post tanzania + road trip thoughts
(Please excuse any spelling errors... This was created at 1:15am... You're my hero)
Since I arrived home from Tanzania two weeks ago, I've been pondering on what to write and share with people. I've bounced from wanting to share stories from the trip, to what God has been teaching me, to other topics that I've been thinking about for a while. I have been overwhelmed at times since I've been home, and honestly, that is the part about life here at home that I did not miss a bit. I didn't miss arranging coffee appointments. I didn't miss trying to see a plethora of different people at various points throughout the week. I didn't miss rushing through work to get home in time to clean up and make some event that was planned out a week prior. I didn't miss the rush of life. If you have encountered me over the last six years of my life, then you know how busy I have been. I've become accustomed to 1 am nights and 6 am mornings. Being a rising junior in college certainly doesn't help any of this. There are so many other responsibilities that come with that position in life.
Something that I've seen wear down in my time being home has been the way my thoughts develop. My mind has been at war with the rest of myself. It's not that my anxiety attacks have returned. It's not that I keep myself up late worrying about every tiny thing. The problem is that I am so broken as a human that I've allowed my thought processes to develop a way of thinking that is detrimental to the way I view our world, our churches and the people around me. It has tested my patience. I have had so many moments over the last two weeks where it has been an immense struggle to be encouraging to those that I am closest to, and I know that a lack of consistency in the Word is coupled with that. It's insane how you can come home to a place where everything is within an arms reach, or the press of a button, and yet I feel so disconnected. I don't know that anyone can truly understand the way I'm feeling after experiencing Jesus in the realist way I ever have before. After experiencing two trips that are about explicitly sharing the Gospel with people that have literally never even heard the name of Jesus, I don't know that I can ever fully live as an "American" again. What I mean by that is, I have a totally new view of the church body and individuals. I hate how our culture has a view of the church and the identity on the individuals that attend it. It's almost like there are rival churches and if you go to the church across town that I don't go to, I can't do the same things you do. If you leave the church that you've been attending for the past seven years, then I'm not going to talk to you anymore because you've abandoned us. As churches, we are different parts of a single body. We are all one body of Christ together and we must rely on other church bodies in order to fulfill the call of God for our lives, and that's to spread the Gospel to all nations! We can't do that individually, nor with just the members of one church. We must come together. The comparisons must stop. The animosity must stop. The trends must not be the focus. We cannot continue catering to a comfortable style of Christianity that allows any body of believers to casually accept Christ but bear no fruit in our lives as a result.
It's honestly been extremely difficult for me to attend church since I have been home because I don't know that I have a church home. I think that I have to reconcile with myself on a lot of things in order to arrive at a place that I know the Lord has called me to serve in. You'd never think that you could arrive at a low point in life and in your faith directly after experiencing the mountain tops of each of those areas in life. Life is weird, man. Now, as I sit in Abbie's Honda Civic at a rest stop near Navarre Beach, Florida at 11:36 pm CST so we can sleep for the night, I'm learning more and more about what is the most important in life. And I know that as of right now, sleeping in a car with two of your best friends on the planet is what matters most to me. Shoutout to Aaron and Abbie for being the best travel buddies ever! Off to sleep...