This morning, as I sit in a busy café in the middle of Chinandega, Nicaragua, I feel like a living, breathing paradox. Behind me, I hear the excited chatter as another customer leaves the counter with her morning fuel. Through the steam from my latte, I see a taxi screech to a halt, the passenger barely making it out of the car before the driver races off again. In the distance, I hear the usual shout of an elderly woman advertising freshly made tortillas as she pedals her tricycle through the crowd. Despite the noise and chaos that surrounds me, inside, I sense a single feeling – peace.
Today marks 10 months since my husband and I packed our bags, said goodbye to our friends and family, and headed to Nicaragua to serve with Amigos for Christ. To celebrate this milestone, I sit in my favorite café, nostalgically scrolling through pictures of our time here. Looking at myself on our last night in Georgia, I laugh at the wide eyes and forced smile that don’t hide the insecurity lying just beneath the surface. There is so much that I would love to have been able to tell myself then, starting with a gentle reminder to breathe.
The path that led us to Nicaragua was a long one. For as long as I can remember, I have found value in pleasing others. Growing up, I was the child that always followed the rules simply for the sake of making the adults in my life happy. I pushed myself in sports, not necessarily for myself, but for the approval of my coach and teammates. I went to college, made good grades, and followed the path that was expected of me.
It wasn’t until the Lord revealed the trap that I had fallen into that I was able to stop trying to please the world and dedicate myself to serving Christ – however and wherever He might call me. This required me to step beyond my comfort zone and put my faith to the test like never before. Ultimately, in serving Him, God led me to a place where I found what I had been searching for – peace.
In bringing me to Nicaragua, God fixed my priorities and fulfilled my desires. Now, instead of treading water each day with the pressure of peoples’ expectations pulling me down, I walk in the freedom and peace of knowing that there is only One that is worthy of pleasing. This singular focus invigorates me to try to be obedient to His word each day.