strong and courageous

One morning last week Stacey and I made our way into a sleepy little plaza for surveys. I found an empty park bench, set my purse down to pull out my surveys and pens and briefly collect myself before getting started. It’s the dead of summer here and the sweltering heat had me sporting shorts and a tank top for the day. Per our usual routine, Stacey and I said a quick prayer asking for participants and safety and if you feel so inclined, God, maybe even a little breeze. And as Stacey said amen and I echoed, a pidgeon in a tree above me took a massive dump on my shoulder. ON MY BARE SHOULDER. Stacey had tissues in her purse and helped me wipe most of it off (what are friends for?) and I promptly trekked the four blocks to McDonalds to wash off in their public restroom and it was back to work after that.

We’ll let this story be an indicator of the work these days. A day in the glamorous life of a Journeyman. Not to say that my life here is totally crappy, har har. But confessedly, I’m just tired in recent weeks. Maybe it’s the heat. Maybe I’m just in a little bit of a rut. All I know is I haven’t had energy for much else when I get done surveying each day. It’s embarrassing to admit because I’m a missionary and I’m supposed to be enthusiastic about all of this all the time, right? But I have to confess my prayers have been a little sparser as of late and bordering on whiny too.
And then on Monday I went to a bible study in Recoleta and we talked about Joshua 1, after Moses has died and Joshua and the Israelites need encouragement.
 Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.  This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord  your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:7-9 NASB)
And it was good and as I took notes on it, my notebook opened to a page from a year ago when I’d taken notes on the exact same passage when Marcus talked about it at BCM. I chuckled, closed my notebook and forgot about it.
But then that night when I got home I noticed someone had posted Joshua 1:9 as their facebook status. And the next morning another person tweeted it. My friend Megan pinned it on Pinterest. And then another friend blogged about it that day.
And it took that last one, the SIXTH time seeing that passage in a 24 hour time span, for me to finally stop and say “Okay, what’s up, God?”
I’ve still got a year left in Buenos Aires and life isn’t really presenting me with a huge test of faith heading my way. So what’s up with all the “strong and courageous” talk? What is there to even be strong and courageous about? Currently I don’t really feel afraid of anything . . ?
If you’ve ever read any other blog entry of mine, you know I love a good metaphor. I love it when God reveals his truth to me in the everyday, mundane little situations we take for granted. Like dancing or walking or a tree. But sometimes when I’m not on my game, when I’m not paying attention like I should, God has to be a little more blunt with me. And maybe the crux of the matter isn’t so hidden in this verse. Maybe there isn’t a huge test heading my way in the near future. Maybe I just need strength and courage to get out of bed tomorrow and the next day and the day after that.
Maybe strength and courage isn’t always the big leap, maybe it’s the single step.
Maybe it’s the discipline to press on and stay engaged when you’re tired, to open the bible when you don’t feel like it, or to keep working when birds poop on you.
Traveling and going to new places is glamorous and exciting. But eventually the newness wears off and life settles in and routines happen and that’s when courage looks different. Be strong and courageous today.
Stay consistent. Stay engaged. Stay awake.

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