07 January, 2014

Looking forward to 2014

Sometimes in life we know when big changes are coming and at other times we don't. This year we know. It is going to be a big year for us. A year of upheaval and change. 

We know that we'll be packing up our entire lives here in Japan and storing most or all of our household goods. We'll be handing over almost all of our current jobs (minus parenting) to others and preparing for different jobs in Australia. We'll be setting up another house in Australia, and switching the boys to another school. We'll be giving up all our keys (house
This was New Year's Eve. We celebrated
it with another family who has four boys
(almost all teenagers). These two, one of
ours and one of theirs, have the same
name (different spelling). They are both
sportsmen. They both know what it is to
train for sporting events and the focus
needed to succeed. 
and car and bikes) and exchanging them for other keys on the other side of the ocean. 

We'll be saying goodbye to all our friends and colleagues here, goodbye to our familiar routines and places. Then say many hellos to friends and family in Australia. Plus many introductions as we meet people who have no clue as to our unusual life. We'll have new routines to discover and establish, new relationships to discover and establish. Vaguely familiar things to get used to all over again. And through it all, parenting boys who have less resources than we have to handle the changes.

International moves are horrendous. We've done it five times before, so we know. 

Today I listened to our mission leader remind us, though, that challenges often come paired with opportunities. 

I've been reminding our boys that though they know most of what we'll be missing out on, they don't yet know many of the opportunities they'll be getting. It's good to be reminded ourselves though. 

However one of the biggest opportunities we'll be given when we step away from our relatively predictable and comfortable life is this: the opportunity to trust God. To trust Him to supply us with all we need. To trust Him to supply us with all we don't know we'll need. To trust Him to carry us through all the uncertainty. 

So, I'm reminding myself that Home Assignment is a time to lean back into God. To be shaken out of our perceived comfort zone again, for our good.

With all that in mind, I'd like to keep my focus on one particular set of verses from the Bible. Last week I was asking God what he wanted me to focus on in 2014 and it came through the sermon on Sunday: 

Hebrews 12:1-3
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
For a different angle on it look at The Message:
12 1-3 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
I've long held these verses as favourites. What I'm looking at for this year is the athletic side. I spent enough time as a youth in sporting endeavours and we now spend enough time on the sidelines of our sons' sporting endeavours these days to make easy parallels. 

There is both the perseverance as well as the competitive drive to finish well that comes out here. The Message puts that strongly by using "adrenaline".

And to pull out the current sport on our family's mind: wrestling, both of these elements shine clear. There is both the need to drive hard, as well as build endurance and be able to "stay the course". At the same time, there is a need to keep your eyes on the goal, not getting distracted, but staying focused on the goal of the bout.

So, our goal for 2014 isn't to defeat someone. But neither is it to "run" so hard that we can't finish well. There will be many distractions, many causes to feel like giving up "the race", yet we'll need to keep our eyes on the goal: Why we're doing this huge transition.

I'm hoping to come back to this passage at least once a month here to refocus. It is easy to make goals at this time of year and let that dribble away to nothing, but this year I want to try to keep this goal before me.

Do you have a focus this year? A goal? Something big that's going to require a lot of your attention?


Sarah said...

Praying for you, Wendy!

Wendy said...

Thank you Sarah!