Culture shock is a reality for anyone who engages another culture. It is more bitter and agonizing for some than others. There are mild frustrations, major agitations, and what seems like constant consternation. Why do these people do what they do? Why don’t they make logical decisions? Why don’t they prioritize their lives in the right way? Is there a rational bone in their body?
Two months and a teaspoon of humility will lead to a second wave of culture shock. The shock that they are asking the same questions about us!
Sometimes these successive waves, one on top of the other, cause us to feel like we’re drowning.There is a shock even more alarming and debilitating that culture shock. Some people keep so busy they never even recognize or deal with this shock. It is at the tail end and the logical conclusion of culture shock. It is Casey (self) shock. That’s the state of shock I’m wading through right now. The shock that, despite selling all to serve the underserved in Haiti, I have not yet plumbed the depths of my sin. The shock that my motives are not as genuine and sincere as I assumed. The shock that there are blind spots in my desire to serve and please God. Blind spots represented by prideful, short-sighted, self-centered aspects of my missionary endeavors.
It doesn’t seem like there is any magic elixir to recover with the quickness from this shock. It is one painful step at a time. It seems noble to want to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. It seems right to want to be like Him. But we ought not confuse things. We are not Jesus. We are not sinless. We are not savior.
God will not ask us to descend as deep as Jesus did. God will not raise us to glory as high as Jesus is. This is a comfort to us. No matter where we find ourselves on the spectrum in life, Christ identifies with us. Highs or lows, he is present, even if he seems silent. It is a painful but good lesson to learn that God’s love is more mysterious than we know. His grace is more generous and undeserved than we imagine. His peace is more nonsensical that we understand.