Acceptance and then achievement

My feet feel like someone is pushing knives through them as I try to stumble up the stairs in my half-asleep state to comfort my daughter in the middle of the night. As I climb back into bed my feet are still aching and I know it will be a long while before I can fall asleep again.

I’ve been struggling with pain in my feet and hands for months now and I’m waiting for our next furlough to be able to have more tests done. Some days my capacity to continue work and ministry and activity outside our home is very decreased. Trips to the supermarket or mall are often a nightmare as I hobble along on painful feet. Opening a jar to cook dinner leaves me in tears as my hands scream in pain.

At times the pain and fatigue have left me frustrated and feeling angry and depressed. It leaves we wondering what the point of living cross culturally is when I can’t do my ministry? Why am I here in Central Asia when I’m not making a difference in peoples’ lives the way I want to? Some days I can’t treat the kids in our disability project or roll around on the floor with kids at our school anymore (I literally do a lot of rolling and jumping and crawling because kids always try harder when they’ve watched me do something first!).

Some days I feel defeated and deflated. The worst part is having to say no to things I really enjoy doing because my body just can’t do it anymore.

With the helplessness has come the realisation that I’ve been depending on my works a lot. It’s great to have tear-jerking stories of all the families our disability project is helping for our newsletters. I like feeling worthwhile because of the difference I am making in somebody’s life. What I do outside of our home has given me worth and significance.

But I’m realising that this isn’t God’s plan for me.

Through my sickness God has stripped away my abilities and achievements and left me weak before Him.

During a recent retreat we were taught about the cycle of grace (Rest and Acceptance> sustainability> significance > achievement > back to acceptance). The cycle starts at a place of rest where we know we are accepted not because of what we do, but because of who we are – people created and loved by God. Then the cycle continues into sustainability, significance and then achievement. The cycle of grace says that we can achieve things because we start from a place of acceptance and rest.

If we go the other way around in the cycle (achievement> significance> sustainability> rest and acceptance >) i.e. if we start with our achievements which give us significance and then sustainability and then we feel acceptance, we’re in the cycle of grief. Strong words, but so true.

Psalm 23 is a wonderful illustration of God leading us from a place of rest and acceptance because we are His. It says: “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.” (ESV)

Despite my sickness, God has confirmed to our family in countless small (and large) ways that Central Asia is where He continues to call us and keep us. This is where He wants me to continue to serve and be a blessing. My acceptance by God comes from who I am, not from what I do or even where I live. Through suffering with my painful joints God is teaching me to depend and rely on Him for everything – even just getting out of bed some mornings. I still want to be productive – although some days that looks like sitting in front of my computer more than being active with kids. My significance, however, needs to come from a place of acceptance of who I am as God’s child, loved and cherished by Him, and not from what I’ve achieved at the end of the day.

It’s a lesson He continues to teach me.

Beth is from the global South, and she loves the ocean and cold Christmas dinner on a hot day around the pool. She is married to an adventurer, and they have three wonderfully unique children.

Share this Resource

Leave a Reply

You might also like:

Business opportunity Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleIf you are talented in business and have a heart for the unreached, we’re looking for you! After being introduced to the culture and learning a local language you can set up a business in your area of expertise.

The type of business could be in agriculture, consulting, import & export, small manufacture, cafe and many other opportunities.... what business are YOU in?

Full Details
Anti-trafficking Intervention and Awareness Officers Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleIf you have a heart for women under sexual exploitation this is a fun and varied opportunity to get involved in the fight against human trafficking in Central Asia. You could be working to support and meet the immediate needs of those under exploitation or to spread awareness of human trafficking and God's heart to end it.
Full Details
Sports Ministry Assistant Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleCome assist in our established sports ministry! Build on our existing program based on methods used around the world.  If you love sports and would like to use that platform to introduce people to Jesus, then this is an opportunity for you!
Full Details
Church Planter Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAs a member of this church planting team you will have the opportunity to join our teammates in ushering people into the family of God.  It will be your job to attend meetings, meet with seekers and new Believers one-on-one, encourage the local pastors, and to take part in expanding this already growing ministry.
Full Details
Accountant Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAs an accountant on the mission field with OM, you will use your financial management skills toward the purpose of seeing vibrant communities of Jesus followers established among the least reached. This important role is vital to ministry on the field. As an accountant in OM, you would provide accountability for the cash transactions conducted on the field and perform duties to assist with accounting functions pertaining to bank accounts, budgets, journal entries, financial reporting and administrative changes, guided by precedent and guidelines of established polices. Participation in local ministry and team life may also be aspects of your role.
Full Details
Health Care Worker Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleWhat is good health? Usually we think of physical symptoms, but being healthy also includes the social, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of life. We want to see people living in wholeness in each of these areas.

Are you the kind of health worker who wants to see people getting better on both aspects: physical and spiritual, by teaching basic health lessons? Willing to work among communities that are filled with animistic and folk Islamic health beliefs?  Then please keep on reading.

Full Details
Engineer / Technical Consultant Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleDo you have a heart for energy, engineering, business, or IT? Do you want to use these skills to reach people and have eternal impact on Central Asians? We are looking for technical professionals who want to use their heads and hands to serve the people, mostly men. Get involved, be part of our international team and make a difference in the lives of the people in our area!
Full Details
Occupational Therapist/Physiotherapist Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleTo help and treat patients with physical problems caused by accident, illness, or aging and to be a light for the Kingdom of God as you do so.
Full Details
Short-Term Outreach Coordinator Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleWe are looking for someone with good organizational and communication skills and a passion for reaching unreached peoples to oversee our short-term outreach department.
You would be working with a multicultural team, based in a large city.  As this is not a full-time role you would have plenty of opportunity for your own personal ministry alongside organizing the short-term outreaches.

Full Details
Physio Therapist / Occupational Therapist Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleChildren at risk… of what or from whom you may ask? Many of them are at risk of being abandoned to a cold institution away from their home, friends and family! Our main goal is to see children living in healthy families where they can reach their potential in all areas: social, physical mental and spiritual. This is done through therapy, training, and providing the needed resources.

We need Your help! Are you a physical or occupational therapist? Willing to work in rural settings?  Read on!

Full Details
Project Manager Assistant Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleWe are looking for someone who will assist the project manager for House of Hope and thereafter take over. This job entitles working with Admin such as, Monthly financial reports that come from our company as well as writing reports for Caleb and keeping stories/news/communication about the project.

We need someone who has a heart to work with women in crisis and their children. This requires visiting them in their homes and developing relationships.

Full Details
Student Outreach Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleStudy Russian or one of the Turkic languages at a university in Central Asia. Living and learning alongside local students, you’ll make new friends, practice your language, and experience a new culture. At the same time, you'll be investing in the lives of those around you, sensitively sharing your faith. Come and impact the next generation in this strategic corner of the world.
Full Details