Before we headed to China to adopt Ryan, one of us was required to attend a travel workshop put on by our agency. (This was in place of the ‘parenting babies’ class they typically required of adoptive parents—with 4 biological children, we had pretty much mastered the parenting babies thing.) The day was pretty much a waste, except one small nugget: it’s ‘not wrong, just different.’ That phrase was well used while we were in China the first time, since there are many cultural differences that felt ‘wrong.’ Recognizing them as simply ‘different’ made the trip much smoother. Since then, it has become a common refrain in our home.
That mantra is oft-repeated these days. Taking reusable bags to the grocery store? Not wrong, just different. Choosing the 2 loaves of bread for the double loaf pack at Costco? Not wrong, just different. Paying to put at book on ‘hold’ at the library? Not wrong, just different. Finding that many churches here start their Sunday morning service far later than we’re used to? Not wrong, just different. Iced drink stands on the patio instead of coffee carts in the lobby at church? Not wrong, just different. Small groups that meet on campus and all study the same thing? Again, not wrong, just different. No AWANA or Upward (sports for children) but mid-week Bible study for grads 3-6? Not wrong, just different! The ‘California culture’ is not what we’re used to. It would be easy to focus on all that is ‘wrong’'’ but instead, I want to see them as opportunity for refinement. For growth. For maturity. I want to be mold-able. I want to go back home in 2 years changed on the inside. I want to trust God more fully, seek Him more faithfully. It won’t be easy. It hasn’t been so far. But He promises to never leave me nor forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6, 8; Joshua 1:9). He promises new mercies every morning (Lamentations 3:22-24). So…I will trust. I will not be terrified or discouraged. (HA! Easier sad than done.) And He’ll do the rest.
The only thing I can think of down here that is simply WRONG, not just different? This:
In my world, you’re not supposed to be able to play on the beach in February!! This is what I’m used to:
And I miss it already.