Friday, June 14, 2013

Is It Worth It?

Everyday we have opportunities to make choices; some big, some small but every choice has the potential for gain or loss. We weigh the risks, calculate the possible benefits and then come to a conclusion about whether or not to take the leap. Some people are natural risk takers. Their personalities scream for excitement and adventure, while others avoid taking even the smallest risk unless they have factored in all the variable. As for me, I usually fall somewhere between “I’ll try anything once” and “What’s the worst that could happen?” As for a biblical comparison, I can certainly be as impulsive as Peter and as stubborn as Paul; but my heart is usually in the right place and my motives are generally toward toward doing the right thing~in spite of my impetuousness. As an ex-pat living in China, I ask myself this question many times a day. Today was one of those days when “Is it worth it?” became very real. While crossing the road on my 40 minute rush hour bike ride to work, my reading glasses popped out of my purse and landed in the middle of a busy intersection.
I heard the thud as they landed and realized that I was going to have to make a quick decision. Do I get off my bike when I reach the other side of the road, turn around and make my way into oncoming traffic to get my glasses or do I leave them and wait 2-4 weeks to get new ones sent from the States? If you know anything about China’s traffic, you know that to go after them would mean literally risking life, limb and the possibility of being a foreign fatality. The alternative didn’t look much more palatable since I have lots of papers to grade at the end of the semester. Decisions, decisions! I looked at the yet unsquished glass case on the pavement, considered how long it would take for me to snag the glasses, and weighed out whether or not I could be nimble enough to maneuver my way between the oncoming cars. “Is it worth it?” I asked myself again, but In a matter of seconds I decided it was~ so I hopped off my bike, pulled out my game face and
used my car dodging ninja skills to narrowly avoid the oversized buses, bazillion bicycles and steady stream of honking cars all racing my way.
  As I snatched up the glass case, I felt both a sense of relief and horror over what I had done. I had cheated death and avoided becoming the ever dreaded “flat foreign”. Success was mine but at what cost? As I reflect back on those few minutes, I am keenly aware that every decision has a price. The Bible says in Luke 14:25-31 that we are to “count the cost” of discipleship and know what you’re signing up for. I have counted the little costs and inconveniences of being here and I’ve also calculated the bigger costs of being without my family, living in a polluted environment, and making myself known as a Christian in country where foreign believers are not always welcomed.
I have counted the physical, financial, mental, emotional, and spiritual and every other kind of cost it takes to be in China long-term and in a not so impulsive way, have decided to be more of a Paul than a Peter on this one. I count it all but loss (Phil. 3:7-14) Is it worth it? Definitely! Sometimes a little sadness creeps in, but all in all~no regrets!