The Comforts of Home
Part of the process of moving to a completely new place is establishing a new normal; a new home and new routines. The question when you're living cross-culturally is how much comfort do you sacrifice in order to assimilate, and how much of your cultural norms do you maintain, in order to feel at-home.
Eddie and I have been remarking how it's the little things we miss about our American/Canadian lifestyle. Things like drinking tap water, picking up fast food through a drive-through, prepackaged salads and meals aren't life-changing non-negotiables, but if we had them, we'd be comforted by their familiarity.
The house we're living in is a year-long rental. It's big and comfortable by Belizean standards and we feel blessed to have it for our family's re-introduction to Belize. Looking ahead to establishing a home of our own brings up questions of square footage, acreage, the level of finishings etc. These details are constantly being put on the scale of comfort vs conformity. We want our home to be welcoming, not ostentatious. We are committed to continuing to live a generous, hospitable, debt-free lifestyle.
Even as we are in the throes of house hunting, we know that the creature comforts we miss don't offer lasting comfort. They stroke our egos or comfort our flesh, but they are just conveniences after all.
In John 14, Jesus tells his disciples about the place His Father has prepared for them in heaven. For many people, particularly those who have lived a painful life, this promise is what gets them through the hard times. But further down in that chapter, Jesus promises an even better comfort than the hope of heaven:
John 14:16 (KJV) says, "And I will pray to the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;"
More than images of castles in the sky, this is what brings comfort to the here and now. The Comforter, God's Holy Spirit, is available to bring counsel, peace, joy in every circumstance. He, not family heirlooms or new technology, is the essential ingredient to making our life here a home.
If you have never experienced the comforting presence of God's Spirit in your life, it's available to you today. I honestly can't explain the inner peace it brings, or predict what His presence may do in your life, but I guarantee that it's real and its worth the risk.
The journey of knowing God starts with a realization and confession that, try as we might, we fail. We aren't perfect; we disappoint and hurt people, we manipulate or lie to protect ourselves...we are human, not God. From there, we ask God to forgive all the things we've done that have fallen short of His perfection and ask Him to take over our lives, sending His Spirit as comforter. This begins a fresh start to a new you.
If you have taken this step or have questions about it, please reach out to me privately via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I pray that you would experience the life and comfort of the Spirit in your life as well.