Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Being Noticed by God in the Details

So many people who return from living cross-culturally speak of reverse cultural shock. This shows up especially in the stores--the abundant choices, the selection, the prices, the breadth of stores from which to shop. It overwhelms and paralyzes the newly returned cross-cultural sojourner. Sometimes it goes deeper. There is a judgement placed on the First World. Cross-cultural workers come back and struggle with the 'haves vs. have nots'.  They've seen material poverty first hand and struggle to find the balance and acceptance in the abundance that is seemingly everywhere around them.

I will honestly say that this hasn't been a huge issue for me. Until now. Yet, it's personal. It has illuminated a dark spot in my heart.

When we lived in Nicaragua, there were a myriad of things that I wanted. However, I had no access to them. {News flash: there is NO Target or Amazon in Nicaragua.} So, I had the false sense of being 'good and holy' in sacrificing the things I wanted for the sake of the call. That was a facade. I see that now.

Now, as I live in a land of Target, Amazon, and every.single.store.on.the.planet {not to mention that there is a functioning package delivery system} at my fingertips, I find myself stricken with the plague of coveting. The list of 'wants' seems endless. Only this time, there is nothing but self-control standing in the way of getting what I want. The guise of 'holiness' has been shattered.

So, I pray. I pray for contentment. I pray for self-control. I pray and thank God for His forgiveness when my self-control fails and I come home with a bag of Yankee Candles {even though I had a coupon}.

AND... I let God know my wants (which are VERY different from needs). In the back of my journal, I have a wish list. No, it's true. I keep a wish list of my wants and I hand that over to God and I try to leave it up to Him on how He'd like to provide for those wants. I've been doing this for nearly 20 years. I've watched God provide for the entire list. The provision doesn't always look like I imagine...but it is always better. God is NOT a Santa Claus...He's way better. He is a LOVING FATHER-GOD from which ALL good things come (James 1:17). He delights in His Children. He delights in me. He lavishes His love on us...and sometimes that looks like the 'stuff' on my wish list.

When God provides those things on my list, I feel like I've received a hug from God. I realize that sounds child-like and perhaps crazy. Yet, it's true. There is such delight in being 'noticed' by God.

I will finish this post with a story testifying to the goodness of God in the details.

On my wish list was written 'Christmas decor'. On Monday, some friends came over and they had four boxes of Christmas decor that they were going to donate to Goodwill after they left our house. They said we could look through the boxes first. We ended up with several strands of lights, evergreen garland, ornaments, and a small Christmas tree. Then on Tuesday, I was informed that I had won the super cute iron/metal snowmen from ESVO, a vocational school ministry in Nicaragua.

I love being noticed by God. I love that He knows the details and desires of my heart...and I love that He redeems them.