It has been only about seven months since I moved to Singapore and I’m experiencing longings for abroad. I want to move again; yet, I want to stay. I want to experience new cultures; yet, I want to learn more about Singapore. I want to meet new faces; yet, I don’t want to say goodbye to the people here.
The desire to move and to stay is one of the many TCK paradoxes I feel. During my teens, I used to think that there was something wrong with me to have those desires when other people (non-TCKs) didn’t. After praying and reflecting, I came to understand more about why I had these feelings, to know more about myself as a person, and most importantly, how God came into all of this.
For my present situation, these are some reasons behind my conflicting longings:
Why do I want to move again?
- To learn new cultures, build new friendships, and explore cuisines.
- To be part of God’s will and purpose in that country. I would wonder and get excited about why He brought me there.
- Growing up, I became accustomed to shifting to another country after a certain time period, so the urge to move comes by itself. In addition, I’m used to experiencing multiple fresh starts.
Why do I want to stay?
- To avoid goodbyes and the grief of losing another home.
- To make more memories with the people in Singapore.
- To not miss out on the life I could have here if I stayed.
- To have long-term friendships.
- To be part of God’s will in this country. Likewise, eager to find out why He wanted me to stay.
- I’m tired of big changes in my environment.
- God willing, I hope to get married and finally settle down in one place.
Do you relate to the above as well? It can be a struggle sometimes. One moment, I desire to stay in a country because I’m tired of grief. The next moment, my feet are itching to hop into a plane. What’s worse is that the pandemic’s travel restrictions are not helping the itch.
Each time I have those longings, I strive to give them to Jesus. I don’t know if He wants me to stay or move again in the future. But I desire to accept His plans, seek His will in the country I’m currently in, and focus on sowing the gospel and growing closer to Him.
I know that moving again would be difficult as I don’t know how long I’d be overseas and how much would change in my birth country, Singapore. And if I didn’t return, grief would hit me again. But I remind myself – God’s will includes Him carrying me through each process. Whether it be another depression, waiting for visa approval, or simply a plane ride.
As for staying, I know that staying would have its own blessings, such as learning deeper about the culture and having long-term relationships within the same country. As for challenges, I may never live abroad again. I may have unfulfilled longings of moving, but when I give them up, God’s desires would supersede mine. I may struggle to maintain contact with friends overseas; however, as long as I try my best and give the relationship to His hands, I accept the outcome.
In the end, once I give my desires to Him, I find that all I want is to be with Jesus. Wherever He takes me. And do you know the beautiful aspect of surrendering our dreams to Him? Is having His dreams. In Him we have hope that whether we move or not, He is still with us. And whatever His plans are, Christ is glorified.
Very Sincerely Yours,
P.S. What can I pray for you?
P.P.S. Breanne is managing an online conference for Christian TCKs, coming in May. If you’re interested, you can follow their Instagram, @Truth4TCKs.
P.P.P.S. Did you notice that today’s letter is free of grammar errors? Starting this month, Bridget Marshall is our editor! I’m grateful for her contribution and her heart for the email ministry.
Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry or read more posts.
Edited by Bridget Marshall