I am a Foreigner

foreigner | ˈfɒrɪnə/ | noun
a person born in or coming from a country other than one’s own.
(informal) a person not belonging to a particular place or group; a stranger or outsider.

When I spent a few months in India, I heard this term over and over again. The Indians never called me a foreigner, though. The term was reserved for those from other countries who didn’t look like them. Americans were foreigners, but only the ones who looked American, which I’m sure you can imagine who I’m talking about. The person you picture most definitely isn’t a first generation “American” with familial roots in India.

Though I knew I was a foreigner, the Indians didn’t think so. I blended in quite well. I wore sari’s, the traditional dress of Indians. I had roughly the same physical features as those who surrounded me, and to convince them even more, I have the most popular Indian name. They quickly figured out that I clearly did not belong when I opened my mouth to speak. When I spoke and the Indians heard my accent, it was obvious that I was not one of them. Slowly they started to think of me as a foreigner, which wasn’t a bad thing. I was seemingly one of them, but not, and they liked that. They liked that I wasn’t from there. They liked that I had American-like tendencies and that my English was clear. They liked the way I wore my hair, which is hilarious because I envied their amazing braiding skills. They liked my shoes (Toms and Chaco’s). Everything about me was different, but familiar, at the same time. For some reason they felt “at home” with me.

Sometimes I truly felt like a foreigner trapped in an “Indian’s” body. I would hear the voices of other Americans randomly and get really excited or I would see them and smile, but they didn’t feel the same way. To the Americans, I was an Indian. To the Indians, I was an American. And to me, well, I didn’t belong with either. And that fact has made this really clear to me – I’m not from here or anywhere near here. My home is way, way, way beyond the skies with Christ. If I didn’t get that before, I surely am starting to understand it better now. It makes complete sense why I don’t fit in perfectly anywhere because I’m not home yet. So, I praise Him for that! It’s okay that I’m the one in the picture who doesn’t belong. It all makes sense. This world is not my home.

The writer of Hebrews writes about many who knew that there was something more to this life than what’s happening in the here and now. He writes about Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, mentions many others like Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and admits that he is unable to recount the many more who chose to live by faith with their eyes on their eternal home.

All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them. | Hebrews 11:13-16

Our desire should be one thing – to have one aim, Jesus Christ – to know Him, to do His will, and to make His name great. Our mission isn’t a top-secret one. It will come with interesting twists and turns, but my, is it an adventurous ride. Others may not see things the way we do and may not even welcome us. But be encouraged, He has prepared a city for us. Keep running ahead, only looking forward to what’s to come. May He never be ashamed to be called our God.

One thought on “I am a Foreigner

  1. Priyanka, thank you for this beautiful expression of a precious truth. Heaven = Home 🙂 Loved meeting you last weekend, sister!
    “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.” Psalm 84:5

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