Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cultivating Time(s) of Rest

This summer, I will be in America for 2 months during KCA's summer vacation.  However, this time in America is not really a vacation for me, since I will be super busy.

What does my summer include?
*Speaking at 9-10 different churches, plus a camp in RI, in order to find monthly sponsors to provide my support for next year
*Nazarene Youth Conference in Kentucky, as a sponsor for the MK district
*Jon and Allie's wedding in MA
*Re-applying for my visa (2 trips to DC)
*Going to District Family Camp!
*Replenish supplies that I will need in Ukraine, and go through my belongings at home to see what I don't need anymore
*Time with family
*Visiting friends that I don't get to see very often, plus spending some time with my new pastor's family to get to know them (and having that support base from my home church)
*Possibly doing some study on the New Testament as preparation for teaching 6th grade Bible again next year

Beyond the initial culture shock of being in a foreign country, there is a certain level of culture stress that never goes away.  Living day in and day out in a culture with different values, beliefs, and language than your own can create a certain amount of stress.  You can never fully identify or understand the people around you, nor they you.

When I was in Ireland in the spring, I felt like I had a TRUE vacation.  Among other things, I was in an English speaking country, the environment was completely different from Ukraine, and there was nothing required of me.

As you can see from my list, I have a lot to do within the course of 2 months -- enough so that it's not much like a vacation.  The question now becomes, how will I cultivate times of rest during this time in America?

Here's how I anticipate being able to find times of rest this summer:
*One weekend I will be near the beach, speaking at a church.  I plan to find some time to hit the beach, go swimming, and just listen to the crashing of the waves.
*At the youth conference, some of my co-sponsors are friends I've known for 4 years (and I've seen them almost every year since then).  Besides this, there will be youth pastors and youth from around the country that I will know, and I really look forward to seeing these old friends in person.
*I greatly enjoy reading, and will be reading as many books from the library as I can.
*Going to my friends' wedding will give me the chance to see old college friends (yes, I've only been out for 2 years), and also see my "twin."

I challenge you, in the busyness of your own lives, to find ways to rest and to take a "Sabbath" even if it's not on Sunday.  Don't get so caught up in DOING things that you forget you are a human BEING.  Take time out of your schedule and focus on God and what He has to say to you.  Be open to allowing him to shape your life and change you to make you more like Jesus.

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