Sunday, November 16, 2014
A Year of Rest
were death threats. There were times I saw some of the worst in humanity - watching a mother punch her baby in the face several times. Seeing parents put their kids to work on the streets. Yet, through it all there was peace.
I came home from that 6 months and began raising full time support to go back for a few years. I allowed myself 5 or 6 days a week to have a part time job and hold meetings or plan fundraisers. And I was very protective of that seventh day - my sabbath. I didn't hold meetings. I didn't fundraise. I rested. I read books. I walked. I sat for hours sipping coffee and just being. Through it all, I knew who I was and I took joy in that.
Eventually, towards the end of my time in Kenya something changed. I stopped taking a sabbath every week. I stopped having my personal quiet time. I took on the identity of "missionary" and yet I wasn't finding joy in the work. I felt only the pressure. I was so busy working for God that I forgot how to live for him. In simple words, I was burned out. That' when the most amazing gift was given to me: I was kicked out of the country. It took me a while to see that as the gift that it was. I came back home and started the journey through one of the hardest years in a long time. In January of last year, I made that painful decision to stop pursuing reentry to Kenya. I sat down with some of the pastors at church and told them I wanted a year of being home. No, I needed a year of being home. I don't know where the wisdom in that came from because it sure wasn't mine! I said that I needed a year to find myself again. A year to not have any big decisions to make. A year of blending into the crowd again. I wanted a year out of the spotlight. To not sit down at a coffee shop and be recognized by anyone as "the Kenya guy". I wanted a year to myself. Not up front anymore. Not leading anything.
It felt so selfish at first. I mean, I had some good mentors over the years and such an incredible experience and I'm taking a year to basically be alone. Now that that year is down to just a month and a half left, let me tell you something. It was the best decision i made in a long time! And it was far from selfish. I tried to be involved in a ministry this past spring and quickly realized I wasn't ready. I had nothing to offer. I was so broken that I couldn't possibly help others.
This past year of rest has been hard. Very hard. I've doubted. I've been angry. I've been hurt. And I have allowed all of those feelings, and many others. I haven't ignored them. And in them, I have found that rest again. I am beginning to have that itch to be involved again. I don't plan on moving away, but I plan on being actively involved again. I gave myself until January before fully committing to anything. And I know that when I do, I'll be ready and able to commit myself. This year of rest has been so beautiful.
Last weekend I was exchanging a phone case at Best Buy when this older man got in line behind me. Right away he started to complain that "the line was too long". I found myself not even caring. I was in no rush. And to be honest, I hadn't even noticed that the line was long. I ended up walking aimlessly around the store for about an hour after. Then, I ended up in another store doing the same thing. That's when it hit me: I've found that peace again. I am far from living it out perfectly. But I can taste it again. And it's oh so sweet a taste.