It’s been a month, America.
Really? A whole month?
There’s a piece of my heart that feels like I need to pack up my bags, jump on a plane and set off to the next country’s adventure.
But no. Well, at least not yet.
This month at home has been a bit of a whirlwind, starting out in New York, taking surprise trips to Atlanta and then, before I even really had time to miss anything too much, a World Race reunion with my very best friends from the past year.
I’ve sat countless times trying to write something about this year. I’ve tapped pens on journals until the noise was unbearable. I stared at my computer screen blankly trying to will the words off of my fingertips.
And none of it made sense to me, because inside every story of every person I met over the course of this year was bubbling up inside of me, waiting to be released. Every moment of awe, every feeling of purpose, every piece of joy discovered in the most unexpected corners of the earth – they have all been tucked away cozily in a corner of my heart.
My brain cannot reconcile my past village life with my present suburban one. It cannot make sense of my past experience of teaching English in coffee shops while it tries to weigh present graduate school options. I get messages from my Thai babies asking “yes or no, come back Thailand?” and I can’t convince myself that any of the part-time jobs I’m applying for will ever be as rewarding as the time I spent with them.
A year ago when I was getting ready to launch, I had no idea.
I had no idea how quickly I could fall in love with a place. I had no idea how effortlessly I could get comfortable in a place without understanding more than a smile. I had no idea how easily someone could grab my hand and steal my heart.
(photo credit: Lindy Hickman)
I had no idea that I’d come home and forget how to fall in love with a place I’ve known before. I had no idea that sleeping in a bed with A/C in America would be harder most nights than sleeping on a concrete floor with a cow outside my window in Swaziland. I had no idea that running through the streets of my own neighborhood would feel more foreign than exploring markets across 3 other continents.
I think when we Racers leave to begin this grand journey, we have this idea of changing the world. We’re ready to take the love and the message of Jesus to the nations, no matter what that looks like. We’re ready to pray big prayers and see God move and to live simply in total dependence on those prayers and God’s movement.
That’s not a bad thing.
But I think we forget (or at least I guess I did) how much this thing changes us. Not because it’s the World Race, or because it’s some ultimate “mission experience.” It sets you up to encounter God in a way that you never have before because it sets you up to encounter the world in a way that you never have before.
Never did I think that I’d ever live in the places that I’ve lived this past year, or eat the things I ate, or do the things I did. In my mind it was impossible for an elephant to walk up to my front door, or to stand in the places where the early church once met, or to be responsible for a classroom of 11 year old Thai children who want to learn English. I never pictured myself cruising through Ho Chi Minh on the back of a motorbike, and I definitely never saw myself fitting everything I’d need for a year in a backpack.
This year was a series of impossible events if it were not for Jesus, and I’m beginning to learn that that’s an outlook I need to adopt for life back at home, too.
Because maybe I’m not holding orphans anymore, and maybe I’m not sleeping on concrete floors – maybe I’m not riding through rice fields seeing the greatest expanse of stars I’ve ever seen, but it doesn’t mean I’ve left the mission field. It doesn’t mean God’s not still up to something.
It doesn’t mean there’s not some impossible thing that He’s about to make possible.
Originally posted at chelseymurphree.theworldrace.org. More stories from my journey can be found there if you’re interested!