Today, my team and I are resting at a house near the Mennonite church we attend, away from our host families and away from our new “normal.”

It’s a perfect time to bond more with my group. And yet, while I have the perfect opportunity to pour into others, I want to retreat away from everyone and take a nap.  If this was a one-time thing this wouldn’t be a problem, but I notice my tendency to retreat a lot here.

Oh my, how hard it is to be present.

To be honest, I never thought I had this problem. I thought that I was semi-decent at change and could adapt pretty easily. I realize now that it is not the case.

My desire to serve my teammates has gone down and my homesickness has increased since I’ve been here. My initiative regarding connecting with my family has been lacking. I’m having a hard time. I want to make these last couple of weeks count, but all I want to do right now is rest.

I don’t always feel like that, though. This past weekend, our group and our host families went together on a trip to the beach for the day. It was such a great time, and I felt so in awe of the scenery, the sunset, and God’s creation. I was craving more and was sad that we had to leave.

When I retreated at the beach, it was to spend time with the Lord and praise Him. When I rejoined again with the families, I felt present and alive.  Why can’t I do the same in day-to-day life here in Shiroles?

Because I haven’t been intentional with finding God in everything I see and do here. 

It’s easy when I see nature to praise God and be filled, but when I’m surrounded by people that I’m not fully comfortable with yet, I have a hard time. Yet, God’s most beautiful creation is the human being. And although we are all broken, we are all still God’s masterpieces, being worked on day-by-day.

Will I finally be able to focus on the work that’s being done in the lives of those around me and not their flaws? Will I finally be able to regard that progress, and not the lack of what I think as progress, as beautiful?

Once I see my host dad’s jokes, my host mom’s service, and my teammates’ progress as a beautiful way that God is displaying His glory and His character, I will then be in awe of Him and be present.

I desire to be where God is. If only I could remind myself to see how God is working through others in Shiroles, then I would want to be here. If I desire to see more of that change where I am at, the Lord will grant me the gift of being present.

God, show me how to praise You through the work You are doing in others, and in me. Let me desire to see progressing holiness in the people I am with.  Help me not retreat, but rather be present here and be thankful for all that You are doing. 

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