The Not So Simple Life

While in college, I spent many hours reading books like Christopher Heuertz’s Simple Spirituality. It was through these powerful stories and the experiences of others that I had come to idealize and glamorize what a life of simplicity, generosity, and compassion could really look like.

It wasn’t until I began my internship at Word Made Flesh that I would realize that a life of simplicity was really hard — like super hard.

After college I found myself with a deep desire for a change of pace. I knew I needed to hone my business skills, and I was frustrated that my dream job wasn’t able to offer me a full time position. Afraid of settling for an office job and feeling the need for exploration, I applied for the business internship position with Word Made Flesh Thailand and, 3 months after graduation, relocated to the city of Bangkok.

Completely uprooted and awkwardly replanted I began adjusting to my new life with Word Made Flesh Thailand.  Slowly, I learned what it is to be watered from a different well and to be pruned by different gardeners. I learned that “living simply” is a thankless task full of daily doubts and hardships. It’s a lot of wrestling with self and surrendering things like using money to buy clothes and choosing to invest in unknown community instead of remaining isolated.  Had I known what “living simply” would actually be like, I may have taken that non-dream job and stuck it out in Chicago. Even thought it’s only been two months, I’m content with my decision. Moving to Thailand and being immersed in this community is exactly where God called me to be.  Don’t get me wrong — I don’t always love my time here, and it’s been extremely difficult and challenging. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing and it’s almost certainly exactly what I needed. God has called me on this journey to re-learn love and empathy, to prune away selfishness and pride.

This internship has been challenging, but this organization has given me the grace to work through personal weaknesses. My work here continues to shift my perspective from one of self-centeredness, to a place of realizing the potential in all of the community members I have the privilege of working alongside.

Olivia Gahan


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