People routinely say that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing repeatedly and expect a different outcome. Bill Murray personifies this well in the movie Groundhog Day. Here Bill's character wakes up and finds that his day has repeated itself. The next morning the same...and the same...and the same. The first half of the movie watches him attempt to avoid this monotony and break the cycle. The first half of the movie Bill Murray is insane and getting crazier. He's impatient, rash, manipulative and destructive. Bill Murray needed to grow in his character and all he was thinking about was how to escape his situation. After awhile he gave in, caught on, or whatever, and developed a number of skills as well as his character. Finally fate decided he'd achieved the character necessary to proceed with life. He gets the girl and the next morning he wakes up and everything is changed.
Sometimes we feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. We wake up with the anticipation that the day will get us closer to Spain. I think I could quite easily have gone insane, waking up with eagerness and anxiety, yet lacking patience. But thankfully we have community around us that has continued to remind me that this time is for development. We can develop skills and most importantly, character in our time of waiting. No longer do I do the same thing every day, expecting a different result. Rather I wake up with expectation and hope, but mostly with the fact that as I move closer to God in a variety of ways, that my character is growing. Little by little God reveals more about what is being set up in Spain, and especially what is growing in the foundation of our characters and spirituality.
One thing Bill Murray had was the ability to have time stopped. Day after day, the same day, he developed skills and knowledge and character. Once that day broke, he had his skills to carry with him and a developed character that to others looked like an overnight change. We do not have the luxury of stopping time (quick reference to Evie bringing her two fingers together in the TV show Out of this World). This means that we have our cultural pressures to avoid this holding pattern and patience period.
One thing we have that Bill Murray didn't have was a supportive international community of family and friends. Not only do we get to have our character's stretched, we are productive in life. We might feel the weight of inactivity (yet we are constantly busy) not being rewarded in titles or a salary, but thankfully our family does not see this as an issue and nor do our friends. It is very encouraging to maintain patience and continue in the calling we feel God has called us to.
That is another thing we have that Bill didn't, knowledge of our purpose. Ultimately our purpose is to draw closer to God. He will send us to Spain, we believe. The reality is, that sometimes God will divert His calling, or at least His revelation of His calling, drastically. Yet He expects radical obedience and ultimately He expects us to be ever-growing in our characters and spiritual life.
I was listening to "Hosanna" by Hillsong United this morning, sung in Spanish. What else can I do but praise God and thank Him for the life. My character again grows closer to Him and I'll continue doing the same thing - giving praise and thanksgiving - but not expect anything different. The constant approach to life will hopefully provide a constant result - growth of character.
For today, I am thankful of the opportunity to get to have a rooted community here in Chico. I am thankful that I've had the opportunity to develop skills while pouring into Latin America Mission and I'm most of all thankful that God has continued to impress upon me the importance of loving my wife and my daughter. They are my first and foremost ministry and I am actively involved in this career daily.