When You Didn’t See IT Coming

Aug 27, 2019 | 0 comments

I was dishing food onto my plate for dinner when a text came through. “My dad is dead?” At first I was confused because it was a question and my friend lived on the other side of the world. Sadly, her dad had died unexpectedly. Just when she thought she would be setting up her classroom and preparing to welcome a new group of students, she found herself booking a ticket back to the U.S. As I write this, her whirlwind week of cleaning out his home, planning a service with her brother, and making more decisions than anyone should make while jetlagged and grieving is coming to an end. 

Soon she will be back on a plane and heading to her home on the field.

While God knows what this year holds for you, you will probably deal with the known and the surprises.

The list on-the field of curveballs is long:

—Visa denied (or needing extra paperwork)

—Pipes burst and either your home is flooded or you do not have water for a week

—Medical situations that involved travel

—A teammate has to leave the field unexpectedly and you need to absorb their work

—The internet is down . . . what feels like forever

—A natural disaster destroys buildings, kills livestock, and leaves thousands impacted

—A pregnancy (not all curveballs are bad!)

—Political shifts change the nature of your “work”

—A visa granted months earlier than expected and suddenly you are moving months before you thought you would

In the midst of so much out of your control, how can you deal with so many possibilities? The very nature of your life in cross-cultural service involves an ability to recalculate. Enter this month’s workshop. I wanted the first workshop to be something that you can listen to before you need it and return to it as the year unfolds and your find yourself recalculating.

When I read Serving Well by Jonathan and Elizabeth Trotter the chapter on “recalculating” caught my eye. I contacted Jonathan and asked him if he would be interested in presenting a workshop that would theologically and practically equip you for the recalculating you will need to do this year. He was game! 

Because we are all still getting our bearings here at Global Trellis, I wanted to let you know that the workshop will be available for $10 until August 31, 2019 and then the price will go to its permanent price of $20. (New workship on the first of each month.)

What helps at times of changes is the spiritual practice of noticing God’s presence. Of course, this practice helps all the time. In her book The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, author Adele Calhoun says, “Practicing the presence is a way of living into deeper awareness of God’s activity in our lives. Through many small pauses we begin a habit of turning our heart toward God. Through these acts of attention we express our intention to live in union with Christ.”

Today, as you tend your soul, take a few minutes to reflect on these questions from The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook:

1. Where do your thoughts go when they aren’t focused on work or diverted by amusement? What do these thoughts reveal about your concerns and priorities?

2. How aware are you of the possibility of meeting God during your day?

3. What is it like for you when God shows up at an unexpected moment?

4. How easy is it for God to get your attention? When are you best able to hear God’s still, small voice?

5. What would it look like for you to intentionally seek deeper intimacy with God?

I don’t know what changes you will face this year, but I do know this: you will face changes. 

God offers Himself to you all the time, but in seasons of change, you might miss Him. Use these questions to feed your sense of His presence, so that you can notice God a bit more readily when the changes come. Watch the workshop on Recalculating to Change and allow God, with Jonathan’s help, to equip you for this year. 

Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash

Amy Young

Life enthusiast. Author. Sports lover. Jesus follower. Supporting cross-cultural work.

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