“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58
“It was easier but not better.”
I have a note on my phone where I have recently started keeping quotes (when I remember). A couple of them are from movies, one is a quote about math said by Galileo, and the above quote I added just a week ago. I was at a meeting where our Scholarship Program Director, Benard, was sharing some of the history of Amazima – what the organization has learned over the last 12 years, where mistakes were made, areas they have worked to improve, etc. Benard was sharing about a time when Amazima was doing things much differently than they are now. The way they were operating was a much easier way to manage, but it was ultimately not the best way to promote sustainability and empower the people in the community where they serve. This came just two days after I sat in church and listened to the pastor discuss the life of Joseph, where the theme of the message was, “There are no shortcuts to God’s best plan for your life.”
God often speaks to me through repetition. Probably because I’m too dense to get it the first time. So when I heard within two days the same theme of, “Quit trying to take the easy way out,” I knew He was telling me I needed to ask myself a difficult question:
Where in my life am I trying or tempted to take a shortcut instead of putting in the work God is asking me to do?
I don’t know about you, but I did not want to answer that honestly. I would have been much happier ignoring it and continuing to search for shortcuts in the name of efficiency. And if I am being 100% truthful, there are several areas of my life where I am doing this. However, there is a fine line between vulnerability and asking everyone who reads this to take me on for counseling, so rather than burden you with all of my problems, I’ll just share the one God has put on my heart.
When I started praying through that challenging question, I started thinking about my upcoming trip Stateside over Christmas break. I have been feeling anxious about needing to raise support again, this time for an indefinite period of time as I don’t know how long God has me here in Uganda. I started thinking about my family and friends back in the States and how much easier it would be if I went back and got a job teaching again, had a regular and reliable income, and could be more present in the lives of my niece and nephew.
As I spent time wrestling with this, I also surveyed the life God has given me here in Uganda – the sweet friendships I have made and continue to make, the incredible students and families I get to both serve and serve with, the beauty (okay, and frustration) that comes with knowing that my day will almost certainly not go as I expect, the lessons I continue to learn from the amazing people with whom I do life – and I remember that, while things might certainly be more convenient if I went back to the States, I would be missing out on a beautiful part of God’s plan for my life right now.
I know that eventually my time in Uganda will come to an end. I am sure that when God calls me elsewhere, it won’t be the easy, convenient transition I romanticize when I am anxious about raising support or am missing my family. My prayer is, in that season and all other upcoming seasons of life, I will continue to remember that God calls us to do hard things, but oh, it is worth it.