Learning to function in a place that had frequent power outages was a challenge. As a couple, we managed to work around the inconvenience without much difficulty. But when the babies came, it was quite a different story!
We couldn’t wait until we were down to the last clean whatever, to do laundry. Inevitably, the power would go out, meaning we would also be without water! On our campus, we had a cistern for water that involved an electric pump. When the electricity went out, we had no more water! So we tended to keep a bucket of water handy in each bathroom for an extra flush or whatever hand water or tooth brushing water was needed.
Comparing to others who have it harder is not a good way to cope
Compared to missionaries in many parts of the world, our life was cushy for sure, but when you are living, you don’t compare yourself to people in other parts of the world, do you? You think about the way you are used to living and tend to get irritated when life isn’t going the way you are used to. You get irritated when you can’t get the laundry done, or the pile of diapers is sitting there with only one or two clean ones left and the power just went out after being out much of the day before! Getting things done according to a decent plan was not always easy!
It seemed that the outages went in spurts. Just about the time we would get used to no outages, we would get a batch of outages. For people who like to have routine <like me> it was disconcerting. During rainy season, even more so!
Our first year or so, we didn’t have a dryer. During rainy season, it usually rained each afternoon…mornings tended to be sunny. So we had to get laundry done then, especially when diapers needed to get dried before the rain came!
While it is true we had a maid some days, a topic for a different post, we couldn’t always plan our electricity for the days she was there! Living life according to a well-planned schedule was something I had to learn to be very flexible about…or I would have been miserable, irritable and a huge pain to be around while I lived there.
Learning to find positive ways to cope took time and a touch of wisdom
I adjusted by having a more modular idea in my head or on paper for my scheduling. Remember, we didn’t have any of the devices we have now! I often had a list of things that had to be done. If the electricity went out, our stove was gas, I had things I could do on the list that could be done without electricity. But I also learned as I lived there to do what Jamaicans often did…take time to chill!
I have to decide. Is GOD truly sovereign over these events like whether the power is on or off? Over whether I get to do my laundry when I planned to? Over whether I get to bake the things I planned for the company we have coming tonight? Then I will have to relax that He will be sovereign over the big events of my life as well and not chafe.
No, of course I wasn’t always mellow and calm. It is so not in my nature! But over time, I did learn to take these challenges with more calmness and less drama and irritation than at first. That was truly an encouraging sign of GOD’s work in me. It wasn’t naturally a part of my DNA at all!
Time spent on irritation, resentment, bitterness over circumstances you can’t control is truly a waste!
Wasting time stomping around being irritated over the power being out is just that…a waste! The Texas phrase is “Don’t get your panties in a wad!” Do what you can do to work around the problem. Then take time to do something relaxing or fun…preferably with your kids! Make it a fun time for them. Read a book together, play a game.
Challenge: How have you learned to adjust to unexpected things that come into your life?
How do you see GOD’s hand in even the little things?
Don’t allow comparatively small events to sidetrack you into resentment, bitterness, anger, when they are not truly big events in the overall view of your life! More on this later.