Saturday, February 7, 2015

Changing the World, One Tuna Sandwich at a Time

I seem to have always wanted to reject the ordinary.

As a child, my favorite color was green instead of pink.  I refused to wear the stylish clothes my mom bought me, in favor of old hand-me-down dresses.  I didn't wear a single pair of jeans until I was about sixteen.

When we moved to Liberia when I was six, I wholeheartedly embraced my identity as a Third Culture Kid.  I was thrilled to be different.  Some missionary kids struggle with not fitting into their home cultures; I reveled in the fact that I did not fit in.

I was determined not to live an ordinary life.  In high school, I volunteered to help with a Bible study for disabled kids. I spent summers at a camp for inner-city kids.  I was determined to Change the World.  I wonder now if my motivation was less about loving people and more about my fear of being ordinary.

I was terrified of suburbia and mini-vans.  I am thankful that God in His graciousness is allowing me to spend my life in Africa.  But I've discovered that even here, where adventures are much more common, the Ordinary still creeps in.

I'm in that place right now.  We're involved in ministry that is still trying to get it's toddler feet on the ground.  My husband spends the bulk of his time studying and preparing for classes.  We have very few cool, exciting stories to tell.

New relationships are coming slower than I want.  Language is coming slower than I want.  I am trying to figure out this new world of having all my children in school, and how I am supposed to divide my time and what I should and shouldn't commit to.

And every day I make meals and fill water bottles.  We do homework and pick up toys and I do some accounting for our ministry, and I help in my kids' classrooms, and I go to HOPAC board meetings.  I am busy.....but it is all ordinary.  Even power outages are a routine.

I find myself restless and discontent.  I want more.  I want to do more; I want to be more; I want to accomplish more.  I feel like I must be doing something wrong.

We look for visions from heaven, for earthquakes and thunders of God's power, and we never dream that all the time God is in the commonplace things and people near us.  If we will do the duty that lies nearest, we shall see Him.  (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, February 7)

Once again,  I must knock down the idol of Being Different.  Am I where God wants me to be?  Am I doing what God wants me to do?  Then I must embrace the Ordinary.  Pick up the toy; make the tuna sandwich; love the person in front of me.

Even though I'll always like green a whole lot more than pink.

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