Posts Tagged "self care"

cape town south africa

The Broken Way: What I Learned from an African Mental Hospital-I

“Why are we afraid of broken things? What if the abundance of communion is only found there in the brokenness of suffering–because suffering is where God lives? Suffering is where God gives the most healing intimacy.”  -Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way- Sunset in Cape Town is like a world set on fire. The pinks and red hues dipped into the Atlantic Ocean in furious delight. The waves crashed loud and the marshy, sea salt spray filled my nostrils. Behind me, a rock called Lion’s Head because of the shape of it, and the way it drapes its mountainous body around

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cumulative grief trauma

6 Ways to Heal from Cumulative Grief & Trauma

Trauma and loss happen to us all. Suffering is a part of life.  But sometimes things occur and we don’t know or recognize it as trauma, or as something to be grieved. So we go on living, and eventually these traumas pile high inside us like dirty laundry and the burden begins to take its toll. The scary part about grief/trauma is that eventually it can escalate into cumulative grief which is built up grief after multiple losses which occur on a regular basis or within a short period of time. Think of a physical injury like a broken bone which is re-injured, making the pain more

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missionaries martyrs

Why God Doesn’t Need Missionaries to be Martyrs Part II

This is part II of Why God Doesn’t Need Missionaries to be Martyrs. In the first part I talked about how God is not the author of our suffering. This doesn’t mean I believe suffering doesn’t have a role to play in our lives. I’ve written about how desperately we need a theology of suffering. But being a martyr as an act of devotion to God, and acting like a martyr because you think you have to, are two totally different things. Through my time living in Mozambique and Uganda, I learned as Christians and as missionaries we are called to enter into

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paying attention

How the Art of Paying Attention Heals Us

I’ve been ruminating recently on the idea that there must be a secret that can get us through hard times. There must be a secret to healing along the way as we pick up wounds in our daily living so they don’t pile high inside us. I’ve been looking for ways beyond the obvious practices, the things we know we should do, that cause us to find peace, to see the face of God, to grow. I’ve been meditating on a phrase I read recently from The Artists Way: “Our quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity

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when you have to release control

When You Have to Release Control

Surrender. It seems too delicate a word for me to understand, the syllables lilting off my tongue like failure, like giving up. Surrender seems cowardly, a tiny white flag of acquiescence. The signal that a battle is done. I’ve never been one to release control lightly. I’ve always been a fighter. I’ve always fought for what’s important to me: justice, love, friendships, forgiveness, even for my peace. But on this June day the tufts of dandelion’s wings floating on the breeze in my backyard, their fluffed fairy dance, looking for a place to land, I am trying to remember how. Actually,

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Adrenal Fatigue Missionaries

What Missionaries Need to Know about Adrenal Fatigue

One of the things we don’t talk about too often on the mission field is our bodies. Ok, we think about them all the time, like “Is Africa making me fat?” or “Do I have a tapeworm?” or “I wonder what kept me up on the toilet all night long.” But rarely as missionaries do we have a high value for taking care of our bodies because we’re too busy taking care of everyone else. Some people overseas seem to feel they earn gold stars based on how much abuse they’ve inflicted on their bodies to “sacrifice” for the cause. We say things

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missionary guilt

Letting Go of the Missionary Guilt Complex

I had been living in Uganda for five years when I first started putting a self care plan in place. I was late to the draw, but even a little bit helped to ward off compassion fatigue and burnout. That particular morning, I’d decided to go into the office two hours later than normal so I could lie on my yoga mat and soak in the worship crooning from my computer. It was part of a practice I’d begun to clear my mind and hear from the Lord without having all the demands of so many faces and their interruptions crowding

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running a non profit

10 Things I Wish I’d Known about Running a Non Profit

In my coaching sessions with missionaries and global aid workers, one of the things I find increasingly common is that most of these brave souls are also non-profit or NGO founders, like I was, trying to manage an impossible list of tasks in a developing country. They are carrying the additional burden of running an organization, responding to a Board, raising finances, hiring and training staff, and dealing with emergencies and government corruption. If you’ve ever run a non-profit you understand the stress that can accompany carrying an organization on your own two shoulders. There are the vision and strategy

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suffering

Why Missionaries Need a Theology of Suffering

“They shared an unshakeable belief in beauty, in overflow, in everythingness, the bursting, indelible beauty in a world where there is so much suffering and wounding and pain.”  –The Light of the World– Many of you know I write a lot about self care, and avoiding burnout, but I don’t want to ignore the fact that in our cross cultural work, and in life in general, suffering is inevitable. In fact, when we enter into ministry, we’re signing up to bear witness to the suffering of others. It is these two opposite poles of self-care and entering into suffering that are so

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Re entry

What Every Missionary Needs to Know about Re-Entry

“I am a confusion of cultures. Uniquely me. I think this is good because I can understand the traveler, sojourner, foreigner, the homesickness that comes. I think this is also bad because I cannot be understood by the ordinary, mono-cultured person. They know not the real meaning of homesickness that hits me now and then. Sometimes I despair of understanding them. I am an island and a United Nations. Who can recognize either in me but God?” – Alex Graham- Three years ago, I landed awkwardly into the USA with six suitcases and $200 in my bank account and spent

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