Being a foreigner in Japan, can mean it’s very easy to get sucked into the negative complaining about it – the everyday nit picks that just drive us nuts!
Being surrounded by other foreigners who are in the same boat – the ‘Gaijin’s boat’ sometimes, only accentuates this!
Yes, it can be tough living so far away from here, sometimes just plain frustrating – there’s the language barrier, the cultural barrier and sometimes just the everyday mishaps that we can find ourselves in the middle of!
But besides that Japan is an amazing country – different from any other, full of beautiful scenery, fantastic people, an intricate language full of different dialects, a definitive culture, incredible food – of uncountable varieties, the home of Anpanman and AKB48, Full of onsens and shinkansens, soba and udon, maple leaves and Sakura, everything that comes in green tea flavour! There’s temples and mountains, okonomiyaki and takoyaki, tatamis and futons the list could go on!
Japan is describable and totally
indescribable at the same time – I love it! And even when it drives me nuts, I still love it!
They thing is I didn’t always love it, there were times when I did let all those little things get to me! Others were complaining, so I did too! But complaining about where I was didn’t leave me satisfied, it didn’t get anything off my chest, it just made me want to run away from Japan!
As soon as I decided to change my attitude – looking towards the good things, the things I liked about this country, I started to love the place I’m in!
It doesn’t matter where we are, what our situations are – we are placed here for a reason, God has an amazing plan for us here!
So instead of trying to run away – or wishing we could be somewhere else, a sunny beach in Hawaii maybe? Why don’t we try and enjoy where we are now! Find things to love about the place we are in now!
Rather than counting down the days till we can move on, we can count the number of amazing things we can find in the place we are in!
Chances are if I had just run away from Japan when things got tough, or when I found myself lost on a wave of negativity about the country I would only have ended up somewhere else – maybe in a different boat, but sailing in the same pattern of negative, dirty, complaining, towards a life of un-enjoyment and unfulfilled wishes!
Loving the place we are in now means we can live with more joy for life,
experience more things and accomplish more! We can live up to our potential in the place we are now, we don’t need to keep running off to different places!
God has a great plan for you where you are right now, he put you there for a reason!
Yes, maybe we will move on in the future, maybe we won’t be in this place forever – all the more reason to enjoy it now!
So rather than thinking of all the bad things that could happen to us in this place, let’s start living the plan God has for us in the place he put us – you don’t know what it is? Well it can all start from loving the place we are in!
Category Archives: Character
“I need to find myself!”
Have you ever found yourself saying that? I know I often have “I want to find myself” “I’m going to university to find my direction in life “
I’m going to travel around Europe and see what it is I want to do with my life”
“I’m going to Japan to find the real me!” Those words have come out of my mouth a lot! I spent a lot of time running around chasing myself!
Where did I think I had gone?
Well I wasn’t literally trying to find myself, but more along the lines of, I wanted to define who I was!
I looked in so many places, to so many people, even to material things, to try and work out who it was that was inside of me, to put a label on myself and finally realize where I was going, what I was doing with my life and who I was!
I went to university thinking I could become me, develop into the adult Laura, instead I found parties and alcohol and ended up letting others define me as ‘Party Laura’ – what else could I do but live up to that name, I thought, maybe that’s who I am!
But that wasn’t who I was and it wasn’t who I wanted to be, no where close!
So then I went to Japan, in the hope that I could expand my horizons, broaden my views – create an adventure for myself that would define me! Instead I entered into the world of relationships and boys, and I let them define me, I couldn’t find me – so I clung onto things around me to make me seem more intriguing and interesting, to give me character!
But instead people ended up calling me fickle, because in my exploit to find the real me, I flitted from one thing to the other!
So in the end I never did find myself!
Looking for myself, through myself and by myself wasn’t going to get me anywhere! Looking for things in the world to boost me up and make me, me wasn’t going to help either!
There was only one place I could look to define me and that was Jesus – he showed me the best person I could be, he showed me where i was going in life and the intricate plan he has for my life. Now I no longer need to be disappointed when I can’t find who I am in the things going on around me, because I know who I am in him!
