God's Economy

Living in another country has a way of exposing one to the depths of their soul - like extracting the heart out of the body and taking a close examination of arteries, veins, muscles, and chambers like our paradigms and belief systems.

This blog, originally published in August, 2017 during a season of burn out, is one of the many that express my changing paradigms and views of myself, God, and the world.

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I've been learning about God's economy lately. It's really so different than mine and I think it's really different from America's economy in many ways.

It's easier for me to accept gifts and donations when I feel like I am working very hard and showing progress and outcomes in the clinic in Haiti.

It is much more difficult for me to accept gifts, donations, blessings, a free dental appointment, free dinners, love, acceptance, and affection when I am a compassion-fatigued, less-than-normal functioning version of Rachel.

But I'm pretty sure (~ 100%) that's not how God works.

He loved us far before we loved Him. He sent His son to die on the cross far before I submitted my life to Him. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us and this is how God demonstrates His love for us (Romans 5:8 paraphrased).

My friends still love me whether I'm a weepy grieving missionary or not. My friends love me if I'm staying on the mission field or not. My God loves me, accepts me, gives gifts that I do not deserve, and lavishes us with grace, compassion, kindness rather than judgement, guilt and shame.

So when my dentist friend gives me a free cleaning and more care and compassion than I can muster and listens to my missionary banter, I am humbled and rejoice in my Father (rather than entertain thoughts that I don't deserve it).

When my friends house me and give me all the space and freedom I need to do whatever I need to do and be whatever I need to be, our bond grows even deeper.

When my aunt spoils me with a few quality items to add to my (limited) wardrobe, I smile and accept.

When my sister pays for me to go to a missionary debriefing that is invaluable and a holy, precious time, I try to express thanks that I just can't quite communicate the meaning of.

When my friends and family continue to give to me (to God) to allow me to remain in Haiti even in the midst of the mess and fatigue and grief, I don't hardly know what to do with myself. But this is how God thinks of me. He doesn't think I need to be performing for Him, working 80 hours a week for him, and running myself ragged.

He wants my Heart. My whole heart. After all, I am his first mission. (WHAT? that sounds a little off base). No, I am His first mission. Without that knowledge and without knowing that He cares about me just as much as he cares about the Haitian people, I will always come up short and run on empty. (People will say, "but think how many lives you've touched and all the work that has been accomplished"). Yes. Lives have been touched by His grace. Work has been accomplished surely by His grace (can I get an amen?) But I'm not wholly convinced that is all He's after. I think if all of that were to happen and He didn't capture more of my heart, it would be a failure.

Without following his rhythms of ministry (pour out and retreat, pour out and retreat, re-engage with the father in solitude, rest, nutrition, and prayer), I am only a burnt out, cynical, fatigued missionary. (Luke chapter 5-9 and various places throughout New Testament).

I don't like being on the receiving end of things, especially when I don't feel that I deserve it. 
But that's just not how God works. And that's not how He thinks. And that's not who He is. And I'm really glad to learn more of the Character of God.

photo credit: Jennifer Eliason

photo credit: Jennifer Eliason