Me:  “Apparently, I don’t know how to tie a bow.”

Ashley: “Oh…” (The lack of words conveyed the mix of surprise and concern in her voice.)

This was a snippet of a phone conversation I had with my sister my first week of work at the chocolate shop.  Let me add that I’ve been tying bows my whole life!  Something else I didn’t know is that, according to Farlex Dictionary of Idioms, the English language has an idiom “to tie up in a bow.”  (Am I the only one who doesn’t know this expression?)  

It means “to take care of, finish, or resolve something fully and completely in a way that is satisfying or pleasing.”  I suppose that is fitting as that is the end result of tying a beautiful, perfect bow…where the satiny side is up, textured side down, both bottom pieces are facing the same direction–again, keeping the satiny side up–is tight enough so that it will not move around, and everything is equally proportioned.

This is one of many examples of feeling incompetent in a new situation, as exciting and fun as the setting can be and as grateful as I am for the position.  It’s timely, though, because this is exactly what happens to those who move to a new country with a different language and culture from their own.  I can speak from firsthand experience that incompetence is part of the daily routine in a new cross-cultural setting!  I suppose it’s apropos for me, then, to be in a situation where I can relate to those I’m coaching.

And yes, I’m coaching!  The couple I mentioned in my last post did move to Africa–praise God!–and we have had two sessions already.  I’m also coaching my friend who’s learning Thai and meeting with my mentor weekly and doing the coursework.  The unit I’m currently working on is coaching adult learners, and this very issue–the need for adults to feel competent–is addressed!  

I’m having to adjust a lot with so many new things and so much to learn, but I am incredibly grateful for each role I’ve stepped into in this season.  We all know that feelings of incompetence are not just for cross-cultural learners, but can greet us even in our hometown (as I’m being reminded)!  Not sure if you may be facing similar situations that tug at your emotional strength?  If so, I’ll include you in my own personal pep talk: may the Lord be the security we need in humbling circumstances, whatever our location or life stage.  May He tie all of our loose ends up in a bow so that when we’ve made it through the trials, we will be stronger and more like Him because of it.  Ooh–feeling “pleased and satisfied” how that all came together…assuming I used it correctly, ha ha! 😉