I Wasn’t Expecting That

Avan ou monte bwa, gade si ou ka desann li.

Have you ever said, “I wasn’t expecting that!”

Wouldn’t it be great to always know what was ahead? To be able to fully plan and prepare for everything that is coming around the corner? Maybe you are one of those people who love unpredictability ad spontaneity. NOT ME. I want to know so that I won’t be caught off guard.

In my 3 years living in Haiti I have found myself completely unprepared in so many ways. It has been silly things like not knowing the public ferry doesn’t run on Good Friday but does operate on Easter Sunday.

I wasn’t expecting that. I guess that weekend trip away won’t happen.

It has been in uncomfortable ways with staff when I don’t fully understand the culture. When I ask about their day. Start with, “How are you?” and then proceed to, “How is your family?” Those questions are warmly received and given in return. But when asked, “What did you do today?” It turns out the worker is insulted and thinks I am implying they did no work.

I wasn’t expecting that. It takes a translator to fully smooth out the misunderstanding.

There’s a Haitian proverb that says, “Avan ou monte bwa, gade si ou ka desann li.” We translate it in English to, “Before you climb a tree, look to see if you can climb down.” In other words, “Make sure you know what you’re getting into.”

There are so many examples where because I am more cautious by nature, I want to know a new program will succeed before I initiate anything. Or I want to do all of the research I can before I attempt something new. I have felt inadequate in so many circumstances. I have felt the sting of failure. This is where the Haitian proverb and my human nature can paralyze me. This is where fear can creep in. What if I climb the tree, but then can’t get down?

And this is where God is meeting me. I have been trying to live by false security. I think if I know what is ahead of me and I can plan for it, I won’t be caught off guard. The bottom won’t fall out from under me.

Psalm 46:1-3 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”

When I soak in that truth, I feel freedom to fail. I feel freedom to try. The anxiety goes. Because God is with me. He is my strength. And hard and bad things will happen. But God is ever-present.

So, I will keep climbing those trees even if I don’t know I can get down. I know who is with me.

How about you? What gives you security? Knowing what’s ahead or something else?

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