If experience is our best teacher, then progress is a prison. Our experiences can limit our ability to dream. – Dr. Myles Munroe
Dr. Munroe said a mouthful! You hear me? Most of our lives experience is our only teacher. It reminds us of what we can and cannot do while slowly suffocating our dreams. I just finished week 5 in South Africa and every single week, I have to remember that recounting my experience alone will keep me in the past and stifle my future here. And this has been harder than I expected.
The days are long and the nights are short. With the 7 hour time difference, I have found it harder than normal to remain connected to those I love in the States. It’s easy to look at my watch at 1 o’clock pm here and note, it’s only 6 o’clock am there. Long days. I’m learning to be patient with the process of connecting. I still often receive text messages at 2 am because people don’t realize the time difference. I’m thankful people are trying to keep in touch.
Living in a new country has been a great way to learn that the world doesn’t revolve around America. While America continues to greatly influence culture outside of its sphere, there is such richness of culture independent of the States. In order to fully embrace my time here, America remains a reference point, not my singular guide. So my life has been full of tea time, outdoor recreation, and water conservation due to a recent drought here. I am mindful that assimilation is seductive. This is not assimilation. This is me fully bringing all that I am (as a Black woman from the States) to every experience and in no way assuming that America’s way is the best or only way.
I’m sure it’s not difficult to believe that the most common question I receive from locals in The States or those here in Western Cape is, “Why South Africa?” Although, I’m wearing less make-up and watching less TV, these positive changes don’t speak to why I decided to move here. Truthfully, I only have a sketch, a brief outline of why I believe God gave me the desire to live here. I am confident that God will shine a light on what He needs to when He needs to in order to reveal exactly why I’m here. I don’t want to be in such a rush to “figure out God’s plan” that I miss experiencing His presence in daily encounters.
Here’s what I can tell you today.
- I don’t want fear to continue to rule. Most of my life has been lived with an aversion to risk. If it is too risky, I normally play it safe with fear being the dominate driver. I’ve chosen courage over fear and put fear in the rear view mirror.
- I’d like to live in freedom. Even great opportunities can feel constricting when you know it’s time to move on. I knew it was time to move on.
- This is so much bigger than me. God’s vision is always bigger than one person. This is His vision.
- Why Not South Africa? This question has been critical as God used it to dismantle what I had counted on to be sound, rational, logic for remaining in the States. There goes experience again…
I’ve applied for many jobs and I’ve only had 2 interviews – with the same non-profit. I enter this next week believing for a final interview. There were 500 applicants for this position. Insane number, but this is so much bigger than me. I ask you all to join your faith with mine as I trust God to provide the right opportunity for me here. I also move with my friend and her family to Cape Town next week. What a week ahead!
There is one experience that I can always bank on and will do so again and again. That is the experience of God’s remarkable faithfulness each time I choose to obey His leading and prompting. Full details or not. That’s like money in the bank.
“The LORD’S loving kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3:22-23