When We are Faithless...and Fearful (Chronicles of Belizean Adventures)

10:06 AMHeather

Hey--just a note of warning.  When you find yourself facing fears and anxiety and fighting a sense of dread, struggling to convince yourself to step out of your comfort zone, I've learned what should NOT be part of that equation.

Your child coming in the night before your big departure, crying HYSTERICALLY because of the nightmare she just had.  With sobs that make her muttering unintelligible, you finally get hear what her nightmare was.

Gulp.

That you never made it home from the trip that you are convincing yourself will be a-okay.  The one far from home, with no one you know and all sorts of crazy fearful thoughts haunting you.

Yep.  It's a kill-joy to say the least.  Or a fear feeder, I should say.  

Listen, I WISH I could say that I was all sunshine and roses and ready to conquer the world I was about to enter on Friday, October 3 when I set off for my first international mission trip, headed to Belize.

But, I cannot lie to you, bloggy friends.

I was terrified.  That may sound ridiculous to some of you brave souls who have long intimidated me.  But it's the truth.

So my daughter puddling with great fears and nightmares about my demise really was not what I needed.  My husband surely saw the look on my face as he quickly instructed our girl to give me a quick kiss because she'd see me in a few days and then he rushed ushered her out of our room.  Looking back over his shoulder, he threw out a, "Hey--it's just a dream!  Go on to sleep, babe.  It's all going to be fine."

Really?  Really?  What if our daughter is some modern day Joseph?  With dreams predicting the future? 

And so, I attempted to sleep and to continue to convince myself.  

But the truth was that I was suffering from a severe case of feeling chicken.  Fearful.  Faithless.  Anxiety has been a lifelong foe, in case you missed that memo about me.  

My husband returned to play some Scripture on his audible Bible, which I've found has been quite effective in lulling me to sleep when I'm troubled.  

I fell asleep reminding myself how this trip lined up initially--before the only person I knew on the trip had to back out.  I fell asleep reminding myself it was time to do it.  Just do it!  Be like Nike.  

I woke up with stomach churning and a shaky resolve.  In that spirit, I quickly shooed my husband from the security line when he dropped me off at dark thirty.  I knew a lingering good-bye would only make me cry.  I bit my lip and headed on, fighting back tears.  

As I reached my gate, feeling there was no turning back now, the sun began to rise.

A wink from heaven.  

Reminding me of His new mercies for each day.  To which I was claiming and clinging. 

Listen, I don't know where each of you are in life.  But, I think maybe I'm not alone in facing a situation with fear and trepidation.  The giant of a situation calling down any sense of faith or power or assurance.  I know in the big picture that my own little giant of this trip was not a big deal...when some of you are facing a health crisis or ongoing struggles with mental health issues or relationship struggles.

So maybe our circumstances are not the same.  But, our God is.  And so, I am writing this rather detailed post about the start of my trip to Belize.  (And, I promise that I will not drag out every detail of the 6 day trip for you faithful readers).

But there it was.  The light of a new day, beautiful and fresh and reassuring...breaking into my fear.  Giving me the courage to get on that darn plane and GO.

That would have been enough.  If God had only given me that one little sign of his faithfulness, it would have been enough.  Should have been enough. Oh, but how God goes beyond good enough. 

Because I have got to tell you what happened next.  

I've been very slowly reading Christine Caine's book Undaunted: Daring to Do What God Calls You to Do.  Real slowly.  So as the plane took off, I distracted myself with mindless magazines that a friend had given me.  Having read them all cover to cover, I decided it was time to chew on the deep stuff, and I pulled up Undaunted on my Kindle app.

You are not going to believe the chapter that I had come to.

"God knows my FEAR."

Oh, yes.  And to make it even better, the chapter begins with a retelling of a story of fear whilst flying on a plane.

Isn't God funny that way?  To sorta hit you over the head sometimes?  To throw an exclamation point on your stubborn struggle, lovingly and with grace addressing your own humanness? 

It is as if Christine Caine knows me and wrote this chapter specifically for that exact moment, as I sat on a plane, heading into the unknown, fighting back fears.  Just check out these sections that I highlighted.

"...For me, there is nothing simple about complete, unquestioning trust, and I've wrestled with God over this much of my life. Even now, after decades of seeing how God never leaves nor forsakes us and always works all things together for good, I catch myself having to consciously choose to trust."

"...When you allow fear to dictate how you spend your days, you allow life to pass you by...When you let fear run your life, you close yourself off from anything that might hurt or cost or make you uncomfortable -- including opportunities to serve God and claim his promises."

And, I kid you not...THIS.  Seriously.  THIS.  At that exact moment...

"...You don't allow yourself to consider the mission trip you would love to participate in because you fear the unknown in a faraway land."

Oh, yes, bloggy friends.  I pray that you are encouraged, in your own battle with fear and anxiety.  I pray that you see what I saw.

If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.  2 Timothy 2:13 

Whatever plane you are being dared to board, whatever trip you are feeling challenged to take, whatever circumstance you have nightmares about, I pray you are encouraged.  

Because our compassionate Father knows that we are formed but of dust (Psalm 103:13-14). 

He doesn't laugh.  Or roll his eyes.  Or say, "For the love.  It's just a few days helping some people.  Get over yourself." 

Not at all.  He paints the sky with brilliant colors and leads you to words that pierce your fearful soul.  To let you know that His faithfulness does not depend on your faith. 

He says instead, look at me!  Don't fix your gaze on the seen.  SET YOUR EYES on the UNSEEN.

"...When Jesus asks, Do you love me? he is also saying: Then keep your eyes on me.  Keep believing in what I have created you to do.  Turn over your fear, and hold fast to faith in me.  Replace that fear -- fear that I did not give you -- with the love, power, and sound mind that I have given you.  Know that my presence is your antidote to fear" (Christine Caine, Undaunted).

Peace washed over me.  God had shown up, in my faithless and fearful state, and he reminded me that he is faithful.  And he was taking this adventure with me.  

An adventure that I am so excited to share with you here.  Because, as Undaunted declares, "When we keep our eyes on Him...we go places we never imagined without sinking or being swallowed by our own fears." 

The places I was about to go.  The things I was about to experience.

It's good stuff.

May I never be the same. 

Stay tuned!

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