Lose Yourself

During my few years in Haiti, I lost myself.

I lost myself in the best sort of way and in the worst sort of way.

1 year + out I can see the immense fruit of that season , death and re-birth, and am so thankful for the healing sabbatical I took after leaving Haiti.

The losing and finding myself was painful, brutal, and a Holy process of tilling the soil of my soul. To be clear, I didn’t have much choice. The choice is: look inside or become incredibly hardened, cynical, and bitter from the pains and traumas that accumulate (in an accelerated fashion) overseas.

Saying yes to moving to Haiti was saying yes to splitting my heart wide open and taking a deep look around… but I didn’t know that at the time.

I was faced with my own privilege, biases, worldview, faith, and understanding of God. In the midst of my fight for healthcare for the poor, I denied myself over and over again.

At times I had to go in search for myself again (see this blog). Other times, I was thankful for the pieces of myself I lost - complimentarian theology, naive understanding of white privilege, rigid understanding of God informed by my culture, church, upbringing, and myself.

I feel like my time in Haiti was a fastrack to a new me, the me that God intended me to be all along.

Maybe this is what life with God is about. Maybe it’s a lot more about living, learning, loving, being broken and rebirthed again and again. There is so much freedom in this process. I used to think I had to figure out God, follow all the rules, do all the right things (legalism). But now I see walking with God as a daily invitation to learn more about me (His creation), learn more about Him, learn more about love and justice lived out in a messy world. I want an evolving faith, one that evolves to a deeper and wider understanding on mother God and what her heart cares about.

The key to losing yourself is taking time to find yourself again. In a high efficicency, high productivity, results-oriented culture, we rarely value the seasons of quiet, discovery, curiosity, the seasons that don’t seem to produce much in the way of outcomes. But without these seasons of digging, these seasons of reflection, we can never fully integrate our experiences and become a new version of ourselves.

Today I emailed my mom and asked her how I’ve changed since my pre-Haiti self. She emailed me back this list. Wow, now that’s a lot of change, a lot of results. Thanks mom.

1.       Know yourself better

2.       Take care of yourself more and value self-care more

3.       You are more spiritual and less religious

4.       You are even better at building community around you

5.       You are less trusting, in a good way

6.       You are less of a people pleaser

7.       You have much more of a world view/global perspective

8.       You are more in tune with poverty and privilege

9.       You are more of a feminist

10.   You have a better understanding of God’s grace vs. having to work to earn God’s approval

11.   You are more in tune with yourself and are more comfortable with being alone

12.   You have much more of a heart for missionaries being taken care of better

13.   You have a clearer and more realistic view of the brokenness within the church and within the world of missions

14.   You have a better understanding of helping vs. hurting

15.   You “get” Micah 6:8 in a real way now and focus more on the core values of love and justice than the keeping the “rules” of evangelical Christianity.

Photo credit: Jennifer Eliason

Photo credit: Jennifer Eliason