don’t focus on your limitations focus on the finish line!

The Expat Tortoise

Anyone who knows me well knows that I was not graced with athletic ability. I dreaded P.E. (Physical Education) because I knew that when I would run I would never see more than the backs of others. If there had been a prize for coming last in a race, I would have had a number of trophies. You might assume that I was an overweight and unhealthy child, but I was far from that. I could run long distances, but I always lost races when I had to sprint because although I had tenacity, I didn’t have speed.

I loved Aesop’s Fables as a child, and the story of the tortoise and hare was one of my favourites. The tortoise was my hero! The Bible in the book of Ecclesiastes 9:11 says that the race is not to the swift. There is a lot of truth in that statement both regarding expatriate life and marriage.

When you leave the ‘known’ world for unknown terrain, it can be frustrating when suddenly everything seems to go at a slower pace. For the expatriate, frustration can be a constant companion due to language barriers and new systems.

Frustrated by Slow Progress

The frustration I often face has nothing to do with the speed at which things happen around me, but I am frustrated with my slow progress with learning the language. Roy has a similar frustration and we have had to work at learning how to encourage each other.

Many people look at moving to a new country a little bit like they look at marriage. They wear rose-tinted glasses and only think about the positive aspects of the move. Realistically life is much more complex and moving country will have its ups and downs. Steady plodding is the secret of expat life if you face a problem keep pressing on. We have to ignore our tendencies to throw in the towel and give up if the going gets tough. If you are struggling with living abroad and want to pack your bags, you may have unrealistic expectations. Give it time!

Be Tenacious

The secret to a happy marriage is similar. We need to be tenacious, being willing to work through any issues that may arise, rather than giving up. Some people start out well in marriage but a little like the hare in the story they get complacent.  The tortoise in the story had his eyes on the goal; he didn’t look at his limitations he looked towards the finish line.

I remember one school sport’s day in particular. It was at my old primary school. I was in the egg and spoon race and dropped the ‘egg’ (a green coloured bead), right at the start line. I kept hunting for the bead and finally found it. When I looked up many of the class had already crossed the finish line. It would have been easy to give up with what seemed to be hopeless, but I put the bead back on the spoon and completed the race. It isn’t about coming first, it is about finishing!

2 Timothy 4:7 ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.’

Bringing Worlds Together Book

Many couples struggle to get on the same page in marriage. Whether you are newlyweds or have been married for years Bringing Worlds Together will help you blend together. Expect to learn more about your spouse, gain insight and be challenged.

Are you ready to move closer rather than drift apart?

Available in print and ebook formats.

Adjusting Expectations Book

No-one enters marriage expectation free. Adjusting Expectations helps identify how expectations were formed and whether or not they were realistic. Most expectations need some adjustment; they are often too high but can also be set too low. The good news is expectations can be reset!

Find out what you should expect and what God expects from you.

Available in print and ebook formats.

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