We thought everyone would be asking "So, how was Kenya?" A lot of times they don't, and maybe this is because we have managed to keep people abreast through this blog and other means. Instead they ask "What is it like being back in the US?"
This is a great question, because it takes a bit of consideration, and with any luck, the fruit of the conversation may be of benefit to both people.
If I were to pick one word, it would be Busy. On one level, this is surprising. After all, this is America, land of convenience and efficiency. Websites open instantly. You can drink water straight out of the tap. You can drive (at night) to a grocery store that is open (at night) and well-stocked (always) on excellent roads with traffic lights that have little triggers to turn green when people drive up. Usually, conversations are shorter, because I don't have to repeat myself three times to get my American accent understood. Meals instantly appear from freezers and/or delivery vehicles. You get the idea.
And yet, we feel like we are running around constantly, with far fewer hours than we need for the tasks before us. Why?
#1: We are sort of working from home, which means that all of our planning, networking, and presenting goes from the moment we wake up, until the moment we go to sleep. This maximizes our productivity. Except that it doesn't. Because of #2: We have multiple small children. This effectively means that we may as well stay on "Africa time", because that is really the only option available to us. And #3: America is a land where your productivity is a common proxy for your worth, and thus being here makes us all feel that we have to be producing all the time if we are worth anything. We are definitely talking about quantity over quality here.
And thus, without doing any medicine, in a land full of "time-saving" devices and systems, I feel busier and less efficient.
And yet, at the heart of things, none of the above are the root reason.
The year before us is somewhat daunting. We have a lot of catching-up to do, a lot of training to complete, and a lot of support to raise. I overstretch myself trying to get all this done. I have confidence that this path we're on is one that God has started. In fact, he promises to finish it (Phillipians 1), but I take it on myself. I show my lack of trust in God's faithfulness by bearing these burdens myself. Seemingly, this is what Paul calls starting with the Spirit, then finishing with the flesh. (Galatians 3) Just as the burdens of patient care in Africa could loom too large for my abilities, so now. And just as then, God is not calling me to do all things perfectly, but to obey and trust him with the times and gifts he has given me.
Can I rest? Do I dare let things out of my control? Will I trust God that he will complete his work in us? Will I honor him by recognizing that it is not dependent on me?
Isaiah 30:15: "In repentance and rest is your salvation. In quietness and trust is your strength."
Take a deep breath. Know that he is God. He will be glorified in the earth. This is against our culture in a big way. And, you who read this, I pray that God would lead you in it. As you read this, please pray for us that we would led as well.