Have you ever felt like you are barely holding on…
“I know I have!”
Over the past 13 years of living in the Arab world, there have definitely been times where I have been in survival mode. Times when life just seemed to be out of control. I wasn’t worried about thriving! I just wanted to survive.
I don’t think we have been called to survive! I believe we are called to thrive.
“So how is that possible?”
Here are 5 tips to help you thrive
Whether you are currently in survival mode or thriving, here are 5 key activities that can keep you pressing on as a “thriver”.
1. Abide – Are you hooked in?
The first one may seem like a cliche, however, this is vital. You need to be hooked into the vine! Jesus is “the true vine.” He is the only one who can give you life and sustenance. I found a great acrostic on the live-dead.org website:
The key to abiding is setting aside your best time with Jesus.
When we get into the survival mode, most of us begin to give Jesus the leftovers. Sometimes, when I am feeling in that rocky place, I put on my headphones and retreat to a time of worship with the Lord. I have found that worship begins to bring my vision back into focus. Be thou my vision…
2. Language Language Language
Another key step to thriving is to spend time learning the language. Communication is so vital.
If you don’t start to learn the language, you will feel cut off and isolated from your local host culture.
Even just learning a few simple phrases and practicing them in your neighborhood will begin to allow you to break into the community. So many of the people that I have met who are not thriving lack the local language.
3. Enjoy the culture – Look for the good!
One thing that we try to do as a family is to look for parts of the culture that we can embrace. We look for the fun that is around us. It can be very easy to joke that there is nothing fun to do in your host culture, but if you take some time, I am sure you can find something.
In one of the countries where I lived, I used to love to go out to eat at the local barbecue joints. These were not fancy restaurants! We are talking about holes in the wall. Another thing I loved to do was to visit the public baths with my friends. Does that sounds strange? Maybe…but we had a lot of fun.
You may have a beach nearby! What about sporting events? Maybe even learning to cook?
Remember, your kids will take your lead!
So if you can enjoy your new home, your kids will find plenty of fun too.
4. Pray for your community
Another very helpful step in the process of thriving is to take time to pray for your community.
We have found that as you pray for your friends, neighbors, community and government, you begin to develop more of a heart for the country.
Last year we learned of an excellent idea.
We set aside time on the first day of the week to specifically pray for our nation.
We pray for our friends! We pray for our neighbors. As a team, we have seen our hearts soften towards our nation. We get excited with one another as we hear of what God is doing. Are you praying for your nation?
5. Practice Thankfulness
A few years agin, my wife read the book, “A Thousands Gifts.” One of the concepts in the book is to list the things you are thankful for. She started writing down all of the amazing gifts that the Lord had blessed her with. Not only did she do it, she also encouraged one of her local friends to start making a list.
Thankfulness fans the ember of joy into flame.
If you are in a place of survival, I would encourage you to start making a list of all the ways that you have been blessed. Begin to praise the Lord for his goodness! I believe you will begin to see your eyes move from the waves to the Savior.
You are not alone.
If you are in a place of survival, we’d love to pray for you. Please send us a prayer request today!