If you are a tattooing type I’ve got some suggestions for you. No, not those kind of suggestions, some new tat ideas!
“Disillusionment that is not dealt with can lead to burnout.”
“Each expectation we have of ourselves needs to be recognized, evaluated, and either discarded or committed to work on for progress.”
These gems come from chapter three of Expectations and Burnout: Women Surviving the Great Commission written by Robynn Bliss and Sue Eenigenburg. This week we’re exploring the idea of “role” in relation to what we expect of ourselves.
Even if you’re not a tattooing girl on the outside, we are each tattoo gals on the inside. What you have tattooed on your heart about yourself is what you will believe and live out. Even if it’s a lie. God knew this and gave the Israelites the Shema as a constant reminder (dare I say tattoo) of the truth he wanted as default heart whispers.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9
I added the bold, no real news flash there. But God knew and knows the power of truth pouring through our veins.
In this chapter I appreciated that Sue and Robynn didn’t say, “work hard to never be disillusioned.” It’s most likely going to happen to some degree or another. Much of life is out of our control, even disillusioning things. But we are responsible for how we respond, how we deal with them. And the hope is, that if we deal well, it might leave scars and be a part of our story, but it will not become the most defining part or what we are known for. Even for the super big things. Doesn’t that help to fan the flame of hope to face what comes?
As I was reading this chapter, I kept thinking of ANTS. Automatic Negative Thoughts. Thoughts that are so automatic a person doesn’t notice them and assumes they are the way things are. Words like always, never, everyone, or assuming the worst case scenario in a situation. It made me wonder if we cross-cultural workers have our own unique form of automatic thoughts: AUE. Though not as easy to say or as catchy as ANTS, AUE can be as deadly. Automatic Unexplored Expectations. The authors mentioned we often don’t take into account the
needed for what we have been called to do, including keep ourselves fed, clothed, and alive. As I read through the survey questions, I was struck by words like immediate, close, dynamic, daily, best, and be content without.
Not that I my dream is for us to all aim so low, we expect nothing. No! One of the ways we are image bearers is through out ability to dream. God loves dreams and hopes and desires. And that might be one of the reasons spending time with him is good for our souls (as “proved” in the survey). Did those stats surprise others? I’ve read them before. I don’t bring them up here to guilt you. I’ll also admit there is something about the phrase “quiet time” that kind of creeps me out. So, let’s not get bogged down in guilt or terminology.
Instead, what helps you in your time with and walk with the Lord?
I’ve typed out this survey and used it with people who are in pre-field orientation. There was only one small modification I made.
I am willing for my marital status to stay the same.
I didn’t see much on the survey relating to (in particular) single women who desire to me married. I’m sure you’ve heard it too, “I do not want to be on the field single.” Singles, how does your marital status play out in your role? I thought the chapter hit a lot on marrieds and in particular of mothers with young children. Both, very important subjects to address. And most of the posts this week are from married women who have graciously shared about roles. I’d write more, but this post is already longish.
So, what say ye marrieds and singles, how has your marital status informed and impacted your role?
See you in the comments :),
P.S. Next week chapters 4 and 5: Exploring expectations of sending agencies and sending fellowships.
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