Posts Tagged "suffering"

team conflict missions

Why Conflict is the Deadliest Word in Missions

“Often the real trauma is feeling mistreated, bullied, or discriminated against by our own fellow humanitarians, those who should be there to share the same values and ideals.” –Alessandra Pigni- In general, conflict in relationships is one of the most difficult things to manage. This is especially true when serving overseas. Team conflict with other missionaries and missions’ agencies can be especially devastating. In my life coaching work, I hear stories all the time of heartache, frustration, and hopelessness surrounding these relationships. In fact, a 1997 study by the World Evangelical Alliance found that conflict with peers was the TOP preventable reason North American

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vicarious trauma

What Missionaries Should Know about Vicarious Trauma

It was 2006 and I was sitting in a dimly lit room in Rwanda listening to a female genocide survivor tell me her story of rape and torture. Most of the time her face remained distant, as though she was recounting something that happened to someone else. A fly buzzed around the office table. I could feel my legs perspiring against the wooden chair, the room stifling with heat. A fan whirred in the corner, but I could barely feel it. At one point this woman broke down, she pressed a dingy white handkerchief against her eyes, as though to hide

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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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missionaries martyrs

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

You don’t have to sacrifice your spirit, your joy, your soul, your family, your marriage on the altar of your ministry. –Shauna Niequist, Present Over Perfect– I feel I’ve been learning lessons like this alongside Shauna these last four years. This book is wrecking me lately because it’s story I’ve been writing myself. Why God Doesn’t Need Missionaries to be Martyrs is a subject I’ve been wrestling through since I first went into missions over 10 years ago. I wrestled through it in Heidi Baker’s Iris school, I wrestled with it living in a difficult region of Uganda, and I’m confronted with it on

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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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recover from burnout

How to Recover from Burnout

“We don’t have to buy into the collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success.” -Arianna Huffington, Thrive I’ve been humbled overwhelming response around my recent article, What I Wish I’d Known About Missionary Burnout. After sifting through numerous comments and emails, my heart ached with a common thread: The voices of so many of you rising up, bravely admitting to yourselves that you might already be burned out and asking what you should do next. It’s been two and a half years and I still feel like I’m answering this question. The good news is, you’ve taken

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porch

What If There is Meaning in Suffering?

  “We seek our identities in the wake of painful experiences. We can endure great pain if we believe it is purposeful.”   -Andrew Solomon- When we don’t get what we want, it throws our life into a certain amount of chaos. There is a deep desire to control, to force the world to bend to my will. But what if there is meaning in this suffering and like peeking over into a walled garden, perhaps I can discover a secret?   I’ve been trying to get pregnant for over 11 months now. There are a myriad of reasons why this

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kalalu-trail

Why I Quit My Life (And Started Over)

Last year, I didn’t have any resolutions.  After the devastating loss of my first pregnancy, saying goodbye to my Ugandan home, my dream, and the day to day management of the non-profit I’d built over the last seven years, to move from Africa to America, I think my resolution was merely “to survive.” I did this with an acute sense of lostness and an oozing red eye from pneumonia which I proceeded to get a week after leaving the Tropics. But I did choose a “theme” for the year. 2013 was the “year of health.” It was my goal to

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baby

When You Lose Your Whole World

  It feels like the inside of me is being wrung out like a wet towel which no longer holds water. I wanted my first blog back in the States to be full of stories from the vacation we’ve been meaning to take for 3 years, or the crazy adventures of seeing family and friends we’ve missed so much, or a blog on rest, and how I was getting it. All the many testimonies of God’s faithfulness to us in Uganda over the last six months. This is not a story about that. It might get too real and too

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sunrise

How to Go Through the Fire

  Give thanks for the morning sunrise I am well enough to see. Give thanks for the husband still warm in bed, his arm over his head in dreams. Some days we give thanks because we don’t know what else to do. Because if we truly look we can see the gems shimmering through the mud and the mess. I slip out into the cool of the morning before the day’s heat drenches my shirt, and give thanks for that breeze and early stillness. The doc says I have malaria/and/or food poisoning which is less than reassuring with all the

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