The Only Problem Is Me
This is what I've realised time and time again. The biggest hurdle to my plans is me. Ok, mostly me. I'm not arrogant enough to claim powers I don't possess. For Example, borders opening timelines cannot be controlled by my thoughts. Positive or otherwise.
Not blogging consistently? That's 100% me.
At this point, I feel I cannot honestly call myself a blogger. Need to fix that.
So much for the few notorieties I have. Gotta stay true to it. C'mon me! Do better!!
But now, on to the reason for this post.
If you're like me and follow a good number of Christian authors and leaders, you've probably come across this term too: "BUT GOD". And this probably sounds like a cliche and the latest jargon or whatever, but humour me and read on as I tell you why this phrase is not just skin deep.
Pandemic hit us all, and since we all suffered equally in different ways, I'm not going to bore you with what hardships for us as a family were etc.
But the loss that we all commonly shared and were affected by, was the loss of time.
Everyone's timelines and plans were derailed by the shake of a hand.
And so for a while (2 years!) we all just did what it took to understand, avoid and survive the plague.
And then almost collectively we humans decided that we were done with just waiting and that we would just plough on and open up and do what it took to normalise.
Now the downside to this is that we're not satisfied with normalising. We don't just start the basics needed to survive and do well.
We start to dream again.
Meaning, that I wanted to go back to Thailand and get back on the timelines I had mapped out.
I really paid attention to all communications and decisions regarding borders opening and all the paperwork needed to get back and thus from about the beginning of 2021, every month was a conversation about how "in a couple of months we will probably not even be here".
I'm only telling you this to lay the grounds for you to understand our frame of mind and the resulting dejection built up with each passing month.
By October of course, we had given up expecting and there's the whole Christmas with friends and family and Church events to look forward to, so this conversation was firmly put on hold. In our minds too.
But January 2022 brought a new purpose to our hearts. My husband and I both individually felt that it was time to move again. This time it wasn't a desire born from desperation to fix lost time. It was a sure conviction which felt like it was God-approved.
And so after praying to confirm that we're really feeling this, we narrowed it down to coming back to Bangkok, or staying in India but moving out of Hyderabad. I told my friends and fam on the 1st of Feb that we know we have to go. We don't know where yet.
Bangkok felt like a decision coming from a place of again, finding closure and making up for lost years.
I kept thinking that surely we did’nt go through allll those ups and downs for a 7-month stint.
And pl. remember that when we moved in 2019, we had confirmation that this is what God wanted us to do. So the mind and heart kept coming back to this.
But since it could've been just mind and heart, we also kept ourselves open to maybe it was somewhere else in India.
So with a lot of thinking, we narrowed it down to either Mumbai or Goa, both of these being football coaching-driven decisions for my son.
My artist daughter is still in the "any geographic location permissible as long as there's a good supermarket and Wifi there" teen phase. This immensely helps:).
But as we kept thinking about it and about quality of life and ministry opportunities for the husband, it came down to a choice between Goa and Bangkok.
So I went back to my fam and friends (yes, that's a close-knit tribe that I cannot live without) and my thoughts and words were very clear.
" Ok guys. It's Feb 1st. We know we're going, but we don't know where yet. It's down to between these 2 locations. We're fasting and praying about this. God has told me He'll tell me where on the 28th. I'll tell you guys on 1st March."
It was pretty straight forward and it was a simple mandate. Pray and I'm going to tell you. I'm preparing this for you, just wait and watch.
So we prayed. Every chance we got. Every meal we could physically skip we did. And tried to listen.
And so the month is inching away. And please understand that we're not people who just pack conversations or thoughts away and then visit them when needed.
We love to chat about it as a family. We love to discuss the pros and cons.
But this time we just did not indulge. We really did not allow ourselves to make those lists, just so that we will not be swayed by our minds, and stay truly open.
I muted all Bangkok expat social media groups that I'm a part of because they were all about how impossible travel back was at that point. And I did not want to get discouraged by that.
I really struggled and did not allow myself to research apartments and football clubs in Goa, because I did not want to start dreaming about beachside living. Which, if you know me at all, you will know that I'm crazy about.
And we had heard that there was a huge upcoming Cabinet meeting in Thailand that is going to discuss opening to India again.
It's important to point out here, that there had been repatriate flights to and fro between Thailand and India once the pandemic had been figured out and evacuations and family reunions were a high priority across the world.
