Have you ever been in a place of living in comparison? It’s almost like a compulsion, you can’t help but compare everything in your mind. It’s easy to get bitter or jealous of what someone else have, or you can become proud of what you have. There have been times in my life when I can recognise these two extremes and I can testify that it is not a healthy place to live in.
I found it was vital to get to a place of security and peace in my identity, and to be at peace and content where I was and with what I had. Paul speaks clearly about this in Philippians 4 v12: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
My journey didn’t just happen overnight and there are times where I have to remind myself of this, and walk in this truth. When I focus on the many blessings God has given me I feel such joy in my heart and that enables me to be able to rejoice with others in the ways they have been blessed. Also it helps ensure that I do not hoard my blessings, but use them to bless others.
So I am glad I am in this place for this visit! The homes here are absolutely beautiful and large, and I feel like I’m in one of the movies I watch! However, I can delight in this and still delight in my precious home and all that God has blessed me with. I am learning to worship wherever I am and to be able to cherry pick the things that inspire me, encourage me and might be something worth bringing back home.
I am hoping to learn from the churches and ministries I visit and the people I spend time with. I am hoping that this will help me develop and grow both as a person and in my ministry. I don’t have to try and be a carbon copy of anyone else but be willing to see things and take things back that will help growth.
Yesterday I attended Grace Church, Snellville, arriving at 7.30am. It was my first time at church in America and I was looking forward to seeing something different and I couldn’t quite get over the size. I am used to lots of people at a Christian conference, but I go to a church of about 130 people, whereas this Church had about 650 adults at each service, as well as a High School Service and Kids Ministries! I walked in and there were service producers and camera team – it was very different!
I am learning to look carefully and see the different ways people interact, the different ways people engage with God and worship, and not falling into the trap of needing to recreate what might only be appropriate in one country or place. I find this analysis so interesting and I am learning to look deeper and see people’s hearts.
I have been so blessed by people’s hospitality and friendliness, and how much they love my English accent. I got a cuddle with a very cute baby and the parents were adamant that I speak to him so that he would pick up my accent. Someone joked that they wanted me to record my recitation of the alphabet!
Yesterday afternoon it was so warm after a lovely lunch with friends and we ended up having ice cream in the hot sun! As my family and friends at home are back in snow I was definitely enjoying the warm and feeling a tad smug!
I am learning a lot on this trip, both about myself, other people, and more about God’s incredible faithfulness. Sending love and prayers to you all.