When we spend our lives searching for who we really are and what we are really doing, we just end up running in circles and getting lost!
There are usually a few questions we ask, I came up with a few that I had been asking. Now I realize I can answer then through Jesus!
1. What defines me – what makes me, ME?
I struggled a lot with trying to find my character, I always thought I wasn’t good enough, i wasn’t interesting enough, that I needed more concrete things in my life to build my character on!
But no matter how many books I read to deepen my mind, no matter how many people I turned to, or activities I took up to make me seem like I had a more interesting character – I didn’t feel satisfied with who I was, let alone knew what it was that made me who I was!
What I didn’t realize was I didn’t need worldly things to define me! A load of books on Buddhist philosophy or self help books weren’t going to make me, ME!
We can easily define ourselves by the world’s terms, I’m a doctor, a teacher, a lawyer, an astrophysicist, I’m into dance or I’m in a band, i follow house music, indie music, j-pop, electric, any kind of sound!
But that’s not who we are, that’s what we like, what we do!
“Don’t become so well–adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well–formed maturity in you.”
-Romans 12:2 (MSG)
We are God’s chosen children, all of us, He wants the best for us, not the world’s best, and he can give it us, if we just turn to him and follow him!
But we often find ourselves running in the opposite direction; hoping there’s another corner we haven’t turned yet, a corner that will give us exactly what we are looking for – but why does it always seem that there never is?!
2. Where are we going in life? What can we do?
If we are not asking what defines us we are often asking where are we going?
It can be easy in life to get bored and restless and feel we are not reaching our potential, just going about our everyday lifestyle. We want to be something, do something but we don’t know what!
When I felt like this, I often ended up taking up a new hobby, sign language, acting classes, volunteering at the local shelter, yoga, trekking, I even had a go at cheerleadering! But I never fell upon my niche in life, what I really felt I could be.
The thing was I never trusted God, I didn’t believe that he had a plan for me, I thought I had to make it, I was in control and that if I didn’t press all the right buttons I wasn’t going to end up on the right floor!
But the thing is God does have a great plan for me! Not just me but you too!
“For I know the plans I have for you, ” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. “
-Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)
His plan is not just great, it’s amazing, 100% flawless! And all yours!
All that means is that we have to trust him, sometimes that means jumping in water that looks cold and deep and completely uninviting. Maybe we don’t want to go in the direction God wants us to but if we just give it a go, it can often lead us to new waters and exotic bays we could never even imagined going too!
3. Which door to open?
We don’t have all the answers and we are often facing minor and major dilemmas in life as to where to go, which direction and which door to open! Especially in this day and age, our choices are limitless! There is too much to choose from, but we don’t need to waste time opening “x” amount of doors to see if what’s behind it is exactly what we want. No, there is one person who does have the answers! Jesus.
I have opened so many doors in my life that have lead me to dead ends, the wrong parties, the wrong countries, in situations I would have rather not found myself in! But now I know if I am following Jesus I don’t need to worry about finding myself in sticky situations or opening the wrong door, because he is leading me every step of the way!
Ok so if you have read this far and your thinking what if i do want God to define me, if I do want to live in his great plan what can I do? Which door should I open?
Well it’s simple!
“In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me. I will be found by you, ” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.””
-Jeremiah 29:12-14 (NLT)
We need to start looking towards a life with growth and a strong foundation- rather than an exciting adventure life that can fall apart when you face a big hurdle.
With God everything is an exciting adventure, I didn’t believe this until I started running with him! I thought following Jesus was just a boring life of rules and regulations of things I couldn’t do, but it’s the exact opposite!
With him I can face anything because I know I have a foundation in him!
So open his door, turn to him. It’s better than any gap year, better than any university lifestyle!
If you want to know more about Jesus, if you want to open a door that leads to him, I encourage you to come to Jesus Lifehouse Osaka! Not only is it fun, you will make loads of friends, and it’s one step closer to finding Jesus amazing plan for you!