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A World Racer adjusts to life back home

We started our first World Race team last year. It’s an intensive initiation experience where participants go around the world for a year with a backpack. How do they adjust when they return home? Laura Jacobs answers here: I think you are exactly right that many participants don’t retain God…
By Seth Barnes

We started our first World Race team last year. It’s an intensive initiation experience where participants go around the world for a year with a backpack. How do they adjust when they return home? Laura Jacobs answers here:


I think you are exactly right that many participants don’t retain God’s lessons
after returning home.

For me, the first few months home were very much a blur.
I’m very thankful for the “Re-Entry” Training that we received, because I
understood the process my body and spirit were going through to adjust to life.

I felt the tug to just return to ordinary life, to let go of what I had
experienced just so I could survive the transition. However, because of God’s
grace and understanding that Re-entry is only a season, I didn’t give up.

Instead, I spent a lot of time journaling. I’m really not a “journaler.”
I’ve never been able to keep a regular journal. But during the transition period,
I found it really helpful to write down the lessons God had given me. These are
the things that have changed how I do life at home.

The first, and maybe
the biggest, lesson was that I don’t have to have a title, a position, or a role
to be effective. Before World Race I was the founder and leader of a young adult
Bible Study. I met with the pastors at church and was a part of planning. I was
also an assistant director in our church’s drama ministry. At work, I was the
drug and alcohol program administrator and in charge of time and attendance. I
lived my life putting on roles and titles.

During World Race, I lost those. We
didn’t function with titles. We didn’t even designate who was in charge of what.
Instead, our team was a family. We all pitched in to do what needed to be done –
whether it was “our job” or not. This also flowed into ministry. I found myself
feeling disabled at first, because I didn’t know what was my responsibility.

Over
the 11 months, I learned to operate in my giftings and let the Holy Spirit
simply flow through me instead of worrying about what my title was. I believe it
was John Maxwell who said that leadership is not a title, it’s influence. That’s
become reality to me now. My identity is in who I am in Christ, not in my titles
and job descriptions. At home this means that I don’t seek after power and
definitions, but simply walk in confidence, doing what needs to be done as God
enables me – whether at home, work, or church.

The second lesson that
has implanted in my soul is the idea that my relationship with God is now a
radical lifestyle – not an 11-month trip that ended, but a way of thinking,
acting, and being. My spirit awoke during World Race and grasped hold of what
a surrendered, God-empowered lifestyle looks like. Not a ministry that happens
every Friday night at 7, but a never-ending existence.

So now, when I’m driving
down the road and see a homeless person struggling through life, I don’t wonder
how effective the local homeless ministry is. Instead, I pull over. Now, when new
friends begin to open up to me about the hurts in their life, I don’t call my
pastor to set up an appointment for them. Instead, I get on my knees with them.
World Race empowered me to live a lifestyle that reflects the Spirit who lives
inside of me.

The last lesson… or
change, I should say… that I will
mention (this would be a book if I wrote down all that changed!) is that God
opened doors for me to enter into the life He designed for me. He stripped away
what I had found my identity in by taking me from my job, my friends, and even
my country! Without those hindrances, He taught me who I am far beyond what I
do. He spent 11 months solidifying my identity solely in Him.

Then after coming
home, He set in front of me what He has designed. I have now joined staff with
AIM and am working in preparing, training, and discipling future World Racers.
At the same time, I (with my new husband) are being prepared, trained, and
discipled by the AIM family for our future ministry overseas. It’s a huge
difference to walk the path God has set before me instead of simply working in
the ordinary. I truly am wrecked for the ordinary.

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