8 lessons learned the hard way, from someone who did it all wrong
1. Find community that has similar values.
2. Live with safe people.
Your home needs to be an oasis.
3. Stay connected with people that love you.
Stay grounded in who you are and where you came from.
4. Know why you are going to live overseas.
You need to know why you are living isolated in a different country and making sacrifices. Being an international woman of mystery isn’t a good enough reason to live overseas alone.
Honestly, there is only one reason good enough to live overseas:
you have to be called and know it is part of your vocation.
5. Know what gets you into trouble.
Know your limits and be honest about what you can handle and where you need support as well as boundaries.
6. Know your values.
I was a little vague about what I believed to be right and wrong. The further I got from community and the lonelier I became, the more those values seemed to fade into a distant memory.
7. Know that life in a foreign country is hard.
You are going to mess up, and there is grace for you. Living overseas alone can seem impossible at times and could make you question everything that once seemed certain.
8. Know when it’s time to go home.
I figured that part out too late. I was stubborn and determined to make Africa work for me.
I learned much from my mistakes. Singleness can be an incredible gift to understand who you really are, and living overseas single can heighten that understanding further.
Push into God and become who He created you to be.
Elizabeth Spencer once lived in Malawi for three years.
She now lives in Ethiopia with her husband, Greg.
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