Friday, October 9, 2015
23 Days Left - Lessons I've Learned as an Expat
Fear of Judgement
Each time I move to a new post, I start all over again. New country, new apartment, new job, new friends, new school for the kids, new church, new Bible study... (You get the picture!) I step off the plane and absolutely nobody knows me.
In some ways this is refreshing--I'll get to that another day--but there are aspects that are frightening. I find that I have a constant mental battle going on of "What do people think of me?" These aren't the people that know me and will forgive a bad hair day and worse. Every time I step out the door, I wonder how I am presenting myself. Questions constantly run through my mind. "Am I dressed appropriately?" "Why did I just say that? It was sooo inappropriate." "How come I'm not smarter about that topic?" "Am I being a good employee?" I am constantly worried about how people are judging me because I long to be accepted. I hate the idea that I may be at a post and be an outsider or never have friends.
Being a Christian adds another layer onto that fear. It comes out pretty quickly that I'm conservative, go to church or my values are different. I try to blend in, but I'm just out of the loop on a lot of things. As people begin to pick-up on this, I begin to worry that I'll spend my days alone because I'm just too conservative.
Jesus has a bit to say about this. Basically, I' shouldn't be surprised. I am different. I'm set apart. I will have difficult times. Fortunately, most people still accept those who are conservative and even respect others who believe in something and pursue a life that exemplifies their convictions. The world is looking for genuine. I won't be accepted into every situation, but my consistency and solid belief will speak volumes. At the end of the day, no matter how worried I am about being judged and not accepted, I must have peace that I acted in a way honoring to Jesus--even if it means I stand alone.