Recently I had some repairs done on my old car here in Thailand. One of the things I needed was some new tires but I also needed some alignment and suspension work. My mechanic would not be able to get to my suspension work, but I wanted to feel like I got something accomplished so I got four new tires put on with the goal of returning to my other mechanic to get the suspension work done the next day.
My tire guy tells me that I need to return to rebalance the tires once my suspension work is done. Long story short, I thought he had balanced the tires already and would only need to RE balance them after the suspension work was done. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. I know, I’m a moron.
Life took over and the kids needed to get to school and I never did return for the alignment and balance. Within about a week or so, my front two new tires were almost bald and I was desperately needing to make a trip to Laos. I returned to my tire guy, mad at him like he was the one who caused this problem, and he asked me why I didn’t return to get the balance and alignment. I realized then that he had never done either. There was no “Re” to be done. I had never even had it done in the first place.
I was in a hurry. Everything was lost in translation (or I heard what I wanted to hear). It was really my fault. And needless to say, I paid the price…again…and possibly put my family in a more dangerous situation.
So, what’s the point of all this?
Without balance and alignment in life we are destined to wear out and put ourselves in a dangerous position. This translates excellently into missionary life preparation. Here are some thoughts on how:
- There are seasons in life where you will have to work to take care of your family and build a solid foundation with them before you can go. If you neglect this season of primarily taking care of your family and bringing them along with you, you will be out of balance. Even once you are doing your work, you will have to make periodic adjustments to bring your family life back into balance.
- You may need to pay off some debt before you can start raising support for your missions work overseas. You may need to work on your budgeting skills and your faith for believing God for resources. If you fail to take care of this upfront, it could throw you off balance later.
- There are some heavy relationship and emotional issues that you have not dealt with in your life which may include unforgiveness and bitterness. You may need to take some time to work through some of these things first or you will find yourself out of balance.
- You have not been excellent and/or advancing in the job positions that you have had over the last few years, but think to yourself that if I could only do what’s in my heart to do then I would be excellent at it. This is not the case. Faithful in what is another man’s qualifies you for having your own. Faithfulness in the little things at your current position in life qualifies you for greater responsibility etc. If you don’t get this, make the changes, and grow in favor where you are right now, you will be out of balance.
- When we are out of alignment, to me it speaks of being lined up with the spiritual authorities that God has placed in your life to not only be a source of protection for you but also a source of favor. If you are not vitally connected to a local church where you are right now and in a proper relationship with your leadership there, then you are out of alignment. God places leaders in the Body as a check and balance kind of system. They are called to “watch over your souls as one who must give an account.” –
- Side note: Yes, God does move people sometimes for His purposes, but even if you are moved in the will of God, you must get “your new car” aligned and balanced again asap or you will have problems again. (PS: I used to sell cars and if you are changing cars every couple of years or less, you are paying for it!)
- When you are running from certain situations that God has placed in your life for your training and growth and choosing to do what you want to do simply because it is more comfortable, you are out of alignment and it will cost you later.
- If you are not following God in the area of his financial laws and principles and being faithful with what he has given you, it will throw you out of alignment and you will begin to notice that you are subtly veering off course and its harder to keep things moving in the right direction.
- Be sure you are aligning yourself with the right people who are fueling your passion, but not your delusions. You know the kind of friends who will tell you the truth, even when its the hard thing to do. These kind of friends are for you as a person and who understand the values that are drawing you to serve cross culturally. However they are not so impressed with you to not speak the truth to you- in love -when you need to hear it.
-There are just a few of the principles I have seen that I have had to deal with in my own life. None of us are immune. So as you prepare for missions work cross culturally be sure to check your balance and alignment before you head out on the open highway to somewhere like Laos! It’s for your own benefit.