Overcome by Fear

It is part of the human condition to be drawn to comfort and security. Donald Miller writes in his book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, about how women who often go back to the men who abused them because even though their situation was horrible, it was familiar. After all, people fear change. We fear things that are unfamiliar and risky.

I am flying to Thailand tomorrow morning.

I have to be honest, I find that there is a lot of fear and apprehension swirling around in my spirit right now. I do not feel much peace. I drove to Kansas City all day today. I didn’t want to leave home. In fact, I had not even made it out of South Dakota when I was trying to think of excuses I could have to make a U-turn and head back home.

In the fifth grade, we had to pick out a current news article and present it in front of the class. I remember one day when I was so nervous over getting up in front of my class, that I literally made myself sick. I had so much fear that my stomach started to hurt extremely bad. I think I may have even ended up trying to go home. I was completely overcome by fear.

That is kind of how I feel right now. It isn’t like I haven’t traveled before. I have even been out of the country before (to Europe, even to Africa when I was only seventeen). I know how to travel. I often brag that adaptability is one of my top strengths. I can’t exactly put my finger on why I feel so much fear this time. I think it probably has a lot to do with the fact that because I am going on this trip, I was only able to be home for about a week over Christmas. I miss home like crazy. I love being home with my mom, brother, and cats. Home is my favorite place. The lone fact that I was able to be home has been a blessing. The weather has been great, driving was easy (save for radiator trouble on the way home). I am blessed.

At the same time I know I should be enjoying these moments, I feel overcome by fear. I feel like I have reverted back into my fifth grade self. Yet, I still have all these conflicting thoughts because I know that I am not called to live shackled by fear. I am called to be living a greater story. Sometimes that involves situations which absolutely scare me. I am called to more than this fearful spirit. I know my God is the God of peace, who can calm my restless spirit. It is not always easy, but I think it is worth it. That’s what my mother told me this morning, when I was feeling sick and not wanting to leave. She told me that she has always thought it was worth it every time she had an opportunity to travel.

I look back on this year and I have done a lot that scared me. I went to Europe and I remember my stomach doing flops before I left for that trip. I stayed in Kansas to work for the summer, and even though I spent a lot of the time in the beginning crying because I wished I were home, I found that it was one of the best decisions I have made. Everything that I have done this year that has scared me and created fear in me, I have discovered that God has always been with me. Every scary step of the way.

It isn’t easy, but it is worth it. It isn’t easy, but I have God.

Donald Miller writes:

“It’s true that while ambition creates fear, it also creates the story. But it’s a good trade, because as soon as you point toward a horizon, life no longer feels meaningless. And suddenly there is risk in your story and a question about whether you’ll make it. You have a reason to get out of bed in the morning. I’d be lying if I said it was all fun. I definitely lost a few hours of sleep imagining myself collapsing on the Inca Trail, but it beat eating ice cream and watching television. I was doing something in real life. I’d stood up and pointed toward a horizon, and now I had to move, whether I wanted to or not.”

P.S. I will blog from Thailand as much as possible. However, I am not sure about my Wi-Fi availability the first several days. I will have Wi-Fi where I am staying in Bangkok for sure, but we will be in Chang Mai for a pre-trip, and I’m not sure how that will all work out. Also, I am only taking my iPad and typing long posts on my iPad makes me want to punch walls, so I am not guaranteeing anything.

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