Sunday, July 3, 2011

Overthinking and overoverthinking

Time to process is a funny thing, because you usually end up processing but not the things you intended on processing which in turn opens up new doors to things you need to process. Spectacular.

I spent the last four days in the Dominican Republic checking out a potential ministry site for my school. It was a pretty amazing site and the staff is doing some pretty impressive stuff/work in the area of balancing long term impact with short term visitors/assistance. I'll probably blog more on that later. It was really cool to go around to their different ministry sites (sports/social work/medical/microfinance) but what consistently happened is I just kept stewing in the fact that I'm at the point where I bolt. This is what I mean: Ever since I was born I've never done anything for more than 5 years. Ever. I never lived anywhere for more than five years. I've never had a job for more than five years. I've never stayed in a church for more than five years. Last year was my fifth year at Santa Fe which inevitably starts to bring up this sort of restlessness that works around in my brain like a bad itch. I can't help it. Should I stay? Should I move? Is it even worth thinking over. It's not that I have any desire to leave Santa Fe persay, but the whole 5 year thing has this very real tendency to make me think and rethink and rerethink what I'm doing. Is this really what I want to be doing for decades? Am I having the impact I want to have?

I'd love to say that being in the DR gave me a renewed sense of solidity in where I am, but if anything it just kind of made the whole thing worse. Every missionary we talked to talked about being restless in their job/position. Everyone talked about having these moments when the wanted to move out into the world. The site director even looked me in the eye and said, when you're going to head out into missions God just might give you this "holy restlessness."

I'm not saying I'm going into full time missions. I'm not saying I'm leaving Santa Fe. I am saying that I feel extremely unsettled. Do the advantages of working in a school that provides for coaching/missions/leadership outweigh the disadvantages of an entitled and often extremely surface-y community? Do I have as much of an impact as I think/want to have? Am I even really that good of a coach or a teacher? What if I'm doing these things just because opportunities presented themselves and not necessarily because that's where ministry was going to happen? What if there's something that was more challenging that could really be impactful? Am I staying because it's safe? Am I thinking about leaving because it's safe? Why am I thinking so much?

Basically I'm leaving the DR with a ton of questions. And I haven't even started processing the Uganda trip yet.



Adam Heine said...

Sounds like it's time to move to Thailand ;-)

Okay, seriously. One thing this made me thing of is the turnover rate among missionaries out here--a rate I suspect is similar with missionaries all over the world, in whatever country. Like, we're here long term, right? By which I mean we're never leaving if we can help it. But the longer we're here, the more we see other "long term" missionaries pack up and leave.

Don't get me wrong. Sometimes they have good reasons, and often they had always planned on being here for X years and then leaving. But as the guy who stays here, all this turnover feels like it really jacks up the relational structures they leave behind. The int'l school is constantly looking for more teachers. Children's homes constantly need parents and volunteers (and the kids constantly have to get used to new ones). People like us constantly have to find new people to play Agricola with.

You get the idea.

Again, don't get me wrong. Sticking in one place forever isn't for everybody (see previous comment on Paul), and these missionaries DO good in their time here. AND I have no idea what God's call is on your life. But I think there's something to be said for pressing in and seeing what God can do with even more than a few years.

Emmet said...

Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays.

Q. Xavier said...

Lex Parsimoniae or Okham's Razor (Protocol).

Do what it is that you want.

Do the good that will bring you the most happiness. Your life's importance, or impact, is not reduced to any man's thoughts on such matters.

Go here, stay there, stay here, go there... You will be somewhere, without a doubt.

Where-ever or What-ever, just love it...

I mean really, really, really just love the ever-mclovin-stable-unstable-life-altering-sameness-poop out of it.

I mean really.seriously.really,really. Love it.

Good News: There are no mulligan's.

Love you like AmeriCone Dream on a Warm Double Fudge Brownie with Peanut Butter, Caramel & Candied Pecans on top ;0)