The “honeymoon stage,” as we call it, has worn off. It’s been a month now, and life is becoming, well, real life. I still like Khon Kaen and I still enjoy life here, but it’s not all new and glorious anymore. And the first bout of homesickness has swept in.
In coming here, I made many large leaps. It’s a big jump from being a student to being an employee and working hours. It’s a big jump from being a violin performer and student to a violin teacher. It’s a big jump from living at home/in the dorm to living independently and needing to shop for food, cook my own meals, pay for utilities, and budget my own money. And of course, it’s a big jump from being in the United States to being in a completely new country with new people, culture, and language. These are multiple stress factors which, I’ve realized, probably contribute to my homesickness.
Homesickness aside, I’m learning many life lessons. And one lesson I have learned recently is that it is crucial to take time for myself. As not only a teacher but also a missionary, I have many classes and responsibilities which take up time. In addition to those responsibilities, it takes time to do simple house duties such as cleaning, cooking, shopping, and doing laundry. I began to feel as though I did not have time to recharge and relax or do things I enjoyed, because every spare moment seemed to be spent surviving.
But the things I want to do should take lesser priority, right? Because I’m here to serve God, and serving God takes self-denial. I should be using my time for the service of God and others because that means I’m putting God first. Right?
Yes, to a certain extent.
I realized that when I tried to juggle all these responsibilities plus handle the stress of the big leaps I made without recharging mentally and emotionally, I was burning out. It was completely unhealthy – although I was exercising/drinking water/sleeping/eating well, in terms of mental/social/emotional health, I was not healthy. Thus when I tried to pick up my work and responsibilities for God each day, I had no motivation and no energy left to do it all.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe 100% that God gives us strength when we need it. But it doesn’t make sense ask for supernatural power to undo something that is within your own natural power to fix.
So I communicated with the music school’s administration about lessening my duties, and I began to opt out on other events/commitments such as choir and campout. They are all good things. But if I try to do everything, I won’t succeed in anything.
So now I’ve begun to have more time to spend by myself, to talk to my family and close friends at home, to experiment in the kitchen, to explore the city, and to process things. I’m much happier and my ability to function has definitely increased.
It’s not because I’m selfish, lazy, or too soft. It’s not because I’m here to serve myself. On the contrary, it’s because I’m here to serve GOD. And I want to be in the best position possible to serve Him. I want to give Him the best of what I’m capable. I take time for myself because it enables me to serve Him better.
I hope you gleaned something from my personal lesson that you will be able to apply to your life too. Again, I appreciate your prayers and your support, and I know that God is still planning to teach me some cool things in the future. Stay posted!