08 Mar

God at work in troubled times

I can be a critic, discouraging pessimist. I can be mean and rude. I can be a self-centered self preservist – there I said it. Truth is, when we are pushed up against a wall, when we are driven by fear, when bad stuff is going on around us that survival instinct kicks in to the max.

Nigeria can be a troubled place. Jos has experienced its fair share of incidents. Last Sunday when there was a suicide car bomb attack at a major church denomination in town about 3km from our house, was one of those times when for a little while the survival instinct kicked in. It was the first time since getting here that I wondered ‘how bad would it have to get before I get up out of here and take my family to safety in England’. Don’t judge me – maybe I am not a very good missionary for thinking about that, maybe I am not fully prepared to pay the cost with my life to serve God and live for Jesus in Nigeria.

As a youth worker I would talk how our faith is stretched like a rubber band or stretch Armstrong toy. The whole concept of not knowing how strong your faith it until it is stretched, you can pull it and pull it and stretch it, and you will only find out how much it can withstand by doing so. God promises (yes a strong work) that we will face trials of many kinds, but he also promises that he will not let us be tested beyond what we can stand. I sometimes wonder – how much can I stand?

Even in the midst horrible badness that results in people dying, it is possible, if you look hard enough to see god working. This car bomb was set off before it reached its destination. It didn’t really go off. Only half of the bomb exploded. Who knows what damaged would have been done if the whole thing had exploded – it would have probably impacted the building to collapse kill all inside. It seems an odd way to protect people, but if you look hard enough, I take courage that God is at work even in troubled times.

04 Mar

Aspergers and possession

New place, new environment, new job, new colleagues, new house, new school, new friends, new opportunities, all provide a chance to discover more about myself.
Post discovery of my Aspergers, it freed me to allow myself to be different. No longer do I wonder why I think and react differently, but instead the mission is to curb the over reactions, increase the tolerance and generally better cope with the hard situations.
There are certain things I have discovered that are not ‘normal’ (if normal is defined by how other people expect an adult to react and behave) but linked to how my brain is wired as an aspie (person with aspergers). I appear to have an over developed sense of possession – what is mine is mine – hands off.  It turns out I am not very good at sharing.
I like the familiar, I like having my computer, my phone, my place to sit at the table, my chair in the lounge, my bit of shelf in the bedroom, my blanket or even my jumper! I don’t like sharing food on my plate and I don’t like people reading over my shoulder.

What is odd, is that internally (and sometimes externally), I can react at unexpected things and sometimes I don’t even know why a situation or a request is causing me a ‘struggle’. Most of the time I can resolve the struggle in my head and get on with whatever is happening, occasionally I can’t or don’t and vocalise the struggle – not always bad, but not always good either!  The funny things is that I can have a reputation for those vocalisations, yet if people only realised how many times I don’t vocalise the struggle, I think I do really well – but when I vocalise it can be so unusual and out of the norm for people who don’t experience the same struggles that they can be perceived as outbursts; I guess they are -sorry to ALL those who have experienced such an outburst!
I’m not very good at sharing jobs either. I like to know what is mine and what isn’t mine. When we got married we identified very early on that cooking was a job better done by one of us at a time, not really good for both of us at the same time. If I have agreed and I am expecting to do a job, to find someone else has done the job – even if they are trying to help me. I experience that struggle as if something has been stolen from me, a sense of injustice related to my constant struggle for self-preservation – also known as selfishness.

More later on other things I’ve picked up over the past 18 months.

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