After living in Indonesia off and on over the last 18 years, I was surprised this summer to find that I was suffering from culture shock. Just three and a half weeks in the States was enough for me to get used to wide roads with orderly traffic, lovely grocery stores bursting with clean and colorful produce, time with family, and of course, the plentiful options of food!
Upon returning to Indonesia, the lack of order, the crazy way people drive, and the narrow, crowded streets began to grate on my nerves in ways it hadn’t for a long time. After several weeks of unusual frustration, I finally diagnosed myself with “culture shock.”
It reared its ugly head again one morning as I was trying to make three simple color copies on white cardstock paper. At the first copy shop I went to I was told, “Our color copier is broken.” At the next copy shop, the color copier worked fine, but they were out of white cardstock. I started to feel the frustration burning its way up my chest as what I assumed would be a simple task was turning out to be complex and time consuming.
I begrudgingly backtracked to the first copy shop to purchase white cardstock. As I was trudging to the second shop again, it suddenly dawned on me that I had a choice in how I handled this situation. “Lord,” I prayed sincerely, “What do You want me to learn right now?” I felt Him whisper back to me, “Patience, my child.” I sighed deeply. “Okay, Lord, teach me patience.” And as I submitted myself to His leading, my frustrations began to melt away.
Driving home in the car, God reminded me that He had already given me everything I need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). His grace was enough for me to walk through culture shock—again.
Memory cards used with permission from LifeWay Christian Resources.