Lately I have been thinking a lot about fear. What scares you? What makes you nervous? What are you worried about? Though nervousness and worry are not the exact same thing, I feel like they all kind of tie into each other. If you're afraid of something, you probably worry about it and then you get nervous thinking that it might happen, etc., etc. Recently, with my upcoming mission trip (three weeks from tomorrow!!!), I've been thinking about the things I am afraid of...or worried about...or nervous about. Anyway, here's my list. Please read this to the end before you get all judgy. Trust me, it ends well. :)
I won't be able to brush my teeth with the faucet water. And if you've ever seen me brush my teeth, you know what a challenge this will be for me. Toothpaste suds are oozing down my arm, almost to my elbow every single time. I don't know how to stop it.
Right now, I wash my hands approximately 138,305 times a day. I'm probably pretty OCD about it, but whatever. We are supposed to use baby wipes to wash our hands while in Ethiopia. Since the water is not safe to drink, why would it be safe to put on your hands?
I also tend to get water in my mouth when I take a shower. It's the natural thing for me to do, I guess. No idea how I'm going to remember to keep my mouth closed when (if) I shower. Which brings me to my next one...
I take a shower every single day. And usually they are about 15 minutes long. I shampoo and condition my hair daily. I shave my legs every couple days, as well. I use more hot water than necessary. Typically in Ethiopia, there is no hot water. Or no water at all. Which means no showers most of the time.
I loathe bugs. And last night during our conference call, I discovered that there are massive amounts of ants that were crawling all over people during a trip that one of my teammates took there.
I take my own pillow and blankets to every hotel...even to family's houses. Obviously I won't be taking my own sleeping items to Africa with me.
I will have to put my toilet paper in a trashcan next to the toilet.
I have to carry toilet paper with me because most places will not have any in the bathrooms.
There are hyenas. Okay that's totally awesome and a little scary at the same time.
I have absolutely no idea how I am going to control my emotions. Every time I think about our trip, I get teary eyed. And I haven't even stepped onto African soil yet! I think that I am going to be so overcome with emotion that I really don't know if I can hold it in.
I also don't want to look silly if I pray for someone while I'm there. I am not someone that prays out loud here at home. I'm always worried about what other people will think. But that got me thinking that I want to make sure I don't miss any opportunities while I'm there. I don't want to not do something that God was calling me to do because I was afraid of what other people were going to think about me.
I realize that these are very petty issues. None of them really matter, which is why I'm going on this trip. If I were honestly worried, nervous or afraid about any of these things, I wouldn't be going. None of these things can stop me from travelling to a country that I love. None of these things will ever come in the way of me doing what I was meant to do for Christ. They are all such tiny, random things and they really don't matter.
It doesn't matter if I have toothpaste dripping down my arm.
It doesn't matter that I have to put my toilet paper in a trashcan.
It doesn't matter that I won't have the comforts of home.
It doesn't matter what other people think of me.
You know why it doesn't matter? Because that's not the point of this trip. The point is to be the hands and feet of Jesus. To go and serve. So why would my comfort level EVER be an issue? The good news is that it's not. Yes, I think about these things. I think about how different it will be while we are there, but it doesn't freak me out. It doesn't scare me. It doesn't make me nervous. It doesn't make me worried.
What does matter is what I do for Jesus.
What does matter is who I serve.
What does matter is how much I love.
What does matter is that I listen to the Spirit.
I want my entire trip to be Spirit-led. I want to only hear from Him. I want His voice to be the one that stomps out every other voice and if that means that I look ridiculous to some people, well so be it. I don't want to put Jesus in a box. I want to do EVERYTHING for Him.
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." -Isaiah 41:10
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear..." -1 John 4:18a
"For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline." -2 Timothy 1:7