Monday, December 2, 2013

"You, do YOU"

Cultures pervade our thought system so much. The more I am in another culture and meet folks from a wide spectrum of cultures the more I see how it shapes our thinking and actions. Being back in the States for the past 4 months has been more of a shock to me then I was expecting. What has been the hardest to come back in see is on particular pervading thought for my generation. It is summed up in a popular phrase "you, do you". Meaning don't let others tell you what to do and dictate your actions; you do what you want to do and are feeling. This is always said in the context of the search for contentment, joy and love; an affirmation in going after what you want to do more then anything.

At first I was like "ok. sure.. yeah seems alright" without much thought to it. But after a recent conversation with a new friend of mine I couldn't shake this phrase and how much it was starting to bother me.

Learning to live and work in another country can be life changing in itself; to do this in a disaster zone I am realizing is another story altogether. The experiences that I have lived through the past 2 and half years have reshaped my understanding of the world, God and changed my philosophy of life. It has made me realize how much a lie really the phrase "you, do you" is in our culture today.

Living in a pup tent for 5 months, clearing away debris, mudding out houses, figuring out meals for hundreds of people day after day, learning to shop and cook with the local items, make schedules for groups week after week, working on finances late into the night trying to figure out the kanji on receipts and what happen to the missing 20,000 yen($200 worth approx), learning to live with others and having different house mates in and out almost weekly, working with co-workers whose main language is not your own, leading teams from cultures from all over the world,  learning to share love across language boundaries, planning events, learning to live in a cold place, emailing, skyping with potential volunteers, teams and interns, taking the drivers' license test over and over again, learning to forgive daily and to love unconditionally.

These are few things that have taken that philosophy "you, do you" eaten it right up and spat it out. If I had done "me" I would have never stepped on that plane for Japan on May 18, 2011. If I had done "me" I would have never again gone up to Ishinomaki after my first trip up there a week after arriving in Japan. If I had done "me" I would have packed up and left after that initial first 2 weeks in Tokyo/Ishinomaki. The list goes on.

The ironic thing is that the more I learn to follow God and "do" His way the more contentment and deep joy I find. There is nothing special about what I did per say what is special about the whole thing is that My awesome God chose to have me experience those things so I could slowly start to see how much I need Him each and every moment. What is special is that He drew me into this incredible work that is happening and in this place that is called Ishinomaki, Japan. This work continues to humble me and show me how much really "you, do you" is a philosophy that will not satisfy my deepest longings.

Here are some verses that are shaping my life view. Jesus loved His father enough to die for us. That is a radical life changing philisophy:

Philippians 2:5-11

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death
        even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

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