When we returned to Ishinomaki a little over two weeks ago, we were very thankful to be able to settle back into a “normal” life again. We poured our energy into getting our kids settled back into school – making sure they had all the supplies they needed for their first week back; gathering all the homework they had done over the summer and helping make sense of it for their teachers; sorting out and giving out the gifts we had for friends in our community and of course something for all the kids in their classes (120 total!)…. as well as trying to jump back into the ministry life we had left three months ago.
There have been some fairly major disappointments that we have experienced since returning. Eric and I have sensed more spiritual darkness than perhaps we ever have here. The greatest personal sadness for me was that one of our original Nozomi Project members quit, and has also stopped coming to our worship times and Bible study that she had been a part of. I have felt the loss of her friendship deeply; I grieve for what this may mean for her and her daughters. I am ever so thankful for those in our community who have spoken into this current situation with hope, reminding me that God has certainly not let go of her nor forgotten her. But I am aware of the intense struggles that we are surrounded by.
This weekend we have spent in Fukushima with our Asian Access community for a training weekend. It felt hard to pack and leave again, even just for these few days. I still haven’t finished unpacking from the US and really just want to FEEL SETTLED. But I felt a theme of what God was wanting to speak into my life this weekend.
In a time of informal sharing on Saturday, our friend Dee was sharing about her own study of the Old Testament character of Caleb– the theme of him living wholehearted for God. That concept really grabbed me – how much I want to live like this! One good friend this summer told me that I seem distracted a lot. I am sure that it was true! By the end of the summer I felt really heart-weary from our travels and not being settled. I had lost the healthy routines that help me when we are settled; I was often thinking about what we had next rather than being present. And I realized that I have let myself be distracted by the constant updates on my cell phone — emails, Facebook, etc.
So this weekend I spent a few hours revisiting what I sense God calling me to be about, by reading and slightly updating my life purpose; life values; and personal vision (I keep a copy on my computer and pull it out occasionally to keep me on track!). And thinking through specific areas that have kept me from being wholehearted in pursuing God and my calling… and then coming up with action points. Some of these involve specific actions I want to take as a mom and wife; others are new rules I have made for myself with my iPhone (i.e. no meal times, EVER). I wrote out my morning routine goals down to the minute – this will help me to at least most of the time get in exercise, quiet time and family time each morning. Sometimes I think we have to take a lot of smalls steps in order to get to the bigger goals of our life. If with God’s help I can work on little habits, it will help me move towards my bigger desires – of serving God wholeheartedly.
Here is the front picture of my iPhone:
Every time I look at my iPhone, I want to be reminded of my desire to be undistracted, undivided, and wholehearted.
What about you? What is tripping you up from being wholehearted in who God has called you to be? What small action steps can you take to turn that around? Let me know and I will pray for you as we work at this together.