WHAT IS IT?
Culture shock is the feeling of disorientation that people experience when exposed to a new culture different from their own. Some common symptoms of culture shock include confusion, anxiety, homesickness, boredom, and irritability. People may also have trouble communicating or understanding the local language or customs.
WHAT ARE THE STAGES?
Understanding the 4 stages a typical person goes through will help you see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. AND remember, if God called you to that place in the mission field, he will get you through it!
- Honeymoon - “Wow, this is great!”
- Frustration - “What have I done?”
- Recovery - “I think I can, I think I can.”
- Acceptance - “I love these people. I don’t want to go home!”
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH IT?
Philippians 4:6 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”
Joshua 1:9 “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
TALK TO THOSE WHO CAN HELP YOU
1 Thessalonians 5:11 “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”
FORCE YOURSELF TO BE ACTIVE AND SERVE THOSE GOD SENT YOU TO
Hebrews 6:10 “For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do.”
The key is to focus on others by sowing your heart and life into them. Then you will see God beautifully using you, touching lives for his Kingdom. Suddenly, it’s not about you but those he sent you to serve!
Psalm 91:1-2 Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him only me and God.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
1 Peter 5:8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
- Make time for yourself. Dedicate time each day to relax and do something you enjoy. This can be as simple as reading a book, spending time with friends, or have a hobby.
- Eat healthy foods. Eating nutritious foods helps keep our bodies healthy and energized. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet.
- Get enough sleep. Most adults need around eight hours of sleep per night. Getting enough sleep allows our bodies to rest and recharge, which helps us stay healthy and focused throughout the day.
- Exercise. The best way to keep your body healthy and energized is by getting enough physical activity. Whether you enjoy running, aerobics, walking, or other forms of exercise, make sure to do something every day that gets your heart pumping and your muscles working.
ATTEND A LOCAL CHURCH
Hebrews 10:25 “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near."
IN A NUTSHELL
Make a meaningful effort to apply some of the practical steps above. Stay close to the Lord and be open to those around you, whether local within your mission organization, those from the culture you are serving in, or back home, via video chat about your steps in overcoming culture shock. God has placed people in your life such as a time like this. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Stay positive, and remember that the experience is temporary.
Don’t forget, Stage 4, (Acceptance) - “I love these people. I don’t want to go home!”
CHECK OUT OUR MISSION TRAINING VIDEOS
MISSIONS ON YOUR HEART?
If you are a ministry, minister, or person of God that wants to dive deeper into missions but don't know how that looks for you, feel free to contact me. I would love to explore your heart and see where God leads you. I can share with you all the avenues that I am aware of in the hopes of connecting and plugging you into the right place that God has for you in the world of missions. Reaching lives for Jesus Christ in the international fields requires thoughtful planning. There is a mission pipeline sort of speak that needs to be built out specifically for you. I can help you do that.