My teammate and I lived for a year in an area where there was not yet a group of believers meeting together. By the time we made it to Sunday, our energy tanks were usually on low, so we tried to make it simply a day of rest.
Sometimes we went our separate ways to listen to worship music, make music ourselves, draw and paint, or read. Other times we watched or listened to a sermon together. There were also plenty of Sundays where we simply took naps, made smoothies, and watched our favorite show.
After that year, meeting with a group of believers for fellowship became pretty special. To be honest, it didn’t really matter what it looked like. Simple with just some plastic chairs in a circle or a big building and a band. A bike ride away or a sky train ride away. My heart yearned for connection and the beauty of entering into worship with others who were also hungry for the presence of God, ready to be honest and vulnerable and to laugh and maybe cry a little.
I’m not sure if any of it was what Osheta Moore called “woo-woo church” in our section of Shalom Sistas. For me, denominations and labels were pretty much stripped away and we met on the common groups of Jesus and His Word.
I’m curious, has your view of church shifted and changed in your time in cross-cultural work?
This section covered peace in our relationships with God. I think my favorite quote was this in chapter 6: “If Beloved is our first name, given to us by God to bring wholeness to our identities, then Enough is our middle name, revealing God’s dream for us to live out our belovedness in a world that will always ask us to prove it. Beloved and Enough are two sides of the same coin of identity.”
My heart constantly needs that reminder that I am enough. My go-to in the comparison game is less-than. Someone asked me recently about the hardest part of living in Southeast Asia, and I immediately responded, “Language.” Every day it felt like I was confronted with moments and experiences that showed my lack. Almost two years of language school and yet this conversation feels so wonky! Why does this other person get praise and I never do, even when I’m trying so hard? Why can’t I remember vocabulary like he or she can?
Comparing myself to other foreigners and their language ability never ended well. Anyone relate?
Knowing and trusting that I am deeply loved and enough in Christ settles those comparison urges. At least for a while; I’m still learning! There’s something really beautiful about men and women who know they are enough. I think it opens the door for vulnerability and compassion. It shifts the way we treat each other and celebrate and mourn with each other.
There’s nothing I can do to earn favor with God and that makes it even more amazing, doesn’t it? Our worth is not based on the number of disciples we make or the amount of churches we have planted or how incredible our language ability might be (thank goodness!).
Was there something you hadn’t thought about in these chapters related to being at peace in our relationship with God? Something you noticed but that didn’t resonate as true for you? I’d love to know what you have thought of this book so far and the topic of shalom!
Here’s the schedule for the rest of the book:
March 16: Part 3 (Chapters 7-9)
March 23: Part 4 (Chapters 10-12)
March 30: Part 5 (Chapters 13-15)
Need a fun book for April? Join us as we read The Many Wonders of Costa Contente. Here’s a summary of the book:
There’s a small town on the South America coast where the sweet sea air mixes with fragrant tropical blossoms. It’s a place where the neighbors are kind, the parrots are helpful, and wonders abound in everyday life. Working together, the townspeople always come up with a plan to overcome any obstacle, large or small. Careful thought, hard work, and just that little bit of the magical assure that Costa Contente will continue to thrive for its people and the land on which it rests.