Monday, May 26, 2014

True Friends

"What is 'syg' an abbreviation for at the end of her text?" I asked my teacher, reading aloud a text message from a Papuan friend that I didn't completely understand.

It's hard enough to work out the straight Indonesian words, but can you imagine trying to figure out text message abbreviations? Yeah, that's a whole other thing.

"It means 'honey'. It's something women use for their true friend." he responded and I couldn't control the sudden eruption of joy.

I threw my hands in the air and gave out the most satisfied, "Yes!" of my life.

Amused, my teacher smiled and commented, "That makes you really happy, huh?"

"So much! I always wonder if the friends I am making here really like me, or if they are just being polite to the foreign lady. I always wonder if I am really making true friendships."

It was all joy overflowing for the rest of the day. Even now, thinking about my Papuan friend who I very much enjoy spending time with and realising she also genuinely enjoys my company, it's beyond meaningful to me.

I used to struggle hardcore with rejection. Fearful of not being accepted, even to the point of walking by a group of laughing people and concluding that they must be laughing at me. I constantly wondered what people really thought of me and mostly determined I was not all that likeable, fun or interesting.

Then I met Jesus and read His words about me. I began to understand that my identity lies in Christ and to trust Him even with my personality. I am the way that I am by design, not by some failure. As these truths rooted deep within my heart the fear of rejection largely became a thing of the past.

Then I came to Papua. Navigating a culture very different than my own and trying to make friends with limited language, that old fear of rejection came creeping back.

As I sat in class, beaming from ear to ear, I realised I'd given way to a fear long since conquered.

The truth is, my identity as a loved and cherished child of God doesn't change with my location. It doesn't change just because I dont understand the cultural cues around me. It never changes.

I breath easy again. Feet once more planted firmly on the unshakeable rock of Christ's love for me. Secure in the knowledge that this love that heals and sets my heart at peace, exists not just for me, but for the whole world.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

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