It’s hard to ask this question without singing the words to the tune of the famous song by The Clash. The lyrics are actually a very appropriate take on how i feel about living in South Africa:
“It’s always tease, tease, tease
You’re happy when I’m on my knees
One day is fine and the next is black
So if you want me off your back
Well, come on and let me know
Should I stay or should I go?
If I go there will be trouble
And if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know…”
I’m often asked why I, especially while I’m single, am not packing my bags and heading for foreign ‘greener pastures’. Apparently it’s ‘easier’ to immigrate when you’re on your own. I find it interesting when people use the word ‘easier’ to describe anything a single person does. I agree that in terms of logistics it’s much easier for me to apply for a visa or work permit or whatever allows me to run from this troubled home of mine, book a ticket for one and head on out – but then what? I’ll tell you: Then I’m on my own in a foreign country, THAT’S what! I’ll be having to learn all about my new surroundings, make friends and find a job all on my own.
Now, it’s not the ‘all on my own’ part that I’m not prepared for in terms of actively, physically doing them. I’m rather used to doing things all on my own here in Johannesburg – nothing new there! But, amongst these greener pastures that I’ll find myself in, who will i talk to? Who will go exploring with me? It’s flipping hard work doing all of that on your own. Moving is considered one of, if not the most stressful things a human can go through, let alone moving to a new country. I will not have the emotional support of a loving and understanding spouse or family member when i return from working on my brighter future! Sure it wont be forever but, if you think it would be ‘easier’, that’s not necessarily the case!
I’m not saying it’s not doable. I would totally do all the lonely, hard work if I felt it was for the right reason.
I’m NO expert on politics, but it doesn’t take an expert to know that this country is what some might call a ‘hot mess’ which is why people are wanting to leave, if not for their future, then for that of their children, which I don’t think is a good enough reason on it’s own – not if you believe in a God that loves you and believe in His promises.
A parent should absolutely make the best decisions for the sake of their families but, like Mary and Joseph fleeing to Egypt (Matthew2:13,14), it should be because you’re following God’s call and not searching for safety or security.
I also don’t think you always need a reason to leave other than ‘I want to’.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with moving or immigrating. I think it would be lovely to experience a way of life in a different country and take your family on an adventure… worst case scenario you end up coming back, but if the opportunity arises, why not? After all, God has given us the whole world to enjoy.
I DO dream about leaving this country, in all honesty, but not because I’m worried about my future. I’ve always thought it rather comical that God decided I’d be South African. I’m by no means a huge sports fan and I would rather be on holiday at home than go to the bush on safari. I think the only thing that I can relate to as a South African is our general love of meat and ‘braaing’.
I often wish that I could live in a city! Or a house just outside a city but where I could enjoy walking through beautiful scenery! I wish I lived in a place where it snowed over Christmas! A place near a beach or a lake where I could sit and watch the trees blossom in spring and the leaves fall in the winter.
(I may or may not have been totally spoiled during my year in the Hamptons).
But that’s not where I live. For some reason (and I often wonder why) God has put me in Jo’burg without reason or explanation and no matter how many times i’ve tried to move, this is apparently where I’m staying.
Having said that, I do not feel ‘stuck’ here. I’m not miserable here. I think South Africa is a wonderful, diverse, beautiful country! I love the weather in Jo’burg. I love the church I go to. I love my job. I love the friends that I have and the fact that I’m only a 2 hour drive away from my family. When I think of what I would be leaving behind, I don’t want to go anywhere!
South Africa has problems but, no matter what the problems are, I will not leave because o them. I will grow where I am planted. I will help and serve! I will work hard and I will be secure in knowing that my future doesn’t rely on the president or the currency or the employment rates, but on a sovereign God!
‘For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope!’
It’s not that I’m never afraid, or that I never worry, but someone once told me: “There’s no safer place to be than in the will of God”.
It’s no accident that I’m here in this country and, until God says ‘move’, this is where I’ll stay.