Saturday, December 26, 2009

New Zealand Wrapup - Closing Thoughts

As my time in New Zealand wraps up, I’m in a reflective mood.
Here are some of my closing thoughts on my term in New Zealand:

1. I Grew A Lot Spiritually

There’s so much that, looking back, God was doing in my life to help prepare me for where I am today. I’ve learned how important discipline is to good spiritual health (as it is for good physical health, actually). I’ve learned that all you need is a little faith for God to do big things and begun to understand how truly amazing it is when you have faith during the darkest times. I’ve learned that God has prepared me for big things but it is naïve to think that it will just land in my lap.

To use an analogy, what separates the elite players in the NHL from the very good players is consistency. The best players consistently are their best and they get that way by working hard every day and staying disciplined in their habits. Similarly, the strongest Christian is the one that recognizes that, despite the highs and lows of life, God is unchanging and keeps their faith consistent. In this case spiritual discipline is needed in the form of consistent prayer, habitual reading of God’s word, and regular meetings with other believers.
2. I Made A Lot of Mistakes

I got a bunch of driving fines. A speeding ticket; a poor driving citation; I backed into another car in a parking lot. I overstepped my boundaries with my flatmates and let my frustrations out at the wrong times. I complained and persisted in pointless arguments. I was selfish.

But, like everything, these mistakes allowed me to learn about myself and my weaknesses and gave me the opportunity to change my behaviour, to be more aware when driving, to recognize and empathize with the feelings of others, to be respectful in the handling conflicts, to be genuine and patient when approaching argumentative situations…ultimately to recognize that I am far from perfect and to put others before myself.
3. I Feel More Driven Now

Every time I stepped out of my comfort zone, I figured out more about my limits and what I want for myself now and in the future. I feel like I’ve truly begun to embrace God’s plan to use my spiritual gifts and that it’s my role to prepare myself and look out for opportunities to learn and bless others.

For instsance, I’ve applied for two things for next summer’s co-op term: an internship with Engineering Ministries International (EMI) to use my skills to help design and develop infrastructure in developing countries; and for a summer research position at the Harvard Forest Research program in Ecology for Undergraduates to help broaden my perspective again before I begin to apply to American schools for my Master’s degree. Besides these two opportunities on the horizon, I also have a side project (a web site) that I’m trying to get to release. Right now I feel like the sky’s the limit.

3 comments:

  1. I'm glad you had such a positive experience. Always important to reflect. I hope all is well in Malaysia Jeff! Have a happy new year :)

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  2. Awesome Jeff, thanks for all the entries on NZ this term. I hope you got the Christmas cards, K says her mom says she got them. But I don't know if it got there in time!

    Have fun on your next adventure

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