Personal

Teaching in Jordan: How to do our part without actually teaching in Jordan

This blog will not tell you to donate, pray, or support your friends who do teach in the Middle East instead of going yourself. 

The only point of looking at the past is to gain wisdom or strength for the future. This final post of the Jordan series is all about the future.

I’ll be honest with you: I don’t know what the future looks like. I don’t know where I’ll end up tomorrow and I have no idea what will tug at my heart strings in this next season of life. What I do know is that we’re all trying our best. 

We all want to live in a world where unity is a daily, international call-to-action. Where people don’t hurt each other because they are so hurt themselves. Where we can put our walls down and hug our neighbours like they’re our own blood.

But we’re afraid. Let’s call it out. We are a fearful generation.

We don’t want to believe in ourselves because we are more afraid of things working out than we are of failure itself. Because when they do work out, well then, what now?

“I’m gonna mess it up,” is the fear.

Is uncertainty stopping me from going even further in my pursuit of a better world? YES.

But I refuse to live in fear of uncertainty. I’ve been living with anxiety my whole life yet I refuse to be a victim. In fear and trembling, I refuse to let it define me.

My love for humanity goes beyond my fears. A heart after God goes beyond what society tries to tell you is unrealistic or hopeless to chase after.

I have more of a fear of doing nothing meaningful with my life than I do about going to a part of the world that is deemed “dangerous” and calling it home for a while. I have more of a fear of neglecting that voice in my heart that says, “Go talk to them” than I do of rejection. The fear of missing out on an opportunity to bless someone is bigger than that of being looked at as “different.”

I don’t believe in the American dream if it only includes myself as the God of my life. I can’t do it anymore.

It’s made me depressed. My thoughts about the world have gotten darker because I see how our state as humankind is becoming so self-centred, myself included, that now I know looking for stability, safety, or comfort is not what will make me strong enough to keep going.

Because those things are fleeting. Working with refugees in Jordan has made me realize this. It is easy for us to define ourselves based on our titles, financial status, etc… but if any of that is taken away because of health, war, or anything out of our control, who are we then? What do we have then?

Here’s what we might have:

People (relationships.)
Purpose.
Passion.
Patience.
Personality (character.)
Persistence (resilience.)

Do you have all of those? If you ever became a refugee, would you be able to keep going?

If we’re not cultivating all of the above, we’re not really creating a strong foundation on which we can stand when things hit the fan – which they inevitably will.

I need God’s love as a foundation for my life, not more self-help articles that tell me what I need to do in order to “be a better me.” Not that there’s anything wrong with self-help, but there comes a point where you can’t keep trying to do better when you have nothing to build on in the first place. Your low self-worth will crumble even more when you don’t feel like you’re measuring up to the advice you’re reading. Having bubble baths and retail therapy also have their limits as emotional support when you realize you are not, and have not been, at peace with your own mind and soul.

I gotta make a choice to believe that life is creation and I am loved by a creator – that I am loved, period. Only then will I be able to give love to those around me in an empowering way.

Read poetry. Read stories of heroes. Read the Psalms. Immerse yourself with people who have dreams bigger than themselves. You become at peace when you realize it is in the little things, and the day to day, that you see change. 

You become at peace when you take time aside to spend it in meditation, in communication with God. (At least that’s what’s been working for me so far.)

Now these kids in Jordan taught me that you don’t even really have to go miles away to do something worthwhile in life. (But obviously if you have the will, the energy, and means to go, why not?)

I was humbled to remember my community back home and how much I could make a difference with them. Because the problems, personalities, and pieces of the puzzle still affect people living here, right among us.

I saw my neighbour’s kids in the Syrian refugee kids. I saw my own cousins in them. I saw my students here in the West in the kids in Jordan. They are all kids who need love and attention and we can really be the people who give that to them.

We are all refugees. On World Refugee Day, I declare we are all refugees, in need of shelter. We must do better. We must listen more. Give more. Love more.

We’re in this together. We must do better. And we can start right here at home.

Teaching in Jordan definitely changed my life. (I can’t say that out loud though in case my parents hear me and stop me from ever going back.) And I gotta say I can see myself living there and teaching full-time, but I am ready to give up that dream if it means God needs me to stay put for a different one that would be bigger than what I thought was possible.

No matter where the path takes me I must remind myself how dull life might become if all it becomes is me living for me. With nobody to share life with. Nobody to help. Nobody to relate to on a deeper level.

I’m not saying we all need to become the next Mother Theresa’s out here and that making a decent living is not important, because let’s face it you’ll want a family one day and raising them with proper education or access to health care and a safe quality of living will be a priority. But, I am saying that if your priorities become all about you with nobody else in the picture, not now nor in the future, you’re in trouble.

Take it from me. That mentality landed me in a pit that I couldn’t get out of by myself. I needed people, and a purpose that goes beyond my own wants. I say wants because all my needs are thankfully met. I have housing, food, clothes, family, friends, and all 5 senses. I have everything I need to live comfortably.

Once you admit you’ve been chasing money, success, fame, or “good vibes only” because the world made you believe that’s what life is about, you’re one step closer to living with true purpose.

Realization is step 1.
Admittance = step 2.
Change = step 3.

Easier said than done, but the fact that you are here in the first place tells me you’re searching for more out of life. And, I’m proud of you.

I’m excited for you.
I am THANKFUL for you.
I love you and I’m praying for you!

-Manda

P.S. If you want English classes in Jordan for refugee kids to continue because you’ve been inspired by the series, and you want to stay involved somehow, we’re officially best friends! Reach out to me here! I’ll be in touch with you. ❤️

Categories: Personal

Tagged as:

Have thoughts about the ones I shared above? Comment down below:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s