Updated: May 26, 2021
Ever find yourself in the most beautiful place without joy pining to be home? Or under gray skies and heavy clouds, yet see beauty in the mundane?
After our first trip to Haiti 4 years ago I returned and ironically didn’t want to be home, but didn’t want to be back either. I loved the comforts and joys of home, the kids, a clean bathroom, not coating myself in Deet every 6 hours, all while dying inside to return back as soon as possible. Why?
I have been wrestling with this again since returning pretty “wound tight” from our recent trip to the Dominican Republic. Don’t get me wrong, we had a good trip trip this past April doing important medical and water mission work.
So why? Why could I not pursue joy? Why not find peace and happiness wherever planted? Why not appreciate the gift to serve? Why not ease up and take things a bit less serious? Why not color outside the lines? Why not speak up and voice an opinion when needed? Why not simply focus on the greater purpose? Why not? ...and the list goes on.
We live in this discontent most times. Although in suburban, American, busy, hustled, to-do-list-life with distractions galore, we simply don’t pay attention to it. That hole, that desire, that unfinished, unsettled piece that keeps us all wound tight. I’m sure you can fill in your own list of “Why nots?”. What is it and why on earth was it so magnified in the DR? So for hundreds of different reasons, for whatever the sin that causes them, I’m pretty certain this discontent is more normal and common than we all think. Discontent is really homesickness or as C.S. Lewis calls it, living in the Shadowlands. As this is not our home.
Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives. 1 Peter 2:11-12 (MSG)
This mission trip, although spent with beautiful people doing beautiful things in a beautiful place hurt a bit as it typically does when God works on our character. I was indeed wound tight, and felt His hand smoothing out my rough spots to remind me that this, this world, is not my home. I often spend too much time not focused on the heavenlies. Do you?