Before Paraguay, I heard God so intensely. I had such clarity, and He gave me specific directions like what to spend my time doing and when to do it. Sometimes, I knew things before they happened, or I’d sense Him in powerful ways I’d never experienced before. It was a heightened sense of reality and “spirituality” if you will.
It’s not the same right now. But relationships evolve, right?
Since being in Paraguay, I’ve felt exceptionally in the now. There’s really not much of a spiritual “feeling” at all. At first, I thought I was just really tired from the travel. Then I thought it was probably because my mind is constantly on overload with the language development I’m experiencing. And now, I realize it’s just not necessary.
Bear with me. I’ll try to explain.
After a crazy class – just when I’m thinking, “I’m really bad at this!” – a little girl with the most genuine embrace gives the kindest smile. She hesitantly looks up to me as if requesting permission to fling her arms around my waist. And then I say to myself, “Well, I’m sure it will get better.”
So it makes me think about His hands and feet. You hear this phrase a lot in church circles, right?
It was great to hear God’s distinct instructions when I was in the States and made me feel close to Him in a personal way.
But now here I am.
Nearly 100 children come through my classroom. Just houses down my street live 30 children with pasts, hurts, broken hearts, dreams and talents undiscovered. These are my neighborhood kids. All I have to do is go outside to play a game of volleyball with them and say things like “good try”, “way to go”, “you can do it”.
What I’m doing a horrible job at conveying is this: everything is so different between God and me. But I think that’s because this is what it is to walk out your front door and do the things we always talk about. What a responsibility. But what a simplicity.
Aren’t those the most “spiritual” moments of all? I mean, to do work that Jesus asks us to do. To have the chance to truly be His hands and feet. Forget the clichés, forget the overused and, sadly, under enacted church talk. But simply to be here – loving, teaching, serving.
I’m still navigating my way around, clumsily much of the time, and learning how to best do those things. And I’m trying to do all I can in a day and stop expecting my interaction with God to be a certain anything. I’m happy to be in a new phase, discovering the tender heart of Christ.
Maybe you’re not experiencing the muggy fog of a misty walk to school, cautiously choosing your steps across 8-inch deep puddles and cow excrement. And perhaps bleaching ants off the counter for the fifth time in a day or sipping on terere out of the same stainless steel straw a handful of strangers have been using aren’t on your daily list of possible activities. But these things pose a different pace of life than I’m used to, and I find myself smirking at God in those little moments.
So what’s just outside your door, down your street or across the office hallway in your every day? Maybe you don’t hug dozens of abandoned children each day, but everyone you see carries with them a story. Can you see that story with eyes of Christ? Can you hear their unspoken pleas with a loving heart? And can you make your way into their situation with acceptance, hope and love?