Friday, July 20, 2012

What Compels

My personality loves to think deeply.  I like to analyze.  To a fault probably, but it's who I am.  And I love seeing/understanding all sides to a situation. 

Which has me thinking as I sit here in what may become our future home in Belem, Brazil.  Bill and I decided several weeks back we needed to plan this trip to come down and investigate what we are getting ourselves into and meet with people in the area.  Smart guy.

I think life is like certain combinations.  For example, let's say that those who live by the beach fit into 3 different colors: yellow, blue, and green.  So people with purple, orange, and blue would not fit into the beach lifestyle and vice-versa.  Someone who had yellow, purple, and red could relate 1/3. 

You see where I am going with this.  As people, we have this combination in us that makes it easier or harder to live in certain place, relate to things or people.  There might even be layers of combinations.  Age would be another layer. 

We become who we are by our surroundings -includes all kinds of things, like culture- and personalities.  Throw in age and gender, maybe even physical or mental challenges and we tend to become comfortable with what we know (the color combination that makes us).

A person limited to only 3 colors their whole life will not adjust very well to other color combinations.  They'd rather not change.  Or better yet, maybe they are black and white.  They can't create other colors.  A person with yellow, blue and red can create green, purple, magenta, etc.  if they choose to.

I have the advantage of having been exposed to various color combinations when I was younger so I have an ability to recall that to the surface.    As I interact with the Brazilians on this trip, that's exactly what's happening. 

However, the reality of living in Belem has given me mixed emotions.  The place we are staying may become our home when we move.  It is very different than 1) where I have lived in the US for the last 22 years and 2) very different than my childhood homes of South Brazil.  The area is more underdeveloped.  It is normal to not have a yard, you don't put TP in the toilet (the plumping here is not designed for it), there seems to be no way to get rid of the sugar ants that take up residence along with you, and there are 3 layers of gates/ locks from house to street.

SO, as I sat here processing all this and deciding if I could live, really live, that way for several years, my little analytical mind almost made my mouth burst out in laughter as I tried to place other people who have the black and white personalities in my shoes.  It wouldn't happen. 

So what compels?  Can anyone adjust?  The short answer is yes.  It might take longer for some, but the key would be the one color that everyone receives when they become a Christian.  I have no idea what that color would be, maybe the magical color that can turn into anything depending on the situation.  The trick is learning how to work it.   And some choose not to.

That's what compels. 

One dictionary meaning of compel is : to force or drive, especially to a course of action.

I believe the best key to unlock the magical color we receive as Christians is love.  It will sustain the course of action we choose because it is done out of the right motive.  Most everything will fall apart because it comes from self. 

My biggest prayer as we continue working with this mission is that we will be compelled by love and God's Spirit. 

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us [AKA - that magical color],  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. "  Ephesians 3:20-21  Emphasis and addition mine.

Front of house (there's another gate outside the photo to left)

Front full view of house

View from house

View from kitchen

"Back yard"

We visited a botanical zoo that is close to the house.  HUGE water lily pads!
The reflected skyscraper made a neat photo too.

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