Have You Seen? {February 16th, 2020}

Last Week’s Theme: Burnout

Burnout Came For Me by Emily Jackson—”Another factor was that we thought we were doing a decent job of preventing burnout. We took vacations, relaxed with friends, had hobbies. But given the intensity of our lives, we probably needed an even greater ratio of rest to stress than we were getting. There were probably more factors, too. Whatever the reason, burnout came for me. In the end, I was glad it did. It allowed me to stop – really stop – and take an honest look at our lives, then try to make healthier adjustments. We could take a deeper look at all the craziness we’d come to consider normal and re-label it as stressful, tiring, draining, too much. I hope, dear friend, that you’re also able to take a realistic look at the things in your life and see where you need to slow down or cut things out. Are there places that ‘normal’ is actually too much? Are there ways you can increase your ratio of rest to stress? Were you surprised by burnout or did you see it coming?

Right, Wrong or Different? {Book Club} by Rachel Kahindi—”My first year overseas, I lived on a ship with an international crew. We visited many countries, but even without stepping on solid ground, we were interacting cross-culturally every minute of every day. The above maxim was drilled into our heads. Though we may not have agreed on everything, we were all Christians, and we could reasonably presume that each of us was walking in the light we had. If we were to bicker about cultural differences, we would accomplish nothing. One day, a few of us had the opportunity to visit a remote fishing village in the Philippines. It was built in the flood plain of a river. Each house and building was on wooden stilts. They even had elevated boardwalks instead of roads or footpaths. During the rainy season, the village actually sat in the river, water flowing underneath. But it was dry when we were there. We parked at the edge of the dry riverbank and walked to the village.”

There’s Hope After Burnout by Sarah Hilkemann—”When you don’t have the strength to fight for joy and healing, find someone who can fight for you and with you. Help people to recognize where you are and what you need. It might mean getting away from your current situation for awhile, getting counseling or resting well. It might mean a more permanent change to find a healthier situation for you and your family. These are brave and hard decisions. For me, it meant a move to a new city with my teammate so we could have the support of other expats. It meant making changes in our budget to buy food that nourished our bodies and addressed areas of depletion. New rhythms needed to be created so that Sabbath was protected. We took a fresh and honest look at ministry boundaries, what was working and what wasn’t, and what fit with who God had created us to be. One of the biggest changes was learning to give myself grace. I had a pretty strong mental picture of what the ideal overseas worker should look like, and felt I needed to fulfill that. I sensed the weight of ministry goals and organization expectations. When those expectations crashed and crumbled, I found myself stuck under the rubble. Getting honest about expectations—my own and my perception of others’—was an important step in finding freedom and healing.”

A Slow Burn by Monica F—”Like many of you, my story– my overseas story– is full of complicated layers of stress, hope, survival, endurance, and resolve. There are highs and lows. We get tired, maybe lonely, or stressed out. We don’t try to burnout, in fact, we get trained on how to avoid it! But truth? Burnout is part of my story. I knew the importance of rest, exercise, connecting with loved ones, caring for myself and deepening my relationship with God, so that I could live a balanced and healthy life. But, I had a hard time saying NO. I was there to serve, to be involved, be useful. It was my joy, my calling, to visit the sick, tend to the needs of others and disciple. Our home was a happy, safe place for many, and our children thrived. When trauma hit, or stressors piled up, I told myself to ‘buck up,’ this is the sacrificial life God has called me to. Margin? Forget it. I couldn’t stop doing what I was doing, because who else would do it?”

From Around the Web

Reasons to Fall In Love with Serving Overseas

Pouring it Out

An Extraordinary Message on an Ordinary Day

On Instagram: Trusting the One Who Tends to Our Most Basic Needs and What is Your Weekly Rhythm?

Finally, Journey to the Cross

And Now For Next Week

The theme is…

Psalm 4:8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.

That peaceful slumber is not a given, is it?

It might be violence where you live, the natural fallout of places and people in need of redemption. It might be what is lacking, like fair law enforcement or good medical care. It could the constant worry that things might change, the work permit you have counted on won’t be renewed or the visa might be taken away, or an outbreak might occur.

Safety is not a given for our tribe. We live with this tension, knowing there are risks and yet we serve a powerful God who protects and shields.

Except sometimes the unthinkable happens.

Safety is an important topic for cross-cultural workers. There are a variety of opinions and thoughts about the risks that we take, or the ones we don’t. So, we approach this topic knowing we need a whole lot of grace from the Lord, wisdom for each and every situation. We can extend that same grace to each other in our discussions this week, as we come from different places and make different decisions. That’s okay.

How have you wrestled with the topic of safety, for yourself and your team and your family? How has God met you in the wrestling, in the unexpected and hard moments? How has He shown Himself faithful through it all?

Come share with us this week. You can join in the conversation through your comments on the blog, or add your photos and stories on Instagram this week with the hashtag #VelvetAshesSafety

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