Monday, March 21, 2011

Learning and Discerning

In my last blog, I shared my struggle with burn-out and anxiety. For the first time since I came to India, these past 2 months I was plagued with deep questioning of whether I want to serve long-term here anymore. As I look back over the past year I see an incredible journey of both pain and growth. I am glad to say, since I last wrote, that I have recovered from burn-out and am now entering a time of discernment with the Servants team. At the beginning of this month, the rest of the team returned from 2 months out of country renewing their visa's. So now I am officially "the Intern" and using this time with them to discern if I want to live and serve in India for the next 3 years on their team.

I know Servant's vision is right where my heart is at; it's all about transformation of poor communities through building relationships with neighbors and utilizing the skill, knowledge, and efforts of local people's to create change. It's about empowering local communities to see the issues and unite over them. It's about daily living out the love of God in their context, by becoming a good neighbor before anything else. It's about solidarity before discovering solutions. It's about respecting the culture and language by taking the time to learn both of them from neighbors, affirming they are the one's with the important knowledge and skills to offer. It's about moving slow together and not fast alone. It's about not overwhelming the community with western skills, knowledge, or money lest they loose sight of their ability to enact the change for themselves. It's about being prayerful and living prophetically in a time consumed with "me". It's about humility and respect. Creativity and celebration. Rest and grace.

All of these things resonate with my heart. It's what I hope for in an organization. But even though our ideals and values match, I don't want to assume that I want to live these out in an Indian context. This past year has allowed me to learn so many things about myself- particularly that I have made many of the choices in my last 5 years subconsciously out of what I think I "should do" so that God will love me. But perhaps the most important thing I am learning in India is that God already does love me. And for the first time in my life I am learning that the question to ask when I enter into a new commitment is not "what should I do? " or "what would a radical follower of Christ do?" but actually "What is Melissa Dorman good at, and enjoy, and find life-giving for her and the world around her?" Because ultimately there is a loving God who created me uniquely to do those things, even if they do not mirror the life of Mother Theresa. Which is fine because I'm also learning that the best person I can aspire to become is actually me.