My internal alarm clock has been going off before the crack of dawn. Consequently, I circle the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Fujairah, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as an act of worship and daily fitness regimen. The song “Intentional” by American gospel singer Travis Greene plays in my ears. It’s a reminder despite my current circumstances, things are working for my good.
All things are working for my good, yeah
‘Cause He’s intentional
I know that all things are working for my good, yeah
Beginning of the year, my husband signed a football contract in Fujairah. Fujairah is an emirate approximately an hour outside of Dubai. For a reason beyond his control, he had to exit that contract prematurely. Recently, he has signed another agreement with a team 20 miles outside of Fujairah.
Prior to me uprooting my life, he lived in Abu Dhabi for five years.
Hence, I imagined us living in Abu Dhabi or Dubai.
Whoever heard of Fujairah? As a comparison, living in Fujairah is like moving back to my hometown, Tuscaloosa, AL. There’s not a whole lot going on there.
I can accept not living in Abu Dhabi or Dubai.
But, can I at least live with my husband?
The most beneficial part about living in the UAE is that employers pay for housing. We presumed any team he signed within the UAE would provide accommodations for both of us. Well, this employer does not allow the spouse to stay on the premises.
Admittedly, it’s better to be 20 miles away from each other than 7,500 miles. Therefore, I’ll take the 20 miles over 7,500 miles any day.
Although, the living arrangements aren’t ideal. Living apart is actually working for my good.
I tend to adhere to my husband’s schedule when we are together. He follows a simple routine which is train, shower, eat, sleep, repeat.
Nowadays, I’m fully dressed no later than 8 am. I’m at the world’s virtual office, Starbucks, starting my day with a tall green tea or a caramel macchiato. Journaling, reading, and striking tasks off my daily to-do list.
I can now appreciate the separation. As the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder. I look forward to the weekend more than ever.
Due to the fact, I am on a quest to find the highest, truest, fullest expression of myself. Fujairah may be the place where I get my breakthrough. I’ll refer to an interview of Bishop T.D. Jakes on his book titled Crushing. I recommend the book if you have not read it. He writes about how growth comes from challenging experiences in life.
During this book interview, Bishop Jakes talked about living in obscurity, among other things. He stated that “obscurity is a great gift.” It’s grooming, preparation, development, and growth –
“to fight your own devils, to overcome your obstacles, to get your priorities in alignment.”
He talked about several key biblical figures who experienced obscurity. He mentioned there are no recordings of Jesus’ adolescent years and his twenties. How that time of obscurity was preparing him for his life’s ministry.
I thought about the wedding in Cana scenario. The wedding organizers ran out of wine for the guest. Jesus’ mother informs him of the dilemma. He responds,
“My time [to act and to be revealed] has not yet come.” (AMP)
Bishop Jakes compares the opposite of obscurity to birthing a baby prematurely. His words:
“The chances of survival go down, the earlier the baby is exposed. And to be exposed to soon is not a blessing, it’s a curse. You don’t want anything before its time. There is a time and a season for every purpose under heaven.”
Admittedly, I am too comfortable when I’m with my husband. It’s a good thing because I feel loved, protected, and cared for. Being with him, life is a breeze and easy.
I’m a firm believer that growth does not come from being comfortable but doing the hard stuff.
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace [who imparts His blessing and favor], who called you to His own eternal glory in Christ, will Himself complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you [making you what you ought to be]. 1 Peter 5:10
We have endured our fair share of struggles. We choose not to complain. I have witnessed social injustices with my own two eyes in various parts of the world. Therefore, I choose not to have a pity party. Any day of the week, I can purchase a one-way airplane ticket back to the USA. I choose to endure. Many do not have the resources to buy an airplane ticket or for that matter, food to eat or even a place to seek refuge.
“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” Abraham Maslow
God forbid, the place their seeking refuge for better opportunities results in dehumanization. One suffering exchanged for another. I realize that the “light afflictions” are not about me. Bishop Jakes explains our sufferings connect us to the people we were created to serve.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” —Helen Keller
Being separated from my husband is bittersweet. The bitter part is I miss him. The sweet part is that everything is working out for my good. In the words of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, I will only be able to connect the dots looking backward and not forwards.
This new way of thinking will aid me in reaching the highest, truest, fullest expression of myself. Join me in “finding yourself,” and discovering new ways of thinking, new ways of living, and new ways of working. You’re invited!