Last week I sat in a meeting with other cross-cultural workers and we discussed the many things that we deal with overseas that we may not have experienced otherwise. Most of these things are completely normal when one considers that we basically entered into an entirely different world. Just yesterday as I was driving in S. Asia I thought to myself that in many ways I went back in time to things that I only read about in history books but now I also get to experience. Sometimes I enjoy getting to experiencing them, other times I want to get on the first flight back to North Carolina.
A common experience that we all go through, not just cross-cultural workers, is the "grass is always greener syndrome." We are all familiar with the phrase, "the grass is always greener on the other side." Growing up in a small rural area we were usually referring to our cows that had escaped the enclosed pasture and were now eating grass in our front yard. Growing up that was a situation that we had to deal with, where I live in S. Asia that is everyday life, only the cows generally have no barriers and can be found anywhere.
Back to the point, it is human tendency to look to others and think that they have it better than we do. The truth is that many of them do. This does not mean that they don't deal with spiritual warfare and struggles of the culture, but some people in God's sovereignty are placed in a more comfortable setting. If you live in the US and are reading this then you are one of those people. On a bad day the grass is greener in most places around the world for me, but we all deal with this to some extent.
If I can be transparent with you, I dealt with this when living in the US. I had a clear call to vocational ministry over fifteen years ago and I've only had a paid position in ministry for the past two years. This was a big struggle for me as I watched other guys my age get paid ministry positions while I was stuck working in the food service industry. In my mind the grass was definitely greener on the other side, but then in conversation with many peers I realized that in a sense I was in ministry more than they were because I spent all my time with those outside of Christ.
In truth the grass is always greener somewhere else for all of us, but in God's sovereignty he placed you where you are at for a reason. For some of us this may be a season, for others of us this may be a lifetime. If you are struggling with us I encourage you to embrace where God has placed you and give it your all in that place until He moves you elsewhere.