“You’re going to get to know these people.”
|Typical day riding the metro (subway) in Sevilla.|
This single thought pierced my mind one winter afternoon as I was riding the metro in Sevilla, Spain, listening to music on my Zune. That day was over two and a half years ago but I still remember it as if it was yesterday. Truthfully, that thought startled me a little. I knew it was from God, but what did God mean by that? My next thoughts were: “Oh, no, am I going to start witnessing to the Spanish people on the streets?” and “Or does ‘get to know’ mean I’m going to become a missionary and sacrifice a bunch of things just to live here?” Needless to say I was confused in that moment. And while I put to rest those thoughts of worry and doubt, little did I know that it would take me nearly a month from that day to start to see the meaning behind that prophecy, if you will.
When I first left for my semester in Spain and got settled in at my new host family’s house, I thought that I would be traveling almost every weekend and certainly during every long break. Well, God had other plans for me. Plans that didn’t involve so much travel by plane, train or bus but instead by my feet. And in the same city or nearby it. What I mean by this is that God had people for me to meet during my four short months there in Sevilla. Yes, I did do quite a bit of traveling for someone who took the majority of her classes there in Spanish, but I didn’t do as much as other students. That’s okay. 🙂 A study abroad semester is what you make of it…and as long as you are content at the semester’s end, then there’s no reason to compare your experience to someone else’s. Boy, was that a tough pill to swallow at the time, though. I met many wonderful new Spanish friends while I was living in Sevilla. I was even invited out to dinner with one friend and her family and I have since cherished that special time. I just talked with this particular friend through Skype. She is so sweet and always makes me laugh. I do hope to have many more dinners and hangout time with her in person whether that is back in Spain or in the US. Since we both have a thirst for traveling and adventure, only time will tell where we see each other next. 🙂
I learned a lot about making comparisons this past weekend at a CCW Girls’ Retreat in St. Augustine. One of the most important things I learned was the importance and value of each individual Christian’s testimony. You shouldn’t wish to have a harder or easier life, but rather ask God to give you the strength to endure the one you are given. The effectiveness of your testimony, no matter how unfair or difficult life seems at the time, will not be as powerful if it didn’t play out in a certain way. In a sense, a lot of Christians who have ‘boring testimonies’ actually have powerful testimonies in disguise. Not every testimony has to be radical in the traditional sense, I learned, and Christianity needs this type of testimony just as much as it needs the radical types. Actions speak louder than words don’t they?
As I look back on my own life and testimony, particularly when I lived in Spain, I find this to be true. I still haven’t quite figured out why I had to be the girl who lived with one of the craziest, kindest Spanish women in all of Spain, the one who was late a few times for dinner, the one whose English started to go downhill in the middle of the semester, the one who embarrassed herself in public a couple times and the one who seemed to stay out the latest of all the girls living in Manoli’s house at the time. Maybe I’ll come across the reason when I’m single or later on down the road when I’m married. I am not sure. However, I do remember handling all of those tricky situations with grace. Not once did I lose my temper or complain. I often times laughed at the irony of the situation or at my own silliness. And other times, I just continued to work hard to maintain my English skills while at the same time doing my best to assimilate to Spanish culture.
So, if you’re like me and have a seemingly ‘boring, predictable testimony (or life),’ think about who is watching you on a daily basis. Co-workers, classmates, family, friends, strangers…anyone who sees you at your best and your worst.
Let your actions simply send a message to the world that you are different.