Well hello there! It’s been quite some time since I’ve gotten to share my thoughts. Last semester I fed into this nasty little lie that my thoughts and writing didn’t matter, but after spending the last three months living around South Asia, I learned to fall in love with writing again. So here we are some time later… me writing and you reading, somewhat out of procrastination, some what out of curiosity for what comes next. To be honest, I really don’t know what’s about to come out of my mouth… hands… but I feel the need to share what’s been going on with me… so here it goes!
I was at breakfast with a friend a few days ago trying to process the whirlwind that was my life in South Asia that has now trickled into my no longer “normal” American life. I looked down and saw a little pink piece of paper full of “fake sugar” and all of a sudden there was a title for the season I’m swimming through. This season that I am ready to share with you is one that is really testing. I find myself hitting new lows, but every time I think I am falling I’m caught by the sweet and loving grace of my true Father, my heavenly Father.
This is a season that I will always look back on as my “Sweet n’ Low” (thank you cutie pink piece of paper).
I spent the summer after my sophomore year of college walking through the blazing heat of South Asia. In May, I jumped on a plane ready and excited for my “big adventure”. I look back now laughing at my naive little self for the expectations I had. When the plane landed roughly 30 or something hours later, I kid you not my life really did change. This summer was the most stretching, eye opening and challenging time of my entire life and I am so grateful for every ounce of hardship that I experienced overseas because it drew me so much deeper to God. However, I longed to be with my friends and family and my church, to use “normal” language , and to sleep on a real mattress again. I missed the little comforts I thought completed my life and I thought coming home would take away the weirdness I felt in Asia.
(Side Note: If you ever get the chance to experience life among people who look, act, and believe things vastly different than yourself for a long period of time, I would highly recommend you take the opportunity. I have gained a respect and appreciation for other cultures and people, but also a strong passion for sharing and multiplying my faith.)
I’ve been home for about three weeks and I would go back to the uncomfortable South Asian vibes in a heart beat if I had the choice. Reverse Culture Shock is way too real. I mean I didn’t see knees for 90 days and now I see girls in crop tops and bikinis all over my Instagram feed – H E L P. Everything I expected to be comfortable and normal coming back home had changed as much as I did. People looked older, acted more mature, and our relationships have seemed new and sometimes a bit removed. I feel like a stranger in my own life sometimes. Family, friends and church all looked and acted different. I was different. Everything was different and definitely not comfortable at all.
The busyness of American culture has had me feeling lost. There’s always something to do or someone to see and there’s this big shiny tablet in my pocket vibrating 24/7 for the next alarm or reminder. I forgot how to breathe in this life. Even more than that, I forgot how to fit time with Jesus into the busyness. Ouch.
My summer was hard but so sweet because I always had time to journal or get into the Word. I was with people who understood what I was going through and who were encouraging and uplifting and who knew what to say. The Lord was so sweet to me.
Now, in a big mess and an even weirder period, I don’t have a ton of time to journal or to dive into the Word, but luckily I know that He is still sweet and always present. I have the opportunity to be in with Him in my car, on the walk to class, or in between meetings. I understand His grace (minutely of course because it is way too vast for my little brain), and because of His grace I can have grace for myself.
I know this may not make a whole lot of sense to everyone, but basically this is a really weird and hard transition. Even in the difficulty, the Lord is still so sweet to us. He sees us in our squirming, awkward seasons and He wants us to know that He’s right there squirming with you. As I readjust and figure out this new normal, I am excited to experience grace in a new way. I am excited to follow where He leads and to learn to understand Him more.
There are a lot of things in this life that I am thankful for. I am thankful for my time overseas, for good tunes, for friends and family, but I think what I am most grateful for are the days where I can’t take it anymore. The days where I want to give up and the days where I am so frustrated that I “just can’t”. This is where I experience the Sweet n’ Low. This is where I am now and this is where I am excited to be, squirming with my “Dad” (sorry I had to).