Thanksgiving & Surrender

I have now been in Malaysia about 2½ weeks.  My time here has been full of change and travel so far.  Things should “slow down & regulate” a little by the end of this week as far as change and move are concerned, however things are going to ramp up as far as work is concerned.  Starting next Monday, I will be helping teach English during a Holiday program for 3 weeks.  That means helping with or teaching 5 different classes a week, about 30 hours of teaching.  It should make for a very interesting experience.  I am also trying to learn some of the local language, Malay.  Although, not a terribly difficult language, the pronunciation of some letters are very different from English, so thanks for your thoughts as I work on this as well.

This is a very beautiful country with many things to offer, but lacking freedom in some areas that American’s take for granted daily.  True freedom of speech does not exist, there are many sensitive areas that must be avoided or kept on the down low.  Also the variety of cultural interactions that exist here seems to breed some animosity between people groups, especially in things such as dress, food, privilege, etc.  It is important to remember who and what you want to represent while you are here.  There is some grace for an “outsider”, however most of you know I do not strive to remain an “outsider” so it is important that I not only learn what is acceptable, but also do my best to conform to the strictest set of regulations available.

I would encourage each of you to take this time around the holiday to remember the wonderful gifts you have including, but not limited to living in a country where you are pretty much free to think, act, talk, dress, etc. any way you want without much consequence.  This is not true of a lot of the rest of the world, but especially in certain countries.  Remember to be thankful for more than just the stuff you have & remember not to be held down by the things you don’t have or haven’t had the opportunity to see or do yet.  Sometimes the most important thing you can do is appreciate your present, rather than longing for a future or regretting a past.  If you aren’t able to fully experience now, then your past will be devoid and your future will seem dim.  This is a process for everyone including myself, but I am striving to learn to live in the present, be thankful for the here & now, as well as the past that got me where I am, & the future that holds so many unknowns.  Learning to live one day at a time and accept each day for whatever it holds is a daily choice that is often full of scary unknowns, but if we are willing to step out in fth, it will always be the best choice we can make in our walk with the LRD.

As I seek to grow in my personal walk & be willing to take each day as it comes, which is neither easy nor comfortable for me, I encourage you to do the same.  A quote I have written for myself to read each day as a reminder of what I am attempting to learn while here comes from the most recent book, A.D. 33, written by my favorite author Ted Dekker.  I will include it for you here – the conversation is between JC and a character, emphasis mine:

“Surrender who you think you are…

‘To see who I really am.’

Surrender what you think you need…

‘To see what I already have.’

Surrender all that you think you know about…

‘To know you.’”

Surrender is a choice no one can make for you and one you must continue to make that is never easy, but is the only way to move in to a higher understanding of who you are, defined primarily by whose you are not by what you have or do.  Thank you for walking with me and supporting this journey as I learn to walk more everyday wherever the LRD leads me.

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