thinking about fear and living abroad

I read a post this morning titled “What Happens When You Live Abroad”

I was fascinated by it for several reasons. Here is a quote:

“But one thing that undoubtedly exists between all of us, something that lingers unspoken at all of our gatherings, is fear. There is a palpable fear to living in a new country, and though it is more acute in the first months, even year, of your stay, it never completely evaporates as time goes on. It simply changes.”

The first thing about the post that jumps out at me is the theme of “fear.”

The second thing that jumps out at me is that fear is just seen as a condition that everyone has and ‘that is that.’

The third thing that jumps out at me (in my own head) is this thought I stole from an unknown someone long ago and it applies specifically to followers of Jesus: “We are to be thermostats not just thermometers.”

I would be curious if any of the 5 of you who will read this post, will read the mentioned post and then agree or disagree with my assessment: While fear is normal, we are not called to normality, normal is natural, we have the supernatural in us. Thus, shouldn’t we be thermostats not just thermometers? Isn’t this what we are called to do as followers of Jesus, empowered with the Holy Spirit? So, when we fear (we all do) shouldn’t we meet it with faith? or at least exercise to build our faith? No matter if we are abroad or not?

2 Comments

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2 responses to “thinking about fear and living abroad

  1. Interesting; I think I agree with you and yet, it’s all theoretical for me! I’ve never lived abroad; only visited via missions trips and I was much younger then and with a group, completely oblivious to even the idea that there was anything to fear!

    As for the general idea of fear and Christianity, I agree that we shouldn’t fear and we talk often about our faith and trust in God, but if I’m honest, I find myself fearful often; even of petty things like my kids and their future, or even my church and its future. I know full well that it’s not just about having faith that God is on your side and everything is going to turn out the way you want it; no…. the harder part for me is the realization that faith goes beyond that and it might somehow end up how I really don’t want it; and I still have to trust and have faith even then. A broader, less selfish faith. A faith even when it doesn’t make sense. It is not something I come by easily. I believe it is true but it is not easy for me.

    There’s a book I read recently titled God is Red: The Secret Story of How Christianity Survived and Flourished in Communist China. by an author who is not a Christian. It recounts the stories of many Christians and their truly difficult, sacrificial commitment to God. It cost something. And I wonder how I would react in that situation? Torture? Imprisonment? Disgrace? Exiled from family. I think family is one of the hardest things; aren’t we taught that nothing should matter more than one’s family?

    I think it is easier to trust and not fear when things feel relatively safe. Honestly, my faith isn’t enough to not fear when I don’t understand and God’s ways seem so against what seems like “common sense”.

  2. Been waiting for time to respond to this. I read that article too, I think we both saw it posted by the same person. 🙂 It didn’t speak the same to me, but I can see where the fear aspect would jump out at you. To me, it really resonated from the aspect of not being ‘at home’ in just one place anymore, about always thinking/missing one home when at the other, and vice versa. Personally, I wouldn’t call that a ‘fear’ per say, though the author did. I loved how the author so beautifully described our often conflicted state, moving between two (or more) locations that create different identities. And yes, to your point, it is a beautiful opportunity to be that thermostat. I am loving the time I get to spend here with the few others in town who are also missing home, while already at home. I don’t know if it is ‘fear’ when I realize what I am missing, but it is certainly often sadness – while living joyfully where I am at the same time. For expressing that, I appreciated the article. But yes, more chances to live our faith – to not be ‘normal’ around others going through the same mixed emotions. Praying I can be that Light we’re called to be here.
    Rachel

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