This afternoon at church, I spent some time chatting with a young family over lunch, and as they got up to leave, the mother invited me to join them in walking over to the small festival that was happening in town. Suddenly, I had a choice to make, and if you know me at all, then you know that I am absolutely the most indecisive person on the planet- no joke. The young woman laughed, and said that I sounded just like her small boy (he’s a very genki three year old with enough energy to power a small country). She then held up up two fingers, and quoted her son, “I want to do two things,” and I laughed, but totally agreed. I could completely relate because, yes, I really did want to do two things! And that’s always been the issue for me, especially since coming to Japan. Pretty much from the moment I stepped off the plane on day one, I have found myself caught between two deep and conflicting realities. Part of me was (is) so ecstatic to be in Japan and eager to soak in the experience, but the other part was (definitely still is) terribly homesick and uneasy. I thought the uneasiness would wear off as time went on, but it’s never really faded away, and that’s been really troubling. I’ll still find myself questioning my decisions to come out here and then to stay and continue teaching for another year because I want to do two things.

I want to go back to the States and live (relatively) close to my family. I want to watch my nephew grow up. I want to spend time with aging grandparents. I want to be able to visit my friends. But, I also want to stay in Japan. I want to learn the language and experience the culture. I want to build relationships with the people I’ve met at the church that I attend. I want to travel around the country more. I’ll find myself going back and forth pretty often, and even though I’ve made the decision to stick it out another year, the truth is that I’m really struggling.

I’m struggling to make sense of how I could want two very different things so very much. Maybe this post is me asking for advice, or trying to poll for unbiased opinions? Or maybe I just want to know if anyone out there can relate? Does anybody else ever feel like they are completely stuck between two great desires? Trapped between familiarity and freedom? Caught between chaos and comfort? So often, I think, when we find ourselves in those kinds of situations, we rush to ease the tension and make a decision; we want there to be a clear right choice and wrong choice, but sometimes there really isn’t. Maybe, sometimes, we’re just supposed to live in the tension even though that, in and of itself, is uncomfortable.I don’t know, these are just my “late-night-I-really-should-be-sleeping-but-instead-I’m-having-an-existential-crisis” thoughts, and I really would love to hear you opinions, so feel free to share your experiences in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Jaa ne!

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4 thoughts on “Two Things

  1. I could very much relate to you. I’ve been struggling with myself over and over about whether I should or shouldn’t put my life on hold and move to London to help start a church. For the longest time, I’ve had a love for England and I’ve always wanted to be a missionary. BUT I always thought that this was more like a dream that would never come true and I could just keep dreaming that it would never happen because I knew I didn’t quite know how to do either or. How could I move to London? For what reason would I leave my awesome job in San Antonio, leave my family, and even put my life on hold? And much less would I even know how to do missionary work in another country with no experience, nor knowing how to go about it. As crazy as it sounds, I was faced with a life decision to make. I knew that when I was 15, that one day I’d do missionary work in another country. I’m 27 now, and that opportunity hadn’t striked me until this past year. A group of friends that I grew up very close with are moving to London to start a church. Immediately, I felt God tug me. I felt like He told me, this was my chance, my opportunity. But being the type of person I am, I freaked because one the opportunity was right in front of me, two I’m married now and can’t just pick up my things and leave, three I have my family and now my husband’s family that I’d have to leave, three I want to start my own family one day. There was just so many things stopping me and keeping me from jumping into it because my life is so different now. More than ever, I felt God testing my trust in Him. I had to tell Diego about how I felt about London and going with my friends. Surprisingly, he supported me and was wanting to do it with me. The only thing that I knew that I had to do in order to find out if this was truly what God wanted me to do was to pray, and pray without ceasing until I heard God tell me. So we prayed, fasted, and so quickly there were so many signs pointing out to us that London is where God is calling us. We were invited by our friends, and we jumped in! I can’t describe to you the feeling once we decided that London is where God is calling us. I immediately felt peace. Ultimately what I felt God wanted from me was my FULL trust in Him. Trusting Him over my awesome job, trusting Him over my family, and trusting Him with my husband. And the verse that God reminded me with that always come to mind when I struggle is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God reminded me that He will never take me or Diego anywhere without Him taking care of us. God has you, me, Diego, our families, including Ito and Ita, everyone in His hands. My sole reason to saying yes to London is because I fear disobeying God from what He is calling me to do. I feel as if I would have said no to London, He would see it as if I don’t trust Him like I should. And that would bring me to my knees knowing that I didn’t trust God only. I couldn’t live myself if I did that to God. So I took a huge leap of faith and said yes. And like I said, I have peace. My advice to you is, pray! Pray without ceasing until you hear from God. He wants to hear from you. He’s waiting for you with open arms Janessa. I love you, and I’ll be praying for you!

    1. Zennia, that’s so exciting to hear about what’s going in your life!I had no idea this opportunity had come up for you. Thanks so much for sharing your story and some really good advice. You’re right, I know God is wanting me to fully trust Him, and everyday I’m learning to do that more and more. I will be keeping you in my prayers as you gear up for this God-given adventure in your life, and I hope you’ll keep me in yours!

  2. I think the tension is just part of life. I feel like no matter where we are, we always imagine the some place else will be better. I think it’s best to live in the moments that you’re given and realize no matter where you are that positivity can result. I’ve been living a lot in that tension as well, but I’ve stopped worrying (well … Mostly!!) about if I’m at the right where in my life and instead focused on making it the right where, at least for now.

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