Since we were not stranded away from our family or being separated from loved ones, we did not qualify for those. And fair enough. People had genuine problems.
Me wishing I was in Bangkok was not one.
But that was not the case anymore.
Thailand and India had opened a few flights but with HUGE requirements and HUGE monetary commitments.
So in essence, it was still shut for us. We could not undertake this journey until those were lifted.
And this big meeting was supposed to lighten those restrictions and this was the only way Bangkok was going to be a green light.
This was a big factor in my February prayer and decision. Because as I prayed, if God opened doors, it meant I should push to go back again.
But if not, it meant Goa.
So the meeting finally happens around the weekend of 18/19th.
With dismal results. They're not planning to change anything and all the mandatory Quarantines and tests stay.
We're all sad but determined to keep watching the news for any more updates and go about our lives.
March 22nd I sit my husband down and discuss the pros and cons with him.
The calculator comes out, and we see that there's no way financially that we can push to go back and since this meeting that was supposed to help hasn't changed anything, it was back to the drawing board.
And on that night, let me say this again: THERE WAS NO WAY POSSIBLE WE COULD AFFORD coming back or jumping the hoops.
This conversation was beginning to feel like a repeat of 2021 when we kept telling ourselves that maybe we'll go soon. Maybe the next meeting will yield better results.
But this time the difference was that God had surely told us that we were leaving soon.
So the endless pattern of a foreign government making politically driven decisions was not going to factor in my waiting or moving decisions anymore.
So I convinced myself that this was it. The sign. Goa it is.
I told my kids. I told my friends, and I told my fam.
We all patted ourselves and embarked on Operation Plan B.
Shortlisted houses. Shortlisted Football Clubs.
Booked an Airbnb for the first 15 days to give us time to search.
Discussed how to keep shuttling up and down for work.
Discussed who will take what boxes and how of course the dog will be happy to drive down.
And my husband did say that we should keep pushing for Bangkok.
And I showed the calculations again.
But we kept our prayers up. Because I knew it was just the beginning. I needed all the supernatural guidance and help I could get!
And how my conscience pricked me.
Till I sat my husband down again and burst out crying because I kept feeling that God had told me 28th and so how did I not pray it out till then.
So my saintly patient husband called the kids in again and we all decided to stop and pray till the appointed time.
There were no more meetings planned.
There were no scheduled financial changes to my accounts.
These are International borders and Foreign Policies.
The week between the 22nd and 28th, there were 3 major policy changes in Thailand, and the calculator threw up numbers I couldn't believe.
The expenses were coming in at half of what they did the week before. Half!!
So God gave me my answer.
1st of March, I told the gang our decision.
4th of April we came back to Thailand.
You know that thing I said before about wanting to make up for the lost years?
That's not just a human desire. It's more than that. It's God's promise. And has always been to His people.
Sometimes it's literally the same dream picked up again.
Or sometimes it's something different but just as blessed for your life.
Can I blow your mind away with another bit?
When we left Bangkok, we had left behind a beautiful house, in a beautiful community with trees and lakes with fish and people walking dogs.
And I missed that home. For 2 years we all talked about how much fun that house was.
This time, I stay on a different side of town from the last time.
God gave me a house in literally the same community, by the same property developers, so it has the same trees, the same kind of lakes with fish and people who walk their cute dogs.
Oh! And it's just on the side of town I need to be at.
This is a brag about God!
I truly believe that had we got stuck in what we could see and not stayed open for God to show us what He could do, we would've seen plan B.
And God being God, He would've met me at my place of incorrect decisions and helped me in spite of me.
And please understand that Goa would not have been a setback for me. It's where I'm the happiest version of myself, I always say.
But nothing like the thrill of getting it right. Knowing I didn't disobey or I didn't distrust.
Now I truly do not know how long we're here for. We feel that we're still fluid in the long run.
But for now, for this season, for this purposed time, we have been asked to obey and revisit the original plan. So we are. Even at some cost of husband having to shuttle back and forth for work, there is Peace. And there will be outcomes.
We'll just watch and stay excited.
The journey of paperwork and minor hurdles is another blog post and if I behave myself, it will be up soon.
Someone hold me to it!
So now, go back and read the title of this blog post, but edit- read it:
'The Only Problem Is Me, But God...'