Over the years we have tried with patchy success to create a habit of frequently asking ourselves whether the things we are doing make sense and if it seems like 'God is in it?'
We hope to avoid getting trapped into routines or habits without truly examining what we're doing. We desire to be purposeful about the choices we make. It is helpful to examine ourselves to assure that our motivations and attitudes are pure.
For Troy and I it is important to step back and look at what stress or fatigue is causing in us and in our reactions to things.If we are driving around and going about our days with an undercurrent of anger or an attitude of superiority toward people we're here to love and work with then we don't really belong here. Those of us living here can think of a few crotchety old missionaries that are mean and negative and angry toward this country and all of us can easily become that crotchety old missionary if we're not careful.
In the last several months we've had an epiphany of sorts. We've discovered that most of us that are here in Haiti working with "the poor" can and do unwittingly find ourselves in a bit of a distressing position of superiority. It is not a position we knowingly choose nor is it what we want. It just kind of happens when we stop paying attention to our heart attitudes.
We don’t know very much, but we do know that Jesus calls us to become incarnate. In order to live that way we need to see ourselves as we really are.
We are the poor and needy. We are the afflicted.
When I see myself in the women Heartline is serving, when I see my own manipulation and excuses, my own poverty, my own pride - I am suddenly able to serve and work together with the women with an attitude of humility and grace rather than superiority and judgment. It is the difference between serving from a position of eminence and authority in a top-down sort of way, to serving like Jesus served with a meek 'power under' approach.
The only way to remain genuinely humble when doing this work is to be perpetually aware that we too are the afflicted ones. There is vulnerability in that, but it is a necessary thing.We are every bit as miserable; our passports and perceived wealth simply mean our misery is better disguised.
Jesus calls us to stop trusting in our own capacity to do good or make change. If we trust in His ability rather than our own we'll avoid acting superior. God is made manifest in our ability to recognize that we have nothing to offer apart from Him and that we are every bit as much in need of love, healing, and restoration as the people with whom we work.
...Pray for all of us to entirely give up believing in ourselves and our own abilities. Pray for healing, freedom, and restoration for every. single. afflicted. inhabitant of this little island and this big world.
photo credit: ellen joy photography