mercredi 12 juillet 2006

Home culture shock

Well, I've done it again: I've fallen back into my horrible habit of not reading the Bible for stretches at a time. Keeping in mind of course that I love the Bible and that reading it everyday is just the greatest joy and not a chore. But somehow in between being away from home and coming back, I feel like I've returned to my comfortable routine where I don't necessarily have a craving for the Bible like I did. When I was living in Quebec City, I was nearly always by myself and there's only so much you can handle of your own company. So the Bible became even more precious to me - it was a way to get my mind off of myself and onto God. I remember being so content sitting on my bland orange bed in dorms and happily reading the Old Testament. And now? It's been a few days and I am frustrated at myself for reading everything in front of me but the Bible.

I thought I was alone when this happened to me the first time in April, but my classmates experienced the same thing when they also came back from the mission field. My friend Missy said that her devotional life flourished overseas but that after coming home, everyday life just took over and suddenly it was easy to put Jesus on the back burner. I suppose when you're living in a different culture and there's a language barrier, you simply run to God first because you are in over your head and you are well aware of it. But being home, now that's a different story. Errands and appointments just take over your days and before you know it, you realize you haven't really dedicated anything to Him and that you've been running mostly on your own strength.

Sigh, I didn't realize how hard it would be just to be home. It is much easier being here where I am able to communicate with people and where I'm surrounded by family and friends... but, it feels like a battle at the same time. I'm battling being in too much of a comfort zone and I'm battling the ease of slipping into spiritual laziness as a result of familiarity. My classmates and I had a debriefing class where we talked about the emotional process of re-entry and how we would be experiencing reverse culture shock, much in the same way that we had culture shock in our new environment. I assumed I would be fine because I didn't even leave the country but it has been difficult. My few weeks at home in between my trips to Quebec were very confusing and now that I'm back for the summer, I'm still working out that confusion.

What I draw the most comfort from is in how one of our professors concluded that class. We were all sitting there in a sombre mood with probably a funny look on our faces when we heard, "Now think of the Incarnation and the Ascension and what that must have been like for Jesus." Wow, did that grab our attention. I mean, I have wondered how Jesus must have felt in giving up all of the glory and splendour of heaven to come to earth in a human body, but I haven't pondered too much about the reverse in how Jesus was resurrected from the dead and then ascended back to heaven. I wrote the following down in my notes and I continue to be struck by this thought: "Jesus came back to heaven in something He never was in before. He is now in a body at the right hand of God. And not only that, He is the only imperfect being in heaven because of His scars." Not to get into the theological semantics here, but it means so much to know that we are not alone in what we are going through as we figure out how to be ourselves again at home - Jesus most definitely and completely understands.

Huh, the good news is I just read Luke 24 and John 20:24-31 to make sure I didn't accidentally write things in a heretical slant (all for orthodoxy here!) so that was a way to get into the Word again :) I know I'm not being as (spiritually and otherwise) disciplined as I have been or as I should be, but I trust that God is working on me and helping me to relearn life at home with Him. What joy, immeasurable joy it is that no matter where I am, He will never leave me nor forsake me. Jesus is faithful, to the very end!

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