When I lived in Africa (the longest three years of my life!), my biggest struggle was the why.
Why was I born white, in a rich country, with more privileges and luxuries than I could possibly consume? I didn’t even come from a wealthy or even a middle-class family. My mom was single and struggled with schizophrenia my whole life; I was in and out of foster homes. When I was with her, we went to the food bank almost every week.
And yet, compared to 95% of people in Africa, I had a rich rich rich childhood.
My recent trip to Haiti didn’t give me the same struggle. Haiti is the poorest country in the world – and the most voodoo and black magic-oriented. Haiti has fewer resources than most countries in Africa. Haiti is the poorest of the poor. Even the rats are starving in Haiti. My heart breaks for all God’s people and creatures in that country.
But I’m not wracked with guilt anymore. My stint in Africa 12 was years ago, and I did trust God back then. But I allowed doubt, insecurity, and self-hatred to infect me. I saw rats and injustice and unfairness, and I allowed them all to chew their way into my heart.
Now, I believe that not only does God have a reason for allowing my life to unfold as it is (infertility, childlessness, ulcerative colitis, and more)…He knows what He is doing. I have no idea why He lets life unfold and rats roam the way they do, but He knows. And He cares.
Seeing RATS…and Blossoming Anyway
The older I get, the happier I am to trust and accept.
It doesn’t seem fair that people in Haiti and Africa struggle to find one small portion of rice and beans a day, live without power or running water or toilet paper, and use floor mats as table cloths because the mats are too belle (beautiful) to step on. It’s not fair that rats are part of everyday life for some people.
But now when I say “Rats!” because I literally see them in Haiti, in Africa, and even here in Vancouver, BC…what I really mean is RATS: Reckless Abandon, Total Surrender.
I trust, and I listen.
What is the Still Small Voice Saying to You?
I know you’re struggling with something. Your “rats” might be unhealthy relationships, mundane boring tasks of everyday life, or serious health issues. Maybe you want to make a change in your life, but you can’t because you tell yourself you’re too old, too tired, too fat.
The trick is balancing two different types of rats:
- The rats you want to be free from because they’re spreading disease and vermin; and
- The RATS (reckless abandon, total surrender) you want to embrace because even though you don’t understand…you know this is the way it’s meant to be right now.
Maybe you’re not listening to the still small voice because you’re allowing yourself to be distracted by the shiny objects of Facebook, individually packaged 100-calorie bags of chocolate covered low-fat pretzels, the Bachelor. Maybe you’re ignoring the rats in your life because you’re so used to seeing them that you don’t even notice them anymore.
So how do you balance RATS (Reckless Abandon, Total Surrender) with listening to the still small voice?
Feel free to share your ideas with me. I really want to know! But even better, share your thoughts with God. Journal about the rats in your life and what RATS means to you.
And, as always, Blossom.
On Blossom This Week
10 Reasons Breaking Up is Hard to Do – for my readers who ask me why leaving an unhealthy relationship is so hard.
5 Best Ways to Get Relationship Advice – because I don’t believe in giving advice. I barely know what’s best for me, much less what’s best for you!
What Introverts Need to Know About Going On Mission Trips – for introverted missionaries. Or anyone with introverted personality traits who spends a lot of time with people.
How to Write Better – Make a Heart Map – for all of us who want to write more deeply, meaningfully, and openly.
Past Blossom Newsletters
May you experience RATS! Reckless Abandon, Total Surrender to the things you can’t change…and may you be filled with wisdom, faith, and courage to change the things you can.