Monday, December 24, 2007

The Unlearning Curve

For those of you who don’t know it, Bob and I have moved. We’re living in a foreign country, learning a new language, immersing ourselves in an unfamiliar culture, dealing with culture-shock at times, starting from scratch as we build relationships with the strangers that surround us, trying to find our way among a people whose mores and unwritten rules are confusing and awkward for us at best.

Oh, we’re still in Amarillo. We’ve simply stepped out of traditional Christian culture and fulltime ministry, and into the realm of the unreached. At the very least, it’s been mindboggling. In fact, one of my friends who’s experiencing something similar calls it the “unlearning curve.”

In essence, God has stripped away what I thought I knew about ministry, my own heart, those outside of Christ, Christian culture and its place in the world, missions, and church. Just yesterday I told our small home fellowship that I feel like I have nothing to hold onto anymore except God.

I suspect that’s where He wants me.

And to be sure, one of the only things He hasn’t “undone” has been the truths I know about Him.

Yes, the weak, human side of me would love to tell my family and friends about the wild success the Lord has given us in reaching the lost for Christ. But the truth of the matter is that while we still feel confident we’ve been called to serve as missionaries in our own culture, we’re realizing that the Father has some serious work to do in our own hearts and minds first. Honestly, we had no idea what He was calling us to and the depth to which He would ask us to invest in His mission. We just knew there was a fire in our bones, and that we had to answer the call.

Don’t get me wrong--we’re not miserable or even unhappy. We’re certainly humbled. Impatient. Stretched. Oddly experiencing a level of peace in the midst of all this. Constantly asking the Lord, “Well, okay. If not this or that, then what? If not yet, when? If not them, who? If not here, where?” We probably just need to shut up and listen.

Please pray we’ll keep our hearts and minds open to what God wants to tear down and build up in us. Pray that we’ll not grow weary or discouraged before His work is finished. That we’ll pursue Him single-mindedly, not worrying about what people think of us or “where we should be by now.” That we’ll trust Him whether He moves us forward or back; whether we’re in the process of learning or unlearning.

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