Tuesday, May 13, 2014

6 reasons women give so they don't have to move overseas

One of the things I treasure about living overseas is that people often ask us questions about moving their families overseas. We take our role in this Goliath-sized decision as an honor and take it pretty seriously.

Many of the people we get to talk with are just finishing up college and weighing the options laid out before them. Fortunately or unfortunately, most of these conversations are happening with women. (More on why men are shoving their fingers in their ears when it comes to moving overseas in a later post.)

Here are 6 reasons I've heard as to why, "I just need to hear God more clearly," is code for, "Moving overseas scares the marrow in my bones and so therefore I'll just keep praying so that one day I can have a job in America and not have to get on that plane after all."

1.  God hasn’t called me.

At some point in modern Christendom, we've decided that we cannot hear God unless he visits us as a Siri-spirit and guides us audibly down every alley and stop sign we meet along the way. Certainly he speaks audibly to us at times, but he has also given us two wonderful megaphones to magnify his desires for us. One is Scripture and the other is community. 

If you are on board with the Great Commission, you need to know that God's will is that the nations be reached. With that, we can know 100% that God's will is for people to go overseas. There is confidence in this that if it isn't clear to us what the Lord's will is, serving overseas is. My hope is that more believers would default to going overseas and instead be "called" to stay in America. Unfortunately, the default is to staying in America.

2.  I want to have a husband first. Or, I want to let my kids get a little older and then we'll move.

I find myself often reminding young women that God never promises you a husband. This is a great video addressing singleness on mission.

About the kids things, actually, it is easier for them to acculturate when they don't know any differently. When kids are raised overseas, they don't miss things like 4th of July parades and choir practice because they've never had experience with those things. When you take an older child, sit them down one day, and tell them that you're moving 7,000 miles away from their soccer team, drama club, and best friend, things actually get a lot harder. They play a constant comparison with their new culture. Older kids can move overseas and flourish, but if you are waiting to move until they get a little older, I would say don't wait and move before they have roots established in America. 

3. I just want to get established for a few years and get some work experience.

You will never feel financially stable enough to move overseas, get married, have kids, or die. You just have to do it and then spend lots of time in prayer.

4. My parents will freak out. 

Yes they will. Expect this. They have dreams of bouncing a bubbly 2-year grandson on their knees and baking mud cakes with their grand daughters. You will be taking that from them. They will worry about your health, your safety, and your sanity. 

Parents are going to need time to let you go. Line up all the details you have and let them know you have a plan. Pray with them. Introduce them to someone who has just gotten back from where you are going. Show them how to cook a meal from your new country. At the end of the day, your parents simply want to know you are going to be ok. 

5. I'll do it for a few years and then I'll come back and get a "real" job.

I have some rather large rants in, "Redefining Home," about the lack of long term commitment to be overseas. Reaching the nations isn't an adventure or a hobby. It's a word from our Father in which he promises to be faithful. 

Living overseas is a real job concerning real people. They aren't projects or statistics. They are people. 

Enough on that. 

6.  I could never do that. That kind of life is for people stronger, braver, smarter, and godlier than me. 

If you've ever met me in real life, you wouldn't still be saying this. That aside, most of the men and women living overseas were at times seized in fear and doubt. 

Moses was confident in one thing as he looked at leading the Israelites. He was confident that he couldn't do it. Lead the people, stand up to Pharaoh, cross a river! All God had to do was remind Moses who he was. "I am your God."

He's our God too. He will remain faithful to his children when we do crazy things like pack up our family and move to a foreign culture, language, and people. It's when we forget who God actually is that we allow fear to continue to call the shots. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

4 things I learned by leaving social media for Lent

I’m not a normal subscriber to fasting for Lent. I’ve done it a few times, tossing out a token chocolate fast for good measure. This year, I decided to give up Facebook and Instagram for these 40 days. I had been feeling the strangle of social media for several months and decided there needed to be an untangling. A colon cleansing of sorts. 

I was thinking this through and trying to avoid it altogether when I was skyping with my best friend and she told me she was going to give up social media for Lent. I almost feigned a bad Skype connection so that I didn’t have to admit to her that I was thinking of doing the same thing. Now I had that blasted thing called accountability.

I learned a lot about my character and about owning my own junk these past 40 days. Blaming social media was replaced by naming my own misshaped desires and insufficient heart.

