Invest Where You Are

Hi. It been a long time. I’ve come to this blank page multiple times, always planning to write a new post, but words have failed me. It’s been almost four months since I’ve left Taiwan, but it feels like years. I miss Taiwan. I miss what was “normal.” I miss my friends. I miss my students. I miss teaching. I miss church. I miss the struggle of using Chinese. I miss the convenient transportation. I miss bubble tea.

Now, I’m trying to adjust to this new “normal” in the United States. In almost four months, I’ve lived in three different states and I’m about to move to another state. I haven’t really settled down since Taiwan. Things have been kind of up in the air since then. I don’t know how long I’ll be in any place right now. Everything is very temporary.

I’m tired. So tired. I have ideas and dreams, but I have no thoughts onto how I’ll attain them. I don’t even know if any of these things are things that I should be pursuing. Where should I be? What should I be doing now? These questions cross my mind all the time. There’s this overwhelming pressure to just DO something, anything, but I find myself doing nothing.

Then I was brought back to my word of the year. Invest. Investing is probably one of the hardest things to do right now, but it’s probably now one of the most important things to do now. With COVID-19 that puts so many restrictions on what were “normal” activities and with my living situation being very temporary, making commitments and investing is hard.

Community is what we all need, especially now. As a Christian, it is even more important. We all need to invest where we are and find community. God has put each of us where we are for a reason, for a purpose. Sure, how we invest and make community will look different for each person, but that doesn’t make it any less necessary.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

-Hebrews 10:24-25

I love these verses. Don’t we all want a community like that? One where people love one another and encourage each other? One where people can reply upon each other in time of need? That’s the kind of community that we could all use no matter where we are in life.

So that’s where I’ll start. I don’t know where I’m headed or what God has planned. I feel so very lost sometimes, but thank God that he is capable of using a broken mess like me. I don’t have to know everything, but I am capable of investing in the people around me. I am capable of building community.

Personally, it’s extremely hard for me to be present. I’m always looking towards the future. And I’m not saying it’s bad to look towards the future, in fact, it’s good to look ahead. But it’s also so important to be present. And no one should be looking so much towards the future that they miss the present, that they’re not really “there” to the people around them.

In this time of transition after transition, that’s what I’m going to work on. And I hope that this encourages you, wherever you are in your community building, to continue investing. No human being is perfect, but it’s encouraging to know that God continues to invest in us despite that. What an example we have to follow.

Hoping to lighten your burden,

Gabi

So This is the New Normal

time just flies by and now it is april. time is like sand. i try to hold on it, but it keeps slipping between my fingers.

things have changed a lot in the last few months. i know. it’s on everyone’s minds lately. the virus. the coronavirus. or COVID-19. whatever name you put to it, you can’t go a day without hearing about it (much less a few hours).

an unknown virus has changed life as we know it. everyone has been effected, whether in big or small ways. we can hope that things will go back to “normal” soon, but for now this is the new normal.

unfortunately, so many people are struggling in this time. we have people working in the medical field or working for the government or working in the food industry. there are more, like all the first responders out there. i could go on.

these people are essentially risking their lives day in and day out, some more than others. either way, there is always a possibility, always a chance that they could come into contact with the virus. they still work though, because they are needed and necessary.

then there are all the people without jobs. people who are trying to figure out how long they can survive like this. how will they take care of their families? their relatives? themselves? no one knows when things will get better. everything is up in the air.

but while many struggles are visible, there are some struggles that go unseen. those who have mental health problems. for many people, they now have to practice social distancing. they have to stay at home. if they go out, it’s only for necessities or the occasional walk…by themselves. for those who struggle mentally, i can’t even begin to understand what they are going through.

(thankfully, here in taiwan we have yet to practice social distancing. we are just trying not to travel a lot or associate with too many different people. and we’re always wearing masks and washing our hands.)

and lets not forget all the plans that were cancelled. weddings, graduations, birthday parties, and more. some of these were monumental events that people only experience once, but the virus changed that.

people are stressed. worried. anxious. the list goes on. and what is God’s purpose in all of this? i’ve been asking myself that a lot lately. and honestly, i’m not sure that i’ll ever know, not until i see God. that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t use this time for good.

there’s a lot of fear in the world right now. people are scared. while they have no hope, we, as Christians, do. we have hope. we may be scared, but we can act despite the fear. we know there is someone who is greater than this virus and he is in control. even if we can’t see him, he is with us. we may not know his plan, but we know that he is good.

“i pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

-romans 15:13

in this dark time, let’s be that light to others. send a text to that friend that you haven’t heard from in awhile. call up that person you’ve been meaning to talk to. it can be something as simple as that. you don’t know fully what people are struggling with. you never know when something as simple as a message saying “i care. i see you.” may make all the difference in his/her life.

Christ poured out his love for us. we can definitely take the time to show that love to others. small acts of kindness really do make all the difference.

and i hope that when things do go back to “normal,” that we, as a people, won’t. we will be changed. i hope that we learn something from this time. that we appreciate the small things. that we don’t take for granted the time we have with our families and friends.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi

what have you been doing during this hectic time? what have you learned or taken away from this time?