Moving overseas is full of stress, unknowns, and uncomfortable situations. If I can be real for a minute, it’s hard. Somedays it feels like drinking from a fire hydrant. After having a conversation with some coworkers this morning, I walked away with this insight, “Anxiety is a deep fear that threatens your sense of self” (Tim Keller.) I always thought the opposite of love was hate, but it’s actually fear. Fear is self-centered, while love is self-giving. 1 John 4:18 says, "Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear" (NLT.) When I place my value in something other than God, anything that threatens that idol becomes a threat to my identity.
Whenever I have moved to a new place, I’m faced with the question of “Who am I?” “Where do I find my identity?” In different seasons, my answer was different. It’s easy to place your identity with a certain church, club, team, school, organization, company, etc. When all that is removed...Who are you? Where do you find your identity? Your worth?
Living in another culture is stressful for me because I don’t know the proper social norms to be accepted and liked. But that stress is caused by fear of man and placing too much of my identity in what other people think of me. I can’t overcome my fear by myself and neither can you. How then do we deal with fear? Trace your fear back to the root cause, bring your fears to God, and surround yourself in community. This is easier said then done. John 15:9 says, “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love” (NLT.) Remain in God's love and look to Him to find your identity. It's not easy, especially when so many other things in our lives battle for our hearts. We can only place our identity in one King who's unchanging. That's Jesus.