.

Unfortunately it didn’t stop there, and it didn’t consume just me.  My entire household was in a state of emotional upheaval and I was navigating with a broken rudder.  Now I can look back on those first few months and laugh at having to read the instructions on the gas pump or standing too close to the lady in the line in front of me or accidentally kissing my friend’s husband on the check when I greeted him or throwing my toilet paper in the garbage can or whatever loco stuff I did.  I can blame it all on reentry shock… don’t YOU roll your eyes at me!