We moved to Papua New Guinea a little more than six weeks ago, and we’ve adapted fairly well to many of the big changes. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve begun to notice something. I find myself longing for insignificant things. A cold glass of fresh milk. Dryer-fluffed undershirts.
You hear it often that PNG is “the land of the unexpected.” To be honest, we’ve not yet felt that, because everything … absolutely everything … is so different than life in the US. Life here in PNG is as different as we expected it to be, and then some. In the year between being asked to come to PNG and actually arriving, we learned as much as we could about this adventure. Yet I believe there was no way to prepare ourselves completely. No one could help us understand fully what it would be like. It’s the epitome of “you have to see it to believe it.”
I’ve learned fairly well how to drive on the “other” side of the road, while sitting on the “other” side of the car and shifting gears with my left hand. (I only occasionally turn on the windshield wipers when I mean to use the turn signal!) The heat and humidity is still bothersome, but not as terribly miserable as it at first seemed. Boiling our drinking water has become second nature. Waking up to bright, hot sunlight poring through the bedroom windows at 6 o’clock in the morning is not so shocking anymore.
Now, as I go about my day, I notice little things that I miss. It’s now the little things that I long for. Those little things are the ones that distract me, that pull my focus away from living this experience. It occurred to me that it’s the same way in my spiritual walk.
I’ve tackled the “big” issues. I don’t struggle with murder, lust, lying, cheating, and the things on God’s “Top Ten” list that as a Christian we’re instructed to obey. But it’s the little things.
Sometimes I have a tendency to get angry at traffic. (Okay, my wife would say “Often!”) And I sometimes find myself eating more than I need. I’m not as good at personal Bible reading as I should be. These are little things that disappoint me. I think they’re little things that disappoint God too. They’re the little things that keep me from being all that God wants of me.
Next time I’m pulling on a scrunchy, air-dried undershirt, I’m going to remind myself to pray and ask God to help me, for that day, to be all He wants me to be.