The Struggle to Balance in Two Very Different Worlds

I’ve been home for a few days now, and the whirlwind of emotional rollercoasters have been in full force.

  • Reverse culture shock is a thing.
  • Getting back to normal is my fear.
  • Falling back into routine is scary.
  • And wondering if the missions trip vibes will wear off is real.

Day 1 after my trip I was a complete mess. Less than 30 minutes off the airplane, and I had a huge lump in my throat. I wasn’t sure if I would curl up in a ball and cry the whole way home or scream at everyone at the fast food stop to calm down and stop making so much noise. Reverse culture shock was beginning, and I didn’t handle it well. Well, maybe I did. Nobody got hurt, I didn’t scream, and I only cried on the inside… but still, it didn’t feel good.

Day 2 after my trip, I only got out of bed to eat and use the bathroom. Seeing reality was too much for me, and I just didn’t do it. I basically skipped day 2 because I didn’t want to face the noise of real life. I’m not sure if this was healthy or not, but it’s what seemed to work for me. I’m also sick, so it was probably a good decision.

Day 3 after my trip, I made an effort to face the day. I bought some things for an upcoming event and felt super guilty for spending money. I made an effort to get social online and reconnect with family and friends, and I spent a lot of time on instagram. I’m starting to “get back to normal”, and I don’t really like it. I can tell I’m not being super happy and nice right now, and I don’t understand why. I think my heart is just hurting right now.

Day 4 after my trip, I’m so afraid it’s wearing off. I love being on the mission field. I love Nicaragua. I love that the noise is different. I love that material things aren’t a thing, competition doesn’t exist, and the focus to help others is so clear. I’m afraid my other world is creeping back in, and I don’t know how to reconcile that.

My Best Life

Here’s the thing about doing ministry in a 3rd world country only part time … The rest of the time, you feel like you aren’t living your best life because what you know as your best life is the life you live on the mission field. The rest of the time, it’s just living in a way that works for the world you are on when you aren’t on the mission field.

This is where I am. Right now.

It’s a struggle.

It’s not a first world problem or a third world problem. It’s a problem with knowing both, living in both, and figuring out how to balance how you feel in one world and what you do in another.

I am struggling with the abundance of everything in the world I live in and the lack of everything in the world I love.

I am fighting the re-immersion back into the society that I know and live in because I appreciate the realness of the one I just left.

Last night, I posted a pretty #basic insta story and literally cringed before taking it down because I knew it was irrelevant to everything that matters in the world.

But this morning, I hesitated before posting another photo with another child from another trip on the mission field because I don’t know if people are tired of seeing it.

And I hate myself a little for even caring.

I have already been tested with all the things, and I’ve been challenged by all the noise. I’m not sure what’s next, but I honestly just know that I’m homesick from a place that isn’t my home. I’m missing the opportunities to serve in some of the most challenging situations on earth, and I don’t know what to do with that.

When I start to get irritated by a first world problem, I feel shame. I feel guilty. And then I remember, that’s not fair. Me feeling this way doesn’t help anyone. So, I’m working through that.

I’m also trying to fight the feeling that this post may be completely counterproductive to my ministry. But honestly, I feel like I’m coming off of a spiritual high, and I don’t like it. I liked last week. I liked all the worship. I liked all the smiles. I liked all the giving and loving. I liked the peace. I liked how the need was right in front of me, and so was the solution. I liked that.

My world doesn’t work like that. And I am trying to decide how to have more spiritual highs where I am now (or here) as I mentioned in my last post. I don’t think this is something only missions trip goers experience. I think a lot of people go through this.

If you’ve ever been to church camp, you probably feel my vibes right now. If you’ve ever been to an awesome worship conference or just had a super intense church experience, this is probably hitting home. I feel like my heart has been changed, and my eyes have been opened, but what if my actions don’t reflect those changes when I get back to my normal reality?

I feel like in Nicaragua, I reach my potential. And when I get back home, I don’t. I guess I’m entering into a season where that’s not okay anymore. I’ve been going on these trips for 8 years, and every time, I come back feeling a certain way, and this time, it’s more intense than ever before.

I. Need. My. Every. Day. To. Matter.

I know it’s up to me to figure out where to go from here, and I’m super blessed to serve a God that will direct me. It’s the direction that I’m looking for and the clarity that I’m needing. I’ll get it. I know I will. I just need to be faithful and consistent, and I need to be willing to step outside of my comfort zone at home, not just on the mission field. I’ll get there, I feel it.

Honestly, I feel like the reason my heart is so unsettled is because I know I am capable of being a better me at home. I think this last trip to Nicaragua opened my eyes to my full potential, how I’m not living up to it at home, but also how I am capable of reaching it because I did on that trip. Now it’s time to do that on the regular, at home, in my own community.

Sorry this was more of a journal entry than a blogpost. Thanks for reading along and being a part of this season of my journey.

If you feel like you are not reaching your potential, hold onto that feeling. Ask yourself some hard questions. Visualize what your best life really looks like. Imagine what your full potential feels like. Pursue that. Pray about that. Reach for that. Talk to people about that. Connect on that. You will get it, you just gotta work for it.

– the Wife

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