We’ve been in Chicago for a week of orientation and we will soon depart for our countries of service. We have been having challenging conversations about our fears and hopes for our year of service, about racism and privilege, about what God’s mission in the world is, etc… It has been an incredible, exhausting, exhilarating and overwhelming week. We have had the honor of having previous YAGM volunteers here to converse with, which has been an incredible resource for me.
Something that I’ve been beginning to work through this week has been feeling “not good enough”. (Pardon my grammar as I try to articulate what I’ve been thinking)… I’ve been feeling I’m not a good enough Spanish speaker, that I don’t have good enough teaching skills and that I won’t be resilient enough for my year of service in Mexico. I know that a lot of these feelings stem from my people-pleasing nature, my tendency to be a perfectionist and my fear of disappointing my host community.
But when I step back from my feelings, I realize that I’m putting so many things “in a box” when I do this… what I mean by this is that I am hijacking control and assuming I am an authority on how things will happen, how people will behave, and what my experience will and will not be like. I’m putting my host community in a box, neglecting to entertain the possibility that they will be incredibly gracious, forgiving and patient with me as I navigate my new role and try my best to communicate, to teach and to be a friend. I’m putting God in a box, assuming that God won’t be active and at work. I’m putting the YAGM staff and my country coordinator in a box, doubting their wisdom and thoughtfulness in this placement process. Instead of limiting and doubting and assuming, I need to be actively practicing trust. I need to trust myself, trust the process, trust the journey, trust my host family and host community, trust my country coordinator, trust in God’s mystery and God’s promises and trust my YAGM Mexico cohort as we all navigate the bumps of this exciting, thrilling and promising journey together. I don’t want to suggest that this experience will be riddled with rainbows and unicorns and all things easy and comfortable… Quite the opposite, actually! I hope that my experience is challenging and uncomfortable at times, because I believe in the opportunity and growth that can stem from those moments of tension and expect that these moments are the exact ones that will produce and provoke change and an expand my understanding of who God is, what my role is and what’s important in life.
So as I continue to take steps of trust and faith on this journey, my hope is that I can hold tightly to my role in this process: to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God.
“But God’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously.” – Micah 6:8 MSG
Logistical update: I’m writing from Chicago where I will spend 2 more days in orientation before heading off to Mexico City to begin 3 more weeks of orientation!
Scared and doing it anyways (thank you Tabby, for sharing this awesome motto),