Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Re-Entry Burns, Bruises, and Blues

I've always been one who is very public about what I'm doing in ministry. I'm open about the excitement, the plans and hopes, and the downsides. That was certainly the case while I was in Germany, updating some 100+ people multiple times in the week about ministry news, needs, and ways to pray and intercede for myself and the team. I've continued to request their prayers this week for the purposes of "re-entry."

For those who've ever done any kind of cross-cultural mission, education, or extended time abroad, you know what is meant by re-entry. For others, you may be more familiar with the concept of "culture shock" and the stresses that introduces to people as they adjust to new places, people, concepts, customs and needs. Re-entry is the process that someone goes through when they return to their host culture and have to go back to their previous cultural context. It can be emotionally-taxing, physically tiring, spiritually challenging, and mentally exhausting. Self-care in those times, is at a premium.

But there are also responsibilities. Life did not pause in my absence. Ministry did not pause in my absence. So I'm bumpily sorting my way through things that I need to take back up now that I've returned. I'm starting to juggle again, and I'm dropping the ball fairly frequently. It's frustrating, but it's part of the process. It's taking me some extra motivation to talk myself into normal things I do all the time. And I've found I'm more sensitive to slights and annoyances than usual, too. It's all par for the course.

In general, re-entry can take many about 1/3 of the time they were in the cross-cultural setting. For me, that's seven days. So, I'm pushing through the adjustments, demands, and trying to take the pacing and timing I need through Saturday. The lesson in discipleship with this is pretty straightforward: everything has a cost, and rest is not an option--it's a gift, so do everything in your power to receive it.