I knew then the trip was changing my life, and it’s an odd feeling to be aware of such a change as it’s happening to you. But what I didn’t expect is the lasting impact it’s having on me. I find myself often thinking of Ecuador: the kids dancing at Colinas del Norte, Pastora Ruth singing to us after VBS, school kids racing to hug us.
I’ve struggled lately with being happy with all that I have when I know the people in Ecuador have so little. I nearly had a nervous break down Christmas shopping, because I felt like I was slapping God in the face by buying stuff that makes me happy but doesn’t feed or clothe me. Why should I have all these wonderful things (and that’s what they are – just things) when people in Ecuador face poverty with potentially no way out of it?
My head knows that God doesn’t want me to feel guilty. My head knows that God wants me to know his compassion and then share it with others. My head knows that God sent me on that trip to show me how his plan continues on in the face of impossible obstacles.
But my heart tells me I’m wasteful, shallow, selfish.
And, well, I am wasteful. I am shallow. I am selfish. And I may be a few more adjectives I’d rather not share. But I’m thankful that I love and follow a god that put me on a path (or plane?) to overcome those bad traits.
Because of God, because of Ecuador, I know…
- …the world is unfair, but we don’t need the world. We only need God.
- …at times I will doubt that all I need is God.
- …my family is financially blessed. And that’s a good thing because it allows us to help others.
- …church family is crucial to survival and growing in faith.
- …God’s always there, even if I can’t see him through the muck of my own self centeredness.
- …I’ll never understand why some people suffer and some don’t. And it’s OK to be sad about it. But it’s not OK to wallow. I have to get out there and do something about it!
So no more guilt. Instead I’ll focus on love. God loves me so that I can love others. Guilt is just another ploy for me to focus on me, but love forces me to look outside of myself. Guilt is inward, but love is shared. Guilt is stifling, but love is action.