NOTE: This post repeats a lot of the things I said in the last post, in a more positive way. I wrote it for Facebook, actually, and got some good feedback from my friends and decided that it was worth reposting. Ignore the repeats and focus on the meaning.
I have a map on my wall.
It’s actually more of a puny coloring page, standing in until I get one of those big classroom maps to hang over my desk. But it’s a map of the world, just the same.
There are four colors on this map.
The green means that I’ve been there. Granted, the only thing I’ve seen in one of the green countries is the airport, but I did have to actually leave the airport (and ended up getting lost), so it counts just the same.
The bluish purple means that I want to go there for fun. (Also, that I miscolored something and had to make it look uniform.) I want to go and visit, but don’t feel the biggest call there.
The purple means that I want to go there to work. Compassion Services, Peace Corps, something like that. I want to go there and help people.
The orange means maybe. (Hint: Everything that isn’t one of the above three colors is orange. There’s nothing that isn’t colored in.)
If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know that since I was little, I’ve loved looking at things from other countries. My uncle was in the Marine Corps and used to bring back things (particularly currency) from other countries and I was fascinated by them. I actually have an unopened Pepsi that he brought me from Saudi Arabia when I was about six. I would look at the postcards and the coins and want to go somewhere. I’ve always wanted to go to places. I can’t think of a single country that I wouldn’t go to if I had the chance, and I mean that whole-heartedly.
I made a list the other day of the countries I wanted to go work in. There were 42, and I’m almost certain I’m forgetting some. 24 were in Africa. 10 or so were in the Middle East and Indochina. The rest were in South America and the Caribbean.
I’m pretty sure that I added or subtracted unintentionally on the map, because it’s really hard to see borders on it. Because it’s tiny.
But so little of my world is green, and so much of it is purple. It’s slightly disheartening. I won’t lie to you. I’ve said that before.
What to do in that situation?
Spring is a time of new beginnings, new births. It’s a time to start fresh and do things differently. I always thought that it was stupid to make resolutions in January. In Ohio, at least, January is one of the most depressingly dismal, cold, gray months of the year. That doesn’t inspire anyone to be a better person. That I know of. Spring always seemed better. It’s bright and warm. You wake up happier in spring. It just seems to make sense that that would be the better time to make a resolution.
So, it’s spring, so I’m going to make my resolution today. Because I woke up with my open window blowing fresh breezes and new beginnings into my room. And it just seems like the thing to do.
I can’t go right now, but I can prepare myself.
That means dedicating myself. In multiple ways.
It means not slacking off in school. I do work fairly hard and I pay attention, and I get a lot out of my classes. Most of the time. But I can do better. And I should do better. Because I owe that to the people I’m going to reach in the future.
It means focusing on God. It means that no matter how great I feel that my relationship with God is, it can always be better. It’s not perfect until I’m dancing before the throne. I can always pray more and study his word more. I can actually share what I have with other people, instead of making excuses that
I’m too shy or that they’ll think I’m crazy. In the grand scheme of things, those seem like pretty lame excuses.
It means decluttering my life. While I could probably stand to do some spring cleaning and get rid of some actual things, that’s not exactly what I mean. Hebrews 12:1 (NLT) says this:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”
A lot of times, we get so caught up in the sin part of things. Defining what sin is and what we (and everyone else) should be doing(Completely different subject. Don’t get me started on that one.) frequently absorbs our life and we miss the big picture. Yes, sin is bad. It’s terrible, in fact. But there are other things that can be just as bad as sin. Called weights. But of course, we don’t want to deal with those. Because sometimes setting aside weights means getting out of our comfort zones. Getting rid of things that we really don’t want to get rid of. And sometimes setting aside weights is the most excruciatingly painful thing that you will ever do in your life. But in the end, you will be stronger and better because of it. And if you’re not carrying the weights, you’re going to be more able to run the race God set before you.
[dismount from soapbox]
So, that’s what I need to do. Nobody ever said that stuff would be easy. If they do, they’re liars and according to the Bible, all liars have their place in the Lake of Fire.
But for real. It’s not always easy. It’s not always rainbows and sunshine. But it’s the most rewarding thing I could ever do for myself.
And I owe it to the 42 countries in the distance.