Default Settings

I’m seeing fewer and fewer German advertisements in my social media feeds with a steady increase in New Zealand and Australian products coming through. I don’t really want to tell the advertisers where I am, but they’re slowly figuring it out. There are other places I am trying to reset my location and phone number and address for, and it’s proving more difficult in some places than others. Generally speaking, I’m on the right trajectory, and I do have the big, important things mostly sorted.

The one detail left hanging that hopefully will resolve itself this week is the catheter order/delivery process. I did order some weeks ago that haven’t arrived yet, and I’m running low, but I’m also supposed to hear from a special nurse to get a new system of ordering them that is covered under New Zealand healthcare due to my work visa. I’m still simultaneously praying for the miraculous nerve recovery to not need them this week – so feel free to join me on both prayers. Once I have a system, however, whatever it is, I’ll lock into a new default.

A couple of patterns and routines are developing in my weeks and life here, and I love my job. This past week, I was prepping for the first big leader meeting I was in charge of. Matt was there to help, but this term is meant to be me responsible for leading the youth group. I cannot stress this enough, I really love this team. I’m working with about twenty incredible Jesus followers passionate about helping young people grow closer to Jesus – and Apoorva could take you in a fight. Top to bottom, I’m so excited about how they want to be a part of making this ministry thrive and seeing life transformation in students. I’m still getting to know them as they’re still getting to know me, and I left the meeting even more pumped about being a part of this youth group.

One of the topics I brought up was reflecting on a conversation the day before with my friend who grew up in a charismatic church setting where she was taught that leading worship required a certain amount of hands up, feet stomping, dancing around to look genuine. She’d told me that it felt performative, and she’s had to unlearn a lot of that in order to be able to worship freely in church now. We talked about the importance of putting your heart in the right space and how your body effected that. She had an insightful comment along the lines of, “If I’d just been told the default setting in worship was we raise our hands, and we can lower them in significant heart moments, it would have completely changed my perspective.” I sat with that for the next couple of days and tried it out this morning in the service. My default was hands up, and I felt less weird about having my hands up.

In practice, it still was a shift for me – I’m resetting my defaults – but it actually made me ponder some of the other defaults I’ve had to adjust recently. My computer spelling settings have been set on Commonwealth since I lived here last, but I’ve had to switch Google Drive back upon arrival and influx of documents where I realise I need to humour my neighbours with different spellings. Another default adjustment is to time zones. Last night I stayed up way too late – but I have no regrets about catching up with my friend who’s jet-lagging in Senegal and wanted to call. She’s only two hours different than Germany, but it puts us on the edge of the morning/evening waking windows with each other.

Perhaps the most significant default adjustment I’m having here, though, is that I’m in this leadership role where I have the privilege of empowering leaders to disciple young people rather than five days of face time with students and countless hours interacting directly at my bench. I’m still interacting with students, but right now is mostly just once a week, and it’s not the same kind of interactions I had in my classroom. I’m not assigning or grading any homework, and I love that.

I really love this role, and while it’s still going to take time to adjust to the new defaults, I am delighted to be able to make these changes. After service this morning, an American friend asked how my settling in process was going and reassured me that I’m still very new here. I appreciated hearing that out loud because while I know the research says the minimum time to transition to a new country and culture is six months, I’ve been here just over six weeks and kind want to be done with settling and be fully integrated already. The biggest piece of that would be finding an accessible place to live in the neighbourhood where my church is, so we’re all still praying into that fervently. I’m still so, so grateful for the breathing room I have in this house currently, though, and I’ve had plenty of opportunity to reflect on what a gift it is to meet this family and spend time getting to know them during my transition process.

I have a viewing to go to tomorrow, and who knows what will turn up in my searching the rest of the week if this house doesn’t work out. Right now, I’ll go back to locking in my defaults and set my evening routine to read a book and go to bed at a reasonable time.

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