“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.”
This year has seen me travel the farthest I have ever been: to China for five months and I am now in Spain until the end of May, in both instances teaching English as a foreign language. For all the things in Chinese culture that made me thoroughly stressed, there were also other things which were humbling, like the incredibly welcoming students and staff at my university and the chance to see amazing sights such as the Great Wall and the view from the top of Mount Emei. This has given me a new perspective on how different we are across our various cultures and while recent world events seem to want to challenge how accepting we are of different cultures, I have learned this year to try and embrace them, even when they are driving me mad!
As I look to the future, I wonder what God has in store for me and what this time in China and Spain will ultimately lead to. I probably won’t know the answer until I’m in the middle of it, as that is often how I have found the chance to reflect on the direction of my life and how God has guided me in different ways. But if you have a chance next year, either on holiday or a long-term plan, when you are somewhere different, take the time to immerse yourself in the local culture and to try and understand it, as it helps you to connect to others and could lead to amazing things. I have seen more of God’s creation this year than any other and it is a time to appreciate how big this world is and how there is a possibility of missing out on some wonderful opportunities if you don’t take them.
Praise God for the wonder of the world he has created.
Look carefully at a piece of holly or at a pine cone. Take time to notice its shape, its texture and its colours. It is fearfully and wonderfully made and so are you!