Living Behind the Veil

I'm often asked what I wear in Afghanistan and what it's like to wear a veil. It's freedom. Freedom to have a bad hair day, freedom to arrange my chadar to conceal the curve of my breasts and backside, freedom to not be an expatriate for a little while. It means freedom to hide even on the street from the Afghan men's eyes which seem to strip me bare. When I relax my shoulders and walk a little less purposefully, a little less confidently, with my eyes downcast and covered by sunglasses, I pass for an Afghan woman. I hear the men whisper in Dari, "Is she a foreigner or local woman?" I chuckle but am silent. On the street, I'm also a free target....freely exposed to groping, sexual innuendos whispered to me as a man bicycles by, free to have stones thrown at me, freely seen as no one's wife, daughter, sister, mother, friend, or boss. I step inside my gate, and remove my chapan and chadar. Now, I'm someone's boss, motherhood returns to me as little steps run to greet me, and I receive the kiss from an adoring husband. Now I'm free to his loving and gentle eyes which know and enjoy my curves, free to once again be under the protective umbrella of being a wife, mother, friend, colleague, boss, niece, sister, daughter, woman.

Risk Myths

There are now fourteen risk myths I've identified which are common among cross-cultural workers. (Only the first 12 are in my book!) The term "Risk Myth:" means there are elements of truth in many of the myths I've written about. They are not all "pure" myths in the literary sense of the word. But it is important to recognize when our thinking may be slightly off base, especially in the confusion of risk.

The reason for this is that our thought life impacts our emotions, and our emotions impact our resiliency (see Chapter 10 of Facing Danger).  Endurance is easier when we have clarity that we truly are thinking God's thoughts after Him, and not simply repeating cultural theology from a risk-adverse church culture back home.

The Risk Myths are literally from the global church - I've listened to almost every major culture group in the church, and taken notes on what types of endurance and resiliency problems people from other cultures have, including my own. What lies are being woven by our enemy, causing us to not be able to thrive in places of darkness?

It is my hope that if you identify with one of the myths, you'll find freedom and clarity on how God is working in your life.  If you have a myth I have not yet identified, please share it with me!

Risk Myths - The following list has links to the full explanation of each risk myth & correction.
  • Risk Myth 1: You are never safer than you are at the center of God's will.
  • Risk Myth 2: The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.
  • Risk Myth 3: Escape or deliverance is the priority.
  • Risk Myth 4: You must be building up all kinds of reward because of the risks you are taking.
  • Risk Myth 5: Just keep a positive mental attitude and everything will be okay.
  • Risk Myth 6: We aren't really risking.
  • Risk Myth 7: We've already counted the cost.
  • Risk Myth 8: Faith is proportional to the amount of risk.
  • Risk Myth 9: If something bad happens, its because I didn't pray, work, or prepare enough. It's my responsibility to be faithful and engage with God.
  • Risk Myth10: Freedom means security.
  • Risk Myth 11: Risking is spiritual service. All this practical talk and assessment is unnecessary.
  • Risk Myth 12: Suffering for Christ while fulfilling my cross-cultural calling always glorifies God.
  • Risk Myth 13: Risk assessment is un-spiritual.
  • Risk Myth 14: Disregarding your fear demonstrates true faithfulness.
  • Risk Myth 14 (2nd Edition) Fear is the Opposite of Faith. (PDF)
  • Download a 1-page document of the myths and their correction available here. 

Unhelpful Things People Say in Risk:  (Download PDF of All 7)


Cross-Cultural Risk Axioms: