Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Why We Do What We Do!

So we are heading back to Ethiopia in two weeks. I have had some time to do some reflecting, not a lot (5 kids etc, that’s life), but have been asking myself why I do what I do. Many people have asked me this too. And I have found myself asking this question several times being back in the land of plenty.
Coming back here, there are a lot of things I can see that stare me in the face. Things that our kids miss out on being in Ethiopia, for example, an excellent education, a passionate youth group, English church, the social aspect of a class room full of children to do life with, resources, the beautiful beach, family, close friends, air-conditioning, clean roads, good hospitals... the list obviously goes on and on, but you get the point. So it is natural that I have been weighing up pros and cons of our choices we make for our family.

... so I started listing some of the reasons we do what we do...

1. If I can see a need and can do something about fixing it, why wouldn’t I? I am someone who has gets irritated listening to people who complain about something that is not working, but do not have any helpful solutions to fix it. What is the use of saying ‘it’s not working’ when everyone can see the obvious. Right? Let’s be a part of the answer!

2. I don’t fit, and I don’t want to. I think we can spend most of our lives trying to fit into what society says what we should be, how we should act, what we should do. We care about what people think of us. When really, we should be living out our lives to a one man audience, and be all that God wants us to be, not what society expects us to be.

We spend all this time trying to fit in, when really, we were born to stand out!

Mat 5:14-16"Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” (Message translation)

3. We see that our kids are getting a better life. This is not so much a reason as a positive outcome. I know my parents would say this is crazy and does not make sense. But it is true. I see all the wonderful things that the kids miss out on, but man they gain so much from living in Ethiopia that this society does not offer. They are exposed to more than most people would be in their whole lives. They understand tolerance and acceptance. And they are not exposed to all the bad stuff kids are interested in- peer pressure, sex, drugs, media, society’s idea of what you should look like etc etc. In living in Ethiopia for 5 years, I was surprised to come back and see 14yr olds looking like 18yr olds, smoking pot and having sex. It’s a crazy world we live in. We are blessed to teach our kids the value of serving others.

4. I don’t want to live my life as an ‘under dog’, we were all made for greatness! I recently had an interview with a good friend who was doing up a story on me in a past students magazine.  I grew up as a very quiet underachiever, and as I told Fiona in the interview, I doubt any one would remember me. I wasn’t someone that people looked at and said “wow she will do great things!” I wanted to believe that I was born for something great, born to make a difference in the world, but didn’t have the confidence that God would see me as that. The great thing is, it doesn’t depend on how great we are, it starts with knowing how great God is, and believing that He will do great things, then stepping up to participate in His greatness. Now as I look at Grace and the people we are in contact with everyday, the responsibly I have, the hand I have in changing peoples’ lives, I can’t help but want my life to say- YOU CAN DO IT TOO!

5. There is greater joy in obedience. Your first initial response might be ’yuck, that does not sound fun’. But I have always been a bit of a rule keeper. I see that when rules are bent then the freedom of God’s blessing is restricted. So when God said go, it got to the point that how could we not. We didn’t know what we were jumping into, but just knew where he wanted us to be. And until he says otherwise, Ethiopia is our home.

6. I am selfish. You may wonder how moving to a third world country, giving up finances, friends and family is selfish. For as long as I can remember my heart has been in Africa. I dreamt of helping people in Africa since I was little. Now I am living the dream (granted sometimes the dream goes a little nightmarish).  It’s not just about sacrifice; there is also great internal and external reward to the life we are called to.

I would rather have the moments of nightmare in living my dream, than the nightmare of not living my dream!

I feel like I could continue come up with so many reasons, but will close with point 7...

...when I was young, real young, I had this recurring dream about a baby lamb walking across wooden planks, he fell into the mud and drowned, I felt so helpless watching and not being able to do anything. It was so disturbing as a child that I would try to re-dream and change the ending. That dream has been with me for almost 30years. I have it deep in me where I cannot be satisfied knowing there are people drowning in life, suffering in a sinful world, I cannot simply stand by and watch, walk by and look another way, do life without trying to do something significant to make a difference. Jesus tells the parable of going out after the one lost lamb in Luke 15:3-7.

There are many one lamb experiences everyday in our lives. And we were not born to simply live our lives.

Why do you do what you do?

Dee x