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.

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