Hey there friend. I’m sitting here, trying to figure out how to rest, when I have a gazillion things going through my mind in preparation for a trip out of the country next week. Yes. Next. Week. I have succumbed to an Autumn cold this week and have been praying like a mad dog to get well. I don’t want to just get better. I need to get WELL. I can not fathom the idea of being sick on an airplane for a thousand hours (ok, it’s only 20 hours but, who’s counting). I’ve got a fabulous posse praying for me, encouraging me to rest up, which is hard for me right now. At this time. With this trip. Next. Week.
With my mind being rather fuzzy I’m going through my to-do list and wondering what I should pack, not doing a very good job though. I’m usually a “pack-the-morning-of” kinda girl but something tells me I can’t do that for this trip. Especially when you’re leaving at o’ dark early. And it’s for twelve days. I won’t have space to pack extra outfits. Or anything extra really. I won’t have the opportunity to see what kind of mood I’ll be in to decide what I’ll wear that day. Do you do that too? I like to have options, you know. I spend many a minutes standing in my closet looking for something to wear each day.
What I am realizing in this moment is that none of this matters. I don’t need to obsess over what to wear or to make sure I have every perfect item with me. Don’t get me wrong. I will have everything I need. I will have all the “just-in-case” items tucked into my bag. I am also doing my best to wrap my head around what I’ll be teaching and the details that go along with that.
I guess I am freaking out a little bit about forgetting my toothbrush or
deodorant. Those are important things to me, but will it really matter in the grand scheme of things? I am letting my first world mindset get in the way, maybe thinking I can just run to Walmart or Target and grab those things. Just like we do when we gone on a weekend getaway, right? No biggie. Not where I’m going. I won’t have that luxury and I am okay with that. This trip is not about me and my comfort or desire to have clean teeth (instead of feeling like I have hairy teeth) or that I don’t stink, because I forgot deodorant. My team might alienate me at the breakfast table, but that’s ok.
What do you do when you are going away to serve God and his people? Perhaps you’ve volunteered to help with the Red Cross or Convoy of Hope when there has been a hurricane or some other natural disaster. Maybe you’ve had the opportunity to love and snuggle some children at an orphanage in Haiti. Or you’ve had a small part in teaching women in India simple skills like sewing so they can make money to sustain their family. I’d like know what your thoughts have been when you have been in that moment, face-to-face with a child or you’re praying with a young woman? Were you wondering if you packed everything you need or if you remembered your tooth brush?
So, right now, being the ordinary woman that I am, sitting here on my couch, trying to prepare my mind and body for a trip, the only thing I know to do is to rely on Jesus to provide. I want to leave myself wide open for him to use me, my hands and feet, for what he’s calling me to. I don’t want to let my human flesh get so wrapped up in the packing list or how much snacks I should take. I am allowing myself to just surrender before the Lord and I am just so grateful for this opportunity, this calling, I would leave today with just the clothes on my back. But, we have to be realistic, right?
I’m dealing with a little worldly dilemma here. Have you been in this place before? Yes, I want to make sure I’m packing Imodium AD in case I get diarrhea cha cha cha (as my sister so famously calls it). I want to make sure I have Pepto Bismol in case my tummy decides to go sideways. I want to have comfortable clothing because it’s going to be warm and humid. I feel like there are so many details: how to secure your passport, what to have in my backpack or carry-on, or will my suitcase be over fifty pounds?, that I am being lead away from the purpose of this trip for just a small moment of time. I am caught between relying fully on God and relying on myself. I feel stuck between “It will all be okay, I have time to pack and get things done” and “I’m procrastinating, get it done now!”
I think it might be the nervousness and excitement, the fear of the unknown, the fear of God that can be so overwhelming in and of itself, that is trying to get to me. It’s the “I’m scurred!” and the “I cannot wait to see what God is gonna do” feelings. It’s game time. It’s crunch time. We are finally only “days” away from this trip that we have been planning since February.
My faith assures me that these next few days of to-do’s and preparation are not going to amount to even a speck on a piece of paper compared to what God has already prepared for me and my tribe going on this trip. God has already paved the way for us. He has had this whole thing in his mind forever; yet, somehow, in all my time in prayer with him, he never once has said, “Don’t forget your toothbrush.” He simply tells me, “Follow me” and then, “Go.”
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
(Matthew 28: 18-20 NLT, emphasis mine)
So here we are. It’s “GO” time. Are you in a place where God is telling you to “GO”? What do you have on your mind right now? Share your preparation process. I’d like to encourage you, and I’m speaking to myself as well, to go with your to-do list, but be sure you take Jesus along with you in the whole process. Yes, be practical with your needs, but don’t forget about the magical process and purpose of your trip, with the number one reason: to serve our one and only God and his precious children. Let yourself be caught up in Him rather than wondering if you’re packing enough clothes or even the right outfits.
I am so thankful for the three gals that I get to serve with. They have given me such wonderful wisdom as to what to expect, what to pack, and how to prepare; but these ladies are also teaching me so much about trusting God and going in with the simple notion to just love him and to love his people. Period. God will show up with the rest. Isn’t that the greatest commandment anyway? “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Luke 10: 27 NLT) And maybe, “Don’t forget your toothbrush.”
Hugging you so tight,