“Where do you come from?” Oh, the dreaded question.
The one that some people can answer with with one word, while others struggle to even explain it to themselves. The question many TCKs hate.
And yet, it’s one of those that comes up in conversations. Again, and again, and again. It’s not the only annoying question either.
How about the “Which country do you like best?” one? Or the similarly strung “If you had to choose one country, which one would you pick?” And then there are google-able questions about the country you live in. And then there’s …
I’m sure you’ve been asked many more. Sometimes I feel like giving elaborate explanations to people who don’t seem to understand. But usually? Not really.
In those situations, it is so easy for me to let irritation or even anger rise. But that’s not the way God wants us to react.
Here are three reminders for when people ask me questions that seem stupid or annoying to me.
1. Be Patient
Often, the person asking is genuinely interested and wants to know. However, TCKs are complicated to understand. (I think most of us don’t even understand ourselves.) So, it’s not surprising that the person asking doesn’t understand everything on their first try.
They’re asking questions. They’re showing interest. Let’s credit them for that. And let’s be patient. If we don’t even understand ourselves, how can we expect them to?
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient; bearing with one another in love." Ephesians 4:2 NIV
2. Be understanding
As much as we have to ask our non-TCK friends to try to understand our complicated answers to seemingly simple questions, we have to try to understand where they are coming from.
They probably don’t understand how hard it is for us to answer the question and they probably don’t understand how much hurt may be connected with our answers.
Our responsibility is to understand that they don’t understand and not to initially expect them to.
3. Be Loving
People can be mean. People can make false assumptions. People can think we’re “strange.” But again, other people’s responses are not our responsibility. Our responsibility is to approach them in love, no matter what they are thinking, doing, or saying. As Christ would, we should be the first to love the other person whether they return it or not.
Loving others when you don’t feel loved is hard. But that is what Jesus wants us to do.
In those moments, when the sharp answer is at the tip of your tongue, as cliché as it sounds, ask yourself the age-old question: “What would Jesus do and say?” He would always answer in a loving way with truth.
I am writing this for my benefit as much as yours. I struggle with responding in a kind, loving, and patient way. In fact, I struggle with this a lot.
As Christian TCKs, we like referring to ourselves as not of this world, but of heaven. And words require actions. In short:
Live your answer.
Because if you and I really are citizens of heaven, it’d better be evident in our deeds.
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Colossians 3:12 NIV