Confession #129: Life is Like a Moldy Loaf of Bread
The bread there is mediocre, but since I am not much of a baker I can’t complain…too much.
The bread is without preservatives. A plus to our health, I realize. This, however, means its shelf life is minimal. By the time we purchase the bread from the store we have at least two- three days tops- to finish the loaf before mold starts to overtake each slice.
At first we thought the heat may be a contributor, so we tried storing it in our refrigerator. But since our limited electricity only allows us 6-8 hours a day to run our fridge, it wasn’t much of a solution. The mold still came, sometimes even quicker.
So now our bread sits on the countertop, and it’s a daily race to see how quickly we can consume it before the mold- or the ants- take over.
Perhaps this metaphor is a stretch, but sometimes I feel as if life down here is like my quickly molding Croissant D’Or bread. In other words, if I’m not careful, I can quickly let the mold and ants take me over. And too often, I have not had what was needed to preserve me.
* * * * *
About a year after Hunter and I moved to Haiti, my heart turned as quickly as our bad bread. Like, bread of the worst kind- sour, moldy, and infected with all sorts of critters.
A lot of things were at play in contributing to my heart’s downfall. There is really no need to get into them…I’ve ranted and raved enough before. I’m still trying to move past many of such events/people/circumstances, forgiving them one by one.
Regardless, I let the bad, the dirty, and the evil around me seep into the pours of my heart- places which used to be filled by grace, love, patience, and a general optimistic outlook on life. I chose anger over peace, bitterness over forgiveness, fear over trust. And.It.Ate.Me.Alive.
We are told in Proverbs to guard our hearts for “everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4: 23). This ain’t a joke. I know because for a good year or so, I strayed from this wisdom, and I suffered for it.
But not only me. I think I also hurt a lot of people in the midst of my suffering. I took my problems and often threw them back at people. Possibly even you.
And so all excuses aside, I just want to confess today. I want to say I’m sorry. Sorry because I let my heart sit out on the countertop for too long and I didn’t guard it. Sorry for my angry words. Sorry for pointing the finger and casting blame. Sorry for being mean, not kind, and standoffish. Sorry for not being stronger.
* * * * *
When I lived the states my life was fairly easy and my problems were extremely minimal. Moving here, I didn’t know how to struggle well, mainly because I never had to before. I didn’t know what it really meant to have to persevere. I never had an enemy and my only experience with spiritual warfare was what I read in the Bible. In other words, my heart wasn’t prepared for life in Haiti.
I recently read this blog post about missionary burnout. It had a lot of great points, but one statistics she quoted threw me for a loop:
The statistics are scary: 80% of missionaries burn out and don’t finish their term. 46% of missionaries have been diagnosed with a psychological issue, and of those 87% are diagnosed with depression.
There are many dynamics to these numbers, I am sure. But the underlying truth is evident: If you are somewhere in the world working to advance the kingdom of God, Satan is going to try to pull you down. He is going to bring the mold, the ants, and the heat. He is going to try to make you feel alone and make you feel anger and resentment. He is going to try and prevent you from seeing the good so that the bad will make you feel too burdened to continue. He is going to tempt you beyond belief. And he will never stop….
Satan’s destructive ways were in abundance shortly after I moved to Haiti. My heart crumbled with every stab. I was made weak.
So what has changed?
One of my absolute favorite scriptures is from Psalms 51: 10-12. After a while, I got tired of my sick heart. It had contaminated my whole life and I needed a change. So I sang these words, everyday. And slowly but surely God restored in me what was previously broken.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
Or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
And grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Beautiful, isn’t it?
God is daily cleaning out my heart and renewing my spirit. He is teaching me to be joyful even when difficulties surround me. And He is daily giving me a willing spirit to sustain me.
How about you? Maybe you aren’t a “missionary” oversees per say, but I have a feeling many of you know and understand what I am talking about. All of our hearts are at risk. How do you preserve yours?