When God first asked me to surrender my plans and go on the World Race, I came up with several reasons I shouldn’t go. I proceeded to present God with a list of all the reasons this was a bad idea.
1. I’m really not the “backpacking, camping, roughin’-it” type of girl. I’ve never slept in a tent for more than two consecutive nights, and now I’m supposed to carry a tent around with me and sleep in it for a month or more at a time? I like curling my hair. I like hot showers. And I love my bed. And my electric blanket. I’ve met cool, travel-round-the-world, play-guitar-by-the-campfire type nomads. I don’t count myself among them. In fact, after my study abroad experience last spring, I declared I didn’t think I’d ever again travel abroad for more than 3 weeks at a time.
But God. God reminded me that Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to receive his inheritance. He didn’t know where he was going, and he lived in… you guessed it… a tent. God is calling me out to receive my inheritance. He wants me to experience ministry and sacrifice and community and adventure. Most of all, He wants me to experience more of HIM. If His plan for my life includes cold bucket showers, squatty potties, and campfires, then that’s what I want. I want what He wants because I am confident His plans for my ife are far better than my own!
“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.” Hebrews 11:8-9
2. I have a boyfriend I love a whole bunch. He’s going to be here in Greenville. I’m not. Communication will be limited and unpredictable. I’m going to miss him. I don’t want to have to miss him!
But God. God has shown me that this trip isn’t just about God’s plan for my life; it’s about God’s plan for Grant’s life as well. If I stayed to keep from missing Grant, I would rob him of all the blessings God has waiting for him in the year ahead. I would rob him of the experience of depending on the Lord when it’s difficult. I would rob him of experiencing greater intimacy with his First Love in my absence. God wants to love on Grant in a new way while I’m gone, and what kind of love would I be showing if I tried to stand in the way of God’s glorious plans for him?
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11
3. I don’t really get excited at the thought of living in close spiritual community for eleven months. I’ve done it before for a shorter period of time and it was intense. It was painful. Sure, I grew a lot and learned a lot. But I also grew and learned a lot in high school, and there’s no way I want to repeat those years! I don’t like giving people the authority to call me out on my sin, and I don’t like my faults becoming magnified through close-quarter living.
But God. God has been redeeming my understanding of community. This year, He has given me a fresh taste of the joy of walking closely with other believers by providing me with new friendships and strengthening some old ones. He is showing me that when community is truly centered around Him, it brings joy, not hurt. It means never facing a spiritual struggle alone. It means grace exists for misunderstandings and grumpy attitudes. It means experiencing the joy of watching God radically change someone you love. It means shared excitement at the wonder of God. It means powerful times of prayer and worship.
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12
My good friend Kaleigh is preparing to go on The World Race, a mission trip to 11 countries in 11 months, this fall. Check back for updates on her preparations, as well as updates from around the world over the next year! — Tiffany