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Being Kind Is Tiring

01/23/2010

One of the unexpected realities of living in Phayao for 4 months has been the level of fatigue I have felt. I have felt it physically, emotionally and spiritually. There are numerous reasons for this, but Chris Fikes and I recently had a conversation about one cause that has surprised us. This was our reflection.

Phayao is a fairly small town. We run into the same people all the time. And being one of about 15 Westerners (including our team) who lives here, I am easily noticed and remembered. Thus, when I make a quick run to the grocery store or go around town finding the best price for a bathtub, I am keenly aware that my attitude and behavior is being noted. Therefore, since I am supposed to be representing Jesus among people who know very little about the way of Jesus, I am also keenly aware of how my attitude and behavior will impact our ability to form communities of faith here. If I am mean, or short, or even just indifferent, what will that be communicating about us Christian folk? So, I always feel the pressure to “be on my best behavior.”

What I have realized is that always trying (and I stress the word “trying”) to behave in a manner that reflects the ways of Jesus is very tiring. Thus, I am tired most of the time here.

The real problem with all this is that it implies that I have lived most of my life fairly unconcerned about how I am portraying myself, as a follower of Jesus and fellow human, to “people out there.” I did not feel this type of fatigue when I lived in Abilene because the people in the Bueno drive-thru (man, I could go for a Mexi dips n’ chips right about now) or the United checkout line were inconsequential to me. I did try my best to not be mean, but avoiding bad behavior is not the same as pursuing loving behavior. I could “check out” when I ran errands because that encounter wasn’t going to have any real effect anyways, was it?. (We have even noticed this when we would take a trip to Chiang Mai. We would subconsciously “let our guard down” because people there did not matter.) Thus, I am not well conditioned at being purposeful in every encounter I have here. So, I am tired.

But, of course, the important, and sad, realization with all this is that it took “being a missionary” to start being intentional about how I treat people I encounter. Shouldn’t the fact that the guy at the bathtub store and the girl in the Bueno drive-thru are fellow humans be reason enough to treat them with the utmost respect and love?

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7 comments

  1. Wow- I can’t even imagine how tired you all are. You are amazing in all that you do! Maybe that was a part of the plan to not only minister there but to the rest of us here too. I know that I will take this and truly think about my actions here and try to be the example that I should be. You’re right, what’s the difference? We should all be ministering to the millions here that don’t know Jesus.
    Again, thank you for all that you do! I love you so much!


  2. Deep thoughts Jack Handy. I recently noticed the same effect on my driving ever since I got my ACU license plate covers on…I don’t ever want to get pulled over for suspected car theft because the way I drive might cause someone to believe I’m not a Christian.

    I hope you guys get some rest soon. I think you’re a “good tired,” though. Love you!


  3. Derran,

    I am the pulpit minister where Russell Franz serves as the youth minister and he turned me on to your article after a lesson I preached on Sunday. You expressed so very well the thought behind my series entitled, “Love in the Local Chruch” especially the part about being “INTENTIONAL”. I would like to quote you and even insert some of your article in my next bulleti, of course with your permission. God bless yor work.


  4. This may be the most insightful yet.
    I am most appreciative for your willingness to
    be open and honest, allowing me to grow from your
    experiences.
    Love you
    Mom


  5. This explains so much of why I am tired all the time.


  6. Well, it is good news that you are no longer the jerk we all know & love. The people down at Taco Bueno will be pleased to know that your ill behaviour is a thing of the past. Just kidding. Darren, you are a model for even us older types. Bless you, brother.
    CC


  7. Beautiful video! Bless you and your family for seiradpng the word of God & carrying out his work. New blog follower here & I cant wait to read you future posts 🙂



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