1. Social Media isn’t evil, but my heart can be.

    While social media can become a vacuum for productivity, sometimes we forget just where the problem lies. 
      With us.
      Squarely with us.
      If I am choosing to scrape through Facebook instead of making dinner, then I’m choosing indulgence over responsibility.

      Jeremiah 17 reminds us that, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desparately sick…

      A sick heart needs healing, not to my ignoring it by bandaging it with social media trivialities. But again, it’s not social media's fault. The apple wasn’t at fault in the garden. It was Eve’s deciding that God wasn’t enough that was her heart’s deception. I think there’s similar danger in our social media addictions. 

   2. Social media has exposed my desire to be known

One of the most vulnerable things I’ve learned was just how much I crave being known by people. I’ve struggled a lot with loneliness these last two years. Living overseas is isolating. But giving up social media made me realize that most of my loneliness was not a craving for community, but rather a craving for people to pay attention to me. I wanted someone to notice that I wasn’t at that birthday party and be sad because of it. This was especially apparent for the first week of the fast. I replaced my Facebook "quick looks," with email "quick looks."

It’s been good to separate loneliness from attention craving. I now understand that when I start to sense loneliness, I need to be sure it’s labeled correctly for my own heart’s sake.

3.   Social media reminds us of our need for community

I was grieved several times when I missed big events in my friends’ lives. I had several friends who would periodically send me emails to update me on things like: this person’s dad just had a heart attack; our adoption was denied; our adoption went through; I leave for South Sudan today. I missed getting to tell them I was praying for them or ask them how that doctor’s appointment went.

As long as it does not become an unhealthy dependency, our need for people is from the Lord. I Cor. 12 tells us that, “For in one Spirit we were ALL baptized into ONE body…” One functioning, synchronized body of Christ.

My natural disposition is to do it by myself.

My natural disposition is to get stressed out, overwhelmed, and void of joy.

I should not be surprised at the cause and effect.

I need community and I’m thankful to the Lord that we have social media that allows me to see that first birthday party of the friend’s daughter whom I’ve yet to hold. While social media can take us tempt us to avoid face to face interactions, it also allows to remain connected that is unprecedented in history.

4.   When we categorize social media as merely a time drain, we strip it’s ability for good.

We Americans like categories. Democrat/Republican; liberal/conservative; pro-life/pro-choice. When we slip social media into the “waste of time” file, we discount all the good things that can be done with it. Plenty of organizations are using it for advocacy and raising money for great causes. I’ve seen families decide to adopt because of a video they saw or article they read off Facebook. I’ve learned how to be better mom through blogs and articles found online. Redeeming social media is key-using it to move forward Christianly things in a progressive and gracious manner. God knew we’d have this push and pull with social media as we sit here in 2014. Let’s let it revolutionize the world instead of feeding our gluttonous hearts.

The pile of nastiness that can be dumped in and around our hearts can be overwhelming. But I know that tomorrow morning, new mercies are offered to me by the most generous of all Fathers. Thank you Jesus that I don’t have to muster up these heart changes on my own.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

MTV music video is done. Oh buddy.

I've been on a social media fast for Lent. I've also put a hold on blogging for awhile.

I'll probably write on my thoughts on that soon.

But, I break my blogging break to bring you our Chinese music video debut. If you missed the details about the filming, here they are...in all their blackmailing material glory.

Since the release of this video, we've had friends text and tell us they've seen it in their hotels and on the bus. As you watch, notice the lack of close ups on my fingers as I play the piano. It might be because they had to bring in a piano teacher to show me how to position my hands. It might also be that once I learned how to position my hands, I just pretended to type my name like it was a keyboard.

Yes, I still have the dress.

For a single that's put out by someone with actual musical talent (unlike me), check out this new single:

It will bless your soul.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Little Blogging Break

I'm taking a blogging break. I could take your hand and walk you down a romantic diatribe of why I need to step back for a bit. Here's the bottom of it:

I'm tired.

I have an uneasy feeling that 2014 is going to be a year of me coming to terms with my weaknesses. One of my disillusionments is that I can do anything I want to. I've bought into the American mantra and now I'm tired.

I don't have a theme or a word for this year. Only a task: Lose Control.

I am hoping that my brain will find its functionality in the next few months and I'll pick up writing again. I need writing, so I'm praying that the Lord would refresh my soul in the next few months and I'll be back at it soon enough.

We also started watching Downton Abbey. That's not helping me with setting healthy margin in my life.

I just jumped into the instagram game. Thank you 21st century. I'm going to try and still post pics there if you want to follow along, you can find me here:  cvaughn

Until then...
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