The delightful Bree asked earlier today what we were hoping to achieve in our writing this year and I wrote something rather vague like
I don’t know how to sum up what I plan for my writing this year. I guess I’ll just keep exploring what it means to follow Jesus and be the best person I can be in very different contexts in the world. How do you engage with such different cultures and remain essentially the same?
Bree replied with
Maybe you don’t.
That’s not exactly what I meant, but it made me think about things. As I am prone to do.
I didn’t mean that I need to remain the same in all contexts. Obviously I don’t need to be the same wherever I go. It is right for me to change depending on what is good and best, but there is a difference between changing how I behave and speak, and changing who I am.
Context is everything.
I know that I have grown and changed over the years. I am more self aware and more in control of what I do and say. I still have lots to learn and lots to do (don’t we all), and it has been a significant experience of working through these ideas in a new and different culture. I am not only working within a different western culture, but also a new island culture. I have to work out how to function within two new cultures whilst still remaining essentially myself.
This has been an enormous challenge at times.
Those who know me know that I am one to speak my mind, and not doing so at times has been challenging. Part of my identity is my strong mind and my desire for rigorous conversation. I love to discuss ideas and engage vibrantly in political and social ideas. I realise this is not something that everyone loves to do, but it is hard when others speak in a manner that offends my intellect and I am unable to defend my ideas.
Actually, I am not unable to defend my ideas.
I choose not to defend my ideas because I think it would damage my fledgling relationships.
I hate doing that. I really do.
I want to be kind.
I want to be generous.
I want to be caring.
I want others to interact with me and leave knowing that I care about them.
I want to be confident and strong.
I want to know who I am, be ok with who I am, and have others know that I am ok with who I am.
I want to know my own mind and speak it.
I want my confidence to give others permission to be confident in themselves.
I want to know my limitations and be ok with them.
I want to be constantly aware of the grace and forgiveness I have been given, and let that awareness drive me to extend the same grace and forgiveness to others.
I want to be quick to assume the best in others.
I want to be more patient.
I want to be more like Jesus.
There is a lifetime of work to be done.