Trying to update you all a little more often now that the date of my departure is fast approaching, which also means getting a handle on posting from my mobile browser while I ride the train to work and praying that the page loads correctly. I am in the process of booking flights and working out visa requirements and scrambling to throw a 21st birthday party/going away party together for the weekend before I go, and I’ve been finding myself feeling like I’m doing a lot on my own.
In some way this is great, in terms of building independence and learning life skills that I can carry with me for years to come. It really is the first time I’ve had to make important life decisions and actually be the one involved in the implementation stage, and that has been a scary thing for me. At any point during this process, I have had the freedom to stop and do something different, change dates, choose a different airline, spend a few extra dollars, or decide on whether I even still want to do this. However I’m being reminded that the more I take everything upon my own shoulders, the more I panic or get anxious, and the less I make this about serving God and the more it becomes about serving my own sense of pride.
I am still struggling mentally with other things that have been going on for me this year, but right now if you want to pray for me, I would be so very thankful if you were to pray for peace in my mind, and for God to make his plans come together well – not from my strength, but from his ever-greater, ever-wiser strength. I don’t want this to be about me, I’m not doing anything holy or heroic by going off for three months to work in an organisation that has been running for longer than I have been alive, and will continue to operate long after I leave. They don’t “need” me. I am still coming to terms with just how little I know, and just how very weak I am. I do think God has been trying to show me that I do have things to offer, but these things are almost all rooted in aspects of my flaws and weaknesses. My humanity. In 2 Corinthians chapter 12 Paul writes to the Corinthian church that God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness, and therefore when we are at our weakest, we are in fact at our very strongest thanks to God’s amazing grace. I’m really trying to take hold of that at this time, as I remember that none of this happens in my own efforts. And most of all, this experience has been teaching me just how desperately I need prayer, both in my own life and relationship with God, and as support from others.
Amazing, the things that Jesus can teach me when I’m suddenly thrashing around in the deep end, the way he comes in and throws me a life buoy to keep me afloat, even when I haven’t asked for it or done anything to deserve it. I still need to work to paddle my way forward, but it is well and truly God who keeps me from drowning.
“Tjohl stun tunm bot” was a Khmer proverb that Pip Miner taught us when our Plunge cohort visited Poipet in 2011, and I have been carrying the phrase in my wallet ever since. I am certain that I’ve spelled it inaccurately, as our alphabet doesn’t articulate enough sounds, but that is my attempt at conveying it in English print. When sounded out, it roughly translates to the phrase “to enter the river according to its bends”. God has already mapped out a journey for me, and it can be as easy or as difficult as I choose to make it, a lot of the time. Of course, there will be times where it gets difficult even when I am compliant, and Job has been accompanying me through the past few months as I reflect on this unpleasant reality of life and all the things I thought would be consistent suddenly disappear, but if I swim against the current of God’s plans, things will only get more distressing and ultimately exhausting; the water will swirl and throw me into rocks and get me caught in mangrove roots, and I will be no better off. But if I trust in God’s promises and allow myself to follow the current, even if I can’t see what’s before me, I can know that God will work all things for his glory, and what a beautiful thing to be able to be a part of his plan.