Sunday, March 27, 2011

I did things that scare me. I feel good.

"Do one thing every day that scares you." Eleanor Roosevelt
I like to be comfortable. Anything involving pain or fear I will generally try very hard to avoid! But God is very good at getting me out of my comfort zone and catapulting me into situations where my heart begins to pound, butterflies fill my stomach, and I become painfully aware of my limitations.

This weekend I did two things that scared me. Pubbing for ADRA was first on the list. Although I know collecting money for a relief agency is a great thing to do...I hate asking people for money. I especially hated the thought of going round throbbing city pubs on a Saturday night to ask people for money. What if they were really drunk, and rude, and hated to be disturbed from their pints and footy? The guys I was going with, however, assured me I was going to have fun. "They might banter with you a bit," one of them said laughingly. "Tell you they'll give you a fiver for a kiss!" Oh joy.

The first pub we went into was small and sparsely-populated. Swallowing my natural instincts to hide behind my fellow collectors, I pasted on a smile and went up to a table of three men. "Excuse me," I began politely, "I'm collecting for a charity..." and launched into my spiel. "Would you be willing to give anything?"
"Sure, love, just a minute," said one of the men, fishing out his wallet. His friends followed suit. Maybe the evening wasn't going to be so bad after all, I thought.

People were great. Some gave first and asked what I was collecting for later! One man I approached at a snooker table emptied his pockets into my tin and then complained good-naturedly that he had no money left for a beer! I got a little bit of banter -  a table full of tipsy lads asking my age and wondering if I was actually old enough to be in the establishment. As I left them, I heard over my shoulder, "You should've tried to pick her up!" I got a few Nos, too, but on the whole everyone was generous - and I did have fun! 

The second thing I did that "scared" me was helping out in a crèche. I like kids, but when they're a bit older. I have no idea what to do with 0-5 year olds, and when they're crying they're absolutely terrifying. 

I dragged myself out of bed later than I intended this morning (bother the time change!), skipped breakfast, and dashed out to help set up the tables and chairs and play equipment. We were expecting lots of kids, while their parents went out collecting for ADRA again, but in the end we only had two - a 3 year old chatterbox and a shy 2 year old. Three hours later, and I'd discovered that I was very good at creating play-dough pies, eating plastic pizza, engaging in long games of "mamma and baby", and singing "the hokey-pokey"! And I was still alive! In fact, I'd actually enjoyed myself...


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I love what I never wanted

I never wanted to come back to England. When I left my life in Asia, I felt like my world was coming to an end, and that there was nothing God could possibly give me that would match the joy and fulfillment I'd experienced in the past 18 months abroad.

I spent the first couple of months in the UK culture shocked, stressed, and dreaming of the day I would get on a plane and fly back to the US and university. It came as a surprise six months later when I suddenly thought, "I'm actually happy here! Not just plodding on because I know God's put me here, but genuinely happy!"

God has given me so many gifts while I've been here. Some of those gifts have come wrapped with great pain and frustration, and yet that pain has helped me to grow in leaps and bounds and opened the way for deep friendships. I wouldn't change anything that's happened. I'm so glad I came back to England!

In about three months I'll be on my way again. There are a lot of uncertainties in my future, and there are still a lot of things I get stressed about. But I can look back and know that the God who has continually given me more than I was expecting, is more than able to provide for the days ahead.

"There are always uncertainties ahead, but there is always one certainty--God's will is good."  Vernon Paterson

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