At this time last year, I had just gotten back from Mongolia, and I was on an unbelievable spiritual high. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately because now that I’m living with other people, I’ve been surrounded by discontent. I think discontent is a part of being a young adult, but it’s a bad thing. When I lived all by myself, I was mostly content, because I controlled everything that went into Katie. I am ridiculously emotionally controlled, and I’m smart enough and self-aware enough to recognize the road to discontent before I get too far along it. However, it’s feeling nearly impossible not to follow other people down that road when I’m spending so much time with others (not just my roomies) who don’t love their lives right now. I personally think that discontent comes from chasing after some of the benefits of a relationship with God rather than chasing after Him. Example: I am way gentler and more emotionally engaged when I’m close to God. However, I don’t become gentler by trying to be gentle. I become gentle by drawing close to my Creator. It’s a fine line.
Anyways, I’ve been thinking about lots of spiritual stuff along those lines lately, and I ran across a post card that I wrote to myself when I was getting ready to leave Mongolia last year, and I thought I’d share it with you. ELIC mailed it to me in October of last year, so I tried to write to Future Katie as best as I could.
Well, Katie James! You’ve been back in the states for awhile now, and you’re working hard in your classroom – getting to know and love a new group of students. But I want to remind you about the summer you spent in Mongolia.
Don’t forget your wonderful teammates and the community you all shared. Don’t forget your students – especially Enkhuush, Zuula, Baska, and Haduur. You’ve experienced some amazing, eye-opening things, and I don’t want you to get caught up in the hustle bustle of everyday life and forget what it’s like to wash your hair in a plastic basin, eat mutton and horse, and commit all of your time to sharing the gospel.
Katie of the past
I’ve been thinking about Mongolia a lot lately, and I loved rereading this post card. There’s a picture of a Yak on it and a few gers in the background, and I’d be lying if I omitted how torn my heart has been since coming back. I want to be a foreign missionary. I want it so much more badly than I can even describe. At the beginning of this year, I applied for a 2-year stint in Asia and got accepted. I researched the countries available to me and fell in love with Cambodia, and I yearn to go there.
So why don’t I go?
I don’t know how to describe it, but I’m convinced that right now God has me where He wants me. I believe that my church and family need me. But maybe part of discontent that I’ve been feeling creep in on me has to do with setting my heart on something that I don’t think God has for me right now. Part of being a disciple is learning that circumstances don’t dictate happiness or contentment. Those things have only ever been mine when I love God – when I give my heart over to Him and quit planning. There is so much in my nature that rebels against this kind of trust, but isn’t God big enough to take care of it? Doesn’t He do a better job than I ever could?
So perhaps Cambodia rests somewhere on the horizon for me… but I’m here now. Maybe I should really be here.