Training: Week Two—Stress and Rest

When I first came to training, I didn’t know what to expect. I have been pleasantly surprised. Each day gets better and better. I’m being stretched and challenged to grow both spiritually and emotionally. But more than anything, I love the amazing sense of community among my fellow missionaries. Although we have known one another only for a couple of weeks, there is camaraderie, fellowship, and loads of fun. It’s a joy to talk with people who are experiencing the same things that I am. My new friendships are a gift.

Playing with new friends at the Olympic Training Park
Playing with new friends at the Olympic Training Park

We spent most of last week talking about stress and rest. We were challenged to look deeply into how we handle stress and were encouraged to cultivate healthy ways to cope with stress. The life of a missionary (especially at first) is one of elevated stress. In my new life everything will be new; and although that is exciting, it is also stressful. For example, I will have to learn how to grocery shop, bank, and drive on the left side of the road. Grocery shopping, banking, and driving are things I can do in my sleep back home (well, maybe not drive)), but even the most mundane tasks will become stressors in my life as I have to relearn them. I need to be prepared, and awareness is the first step.

We also spent significant time on the need to practice Sabbath rest. I was reminded of what we talked about in my huddle group (small group) at church—scripture teaches us to work out of our rest. Ironically, before I said “yes” to God’s call to serve in South Africa, I used to have a healthy rhythm of work, rest, and play. But the past two years have been filled with preparations, and I fell out of that rhythm. I am determined to create a new rhythm of work, play, and rest that will fit my new cultural setting. Living a balanced lifestyle will make me a better team member, a more in-tuned daughter, sister, and friend, and a healthier child of God.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”Rest by the Lake

–Matthew 11:28-29, The Message

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5 thoughts on “Training: Week Two—Stress and Rest

  1. Marti

    You are so right about stress coming in unexpected ways, even with simple daily tasks. In fact, I think that’s where you will have the most stress. You expect the big things to be different, new, and exciting. The small stuff should be, well, just the small stuff. I remember when I first truly and deeply realized that my whole way of evaluating the “success” of a day had changed. I was serving as a missionary in a small village in Russia. It was 1995, a year of much change and post-Soviet era turmoil. I spent an entire day—AN ENTIRE DAY—looking for toilet paper in every store in the area. Store after store was all out of the precious commodity. I found a store that had a limited supply, and I bought 3 rolls. It was the first time I used the Russian words for “toilet paper” in a real sentence. It was the first time I had to use so many different bus lines in my “new home.” It was the first time I was glad to have toilet paper that looked and felt like newspaper. It was the first time I ever felt so very, very, very “successful.”

    1. Marti,
      Hi! Thank you so much for your insightful comment. I didn’t realize you were a missionary in Russia. So cool! Wow–I would have called that a successful day as well. It is amazing what we take for granted. I know that I will be stretched in this area in many different ways, as I learn to adapt to the new reality. I’ll keep you posted on how my definition of “success” transforms.

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