Poas Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
Busyness can be the heart’s worst enemy- Lisa Bevere
When I first started in full time missions, I was in a constant state of busyness but my heart was aching deeply. I had random emotional break downs, would forget to eat, lose my keys, etc. I couldn’t even begin to describe how I felt or what I was doing because I was in a constant state of, “go, go go”. I felt overwhelmed by the needs all around me. I was too busy.
Rest had become a luxury that I had decided I simply could not afford. I was consumed with fixing the problems and I felt guilty if I was not doing something to improve the poverty around me. I couldn’t focus on the beauty of Central America because all that filled my time and attention was the lack. I lost sight of the culture and truly how to make a difference.
I believe that many times in mission work, if we are not careful, we can adapt a savior mentality and forget to rely on the Holy Spirit to work in and through the lives of those around us. God loves people more than we ever could and when we rely on that truth, there is a freedom that comes, allowing us not to strive and help everyone we meet. Many caregivers and missionaries can often develop PTSD or Secondary Traumatic Stress, (also known as Compassion Fatigue) from hearing and seeing so much tragedy.
Relief work can be heavy and draining, so it is necessary to balance having a life apart from the work. Otherwise, when you are working with survivors and victims, you are not rested and can be just as discouraged as they themselves. When they encounter a caregiver they should encounter a rested person, full of hope and life. You cannot instill in others what you don’t have yourself.
Whenever I visit a country, I take time to enjoy the culture around me as well as the mission work at hand. I have served and explored in twelve different nations, sampling their food, touring their sights and checking out their local artisan markets.
It is exhilarating to take in the scenes, sounds, and smells of a country.
A nation is more than its social issues. Every country has a story, learn that story, memorize its face, enjoy its food and you will see a greater view of God’s design.