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.
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.