Over the many years we’ve been doing missions work, we’ve had the opportunity to travel quite a bit. On the surface, it may seem to be quite a glamorous life, but I can assure you, our hours spent in the economy section of the plane have never been trendy, glamorous or full of “new and improved” items.
You can never be sure of what you’ll find in the seat pocket in front of you: used toothpicks, used air sick bags, half-eaten rolls. All of which I have found in the seat pocket in front of me at one time or another.
I usually agonize before travel about what am I ever going to wear? I’m hopelessly out of the loop of what is new, what is trendy. Glamour is definitely not my forte.
My most memorable trip Stateside was when we flew back in 1993 for the birth of our son, Stephen. I had very few things to wear by the time we flew about a month before my due date (yes we cut it close). Our base in the USA is West Palm Beach, Florida. It is a posh part of the country. There, you will find the biggest names in fashion: Prada, Chanel, Lagerfeld, and more (I had to google search to get those names).
Announcing: The Misfit
I felt more than conspicuous as we disembarked. The air-conditioned concourse was filled with the rich and famous. My dress and very pregnant belly announced to all of South Florida that The Misfit had arrived.
These travels have given me the unique opportunity to catch up with what’s trendy and “new and improved.” I’ve also been made aware during those travels of how I am the least-trendy of those around me.
That being said, there are some very cool trends that I would love to follow. Ordering food online and having it delivered is possibly the best thing ever. I am not fond at all of grocery shopping anywhere in the world. In my part of Africa, it takes a full day (maybe more) to shop for a family. Open markets are the standard and it takes time to negotiate prices for all your purchases. Stateside, if I grocery shop, I find myself confused. There is too much of a variety; my eyes find it difficult to absorb it all.
New and Improved
The simplicity of Africa has spared me from the confusion of having to face the “new and improved.” I only want a tube of toothpaste when entering the store. What I don’t want to face is feeling I have to make a major life decision between brands and their sub-brands.
Have you ever considered the wide variety of toothpastes available? Besides all the various brands, there are choices that surpass my simple desire for something to clean my teeth. There’s fluoride toothpaste, whitening toothpaste, gum care toothpaste, total care toothpaste, all-natural toothpaste, charcoal toothpaste and more.
Social Jet Lag – Not So Trendy
There’s a medical term, “social jet lag” that refers to the condition of falling victim to erratic sleep patterns causing exhaustion and a litany of other symptoms. This definition hails from the jet lag one experiences when travelling across time zones (a condition that I am well-versed in). However, I have begun to see “social jet lag” in another light. I define it as “the condition one succumbs to when trying to keep up with all of society’s trends.” I’m not sure if my definition will reach the heights of the online masses, but when I try to keep up with all of the trends in society today, with the new and improved, I feel socially jet lagged!
I remember when all the rage was to keep your roots colored. Every 4-6 weeks women would flock to their local beautician to “get their roots done” so they wouldn’t have the dreaded line of “roots” showing. Fast-forward to a few years ago and the “ombre” look became all the rage. “Ombre” is having the longer parts of the hair colored a different color from the roots. Those of us who have been struggling to cover those roots for years became seriously confused. I still don’t know whether to color or not – am I in or am I out?
I remember when having a perm was all the rage – I sure hope it doesn’t come back any time soon. I was so relieved when I no longer had to perm my hair. Give me a hair straightener any day.
I remember when all the rage was to wear panty hose. They had many styles: sheer, control top, ultra-control top, sheer toe, reinforced toe, not to mention the rainbow of colors that were available. These were to be put on by rolling them up and beginning at the toe, you rolled it up over your legs up to your waist. Either the hose would pull up seemingly to your chin or hang uncomfortably near your knees.
Suddenly, after years of wearing hose, that often came in cool egg-shaped containers, someone decided it was time to throw them away. Women everywhere struggled to adjust (and shave their legs more regularly) and some, like me, rejoiced thinking that we would never have to wear hose ever again.
Until someone then invented leggings, jeggings, and skinny jeans. These are simply “new and improved” versions of pantyhose.
Now women everywhere who had been liberated from the form-altering panty hose flood stores looking for the newest legging, jegging, and skinny jeans.
Aren’t these items simply panty hose with no feet?
Social jet lag, I feel it. I can’t keep up. I can’t be relevant at the pace with which society dictates I keep up.
Thankfully, I’m no longer 25 for when I was 25 I worried far too much about what was in and what was out what people did and didn’t like. I’ve learned as time has passed that it’s impossible to please everyone. In fact, it is very difficult to please more than 1 or 2 people at a time, if even that many.
Not Popular Or Relevant
Besides my inability to keep up with the trends, I am a missionary. Why would I leave my children, grandchildren, extended family, friends and country? Simply because knowing Jesus made my life better. My days are filled with hope and an expectation for something better. I don’t have all the answers as to how this change came, but I know Him Who changed me and that is answer enough.
Don’t think for a second that I don’t feel the pain of being away from loved ones. I’m not sure I even fully understand this pull I have with my husband to work in Africa. I cry just like everyone else when saying goodbye; I miss my children and now grandchildren. This life is my burden, my cross, my sacrifice.
All of us, in different ways, have been called to serve. This call is not popular nor is it in any way relevant to society. The Gospel at its core confronts people with their need for a Savior, making it wildly unpopular.
The Drive For Approval
Paul, when preaching at Athens in Acts 17, studied the culture of the people (vs. 22,23) and appealed to them through using what he learned. Once he had their attention, he gave them the full download of truth from heaven. That included confronting the parts of their culture that went against Kingdom values. I wonder how well we would receive Paul’s message today in our approval-driven society.
The good news is that God doesn’t approve of us based on what we do or don’t do. His approval rests on how He sees us through the work of the cross of Jesus.
This life is too short to live for the trend of the moment. Rather, seize life for the adventure it is meant to be and live fully in the moments you have.
“We shall have all eternity in which to celebrate our victories, but we have only one swift hour before the sunset in which to win them.” Robert Moffat
A New Logo!
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