October 18, 2013
There have been two things I haven’t been able to shake from my mind for the past couple of months. One is the song, Oceans, by Hillsong United. The other is the World Race.
Oceans has been speaking to me because of its focus on the unknown and all the fear and mystery that surrounds it. As I look past approaching graduation, that is all I see: the unknown. And I feel the fear of the mystery that surrounds it. I love this song because it professes God’s guidance and faithfulness being strongest in these times, which gives me great peace and even excitement about the mysterious abyss that lies before me.
I also love this song because it reflects the nature of my favorite Bible verse, Psalm 139:9-10. “If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.”
It seems fitting, then, that this song has been playing on loop in my mind as my attention has been returned over and over to the World Race. If you don’t know, the World Race is a mission trip organized by the Adventures in Missions program that takes you to 11 countries across the world in 11 months. “Racers” take a backpack loaded with a tent and a sleeping bag and they spend a month in each country meeting the needs specific to that area.
Anyone who knows me at all knows that nothing could sound more exciting to me than to take off across the world and rough it while sharing the love of Jesus. It’s the perfect blend of my two greatest passions: missions and adventure.
Despite my initial interest in an opportunity like this, there are several reasons that I have buried it in the back of my mind over the past year and not considered it for myself. With every great adventure comes some form of doubt. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t be much of an adventure. This particular adventure surfaces several fears:
- Career. It is hard to ignore the professors and professionals shouting at us the importance of being proactive about acquiring as much experience as possible as quickly as possible in order to secure those things that earn a living: jobs. What would a year-long break do to my career path? It would be nearly impossible to secure a job while on the field and by the time I got back all opportunities would surely be filled by new ambitious college graduates.
- Education. I haven’t yet dismissed the possibility of continuing my education further. I can say with confidence that Grad school is not my desire of the moment, but seminary is not out of the question yet. And if I’m ever going to commit to another few years of schooling, the sooner the better.
- Debt. Speaking of education….do student loans have to be paid back? Because I’m pretty sure without that career that I first mentioned, my first bit of education may not get paid off in an acceptable timeframe.
- Relationships. Okay, so I don’t write about relationships much, and I’m rolling my eyes at myself for mentioning it now, but I am a 21 year old girl. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t consider at least once what a year off the map would do to my fairytale dreams.
- Family. I’ve learned over the past couple of years that a lot can happen in a few months time and without much warning. Of course I would miss them, but more so, I would worry about them.
- Judgement. I fear the judgement of the skeptics of the World Race. I know them because I used to be one. I remember having a conversation a little over a year ago about the Race and how it wasn’t a true representation of the heart of missions and it was a self-serving trip for those who wanted to go on an adventure. I believe I was a fool to believe that I had the right to make assumptions about a stranger’s intentions and to doubt God’s ability to use any type of trip to bring Him glory. I’ve already had to answer tough questions about my own intentions behind choosing this as opposed to a one location trip and I know I will have to answer many more.
- $15,500. Have I mentioned that this is the cost of the World Race? I think this one speaks for itself. The first time I saw the price I laughed and closed the web browser I was using. God then laughed at me and told me my faith was small. He is right. Fundraising is one my least favorite things in the world and came very close to stopping me from ever considering the Race again.
Believe it or not, these are just a few of the fears I have surrounding the World Race. But I have been praying for God to lead me where my trust is without borders. I’ve always pictured geographical borders when I sing this, but I’ve come to realize that borders on a map don’t scare me. If anything, they entice me to cross them. But these fears, these are borders that threaten to fence me in and keep me here when God is calling me out there.
These borders only exist in my mind. Why should I worry about my career path when I don’t even know what I want to do yet? And I daresay I would learn a great deal more on the mission field than in a classroom for another year. All good things are worth the wait, and any good relationship would be no exception. I’ve been away from my family in difficult times before and I could do it again, and I can’t prevent life from happening just by sticking around. I may be judged or questioned for choosing to go on such a long short-term mission trip, but God knows my heart and can open the minds of others as He did mine. And last, but not least. Jehova Jireh. The Lord provides. If I can trust Him with my entire life, what is money to Him? If this is what He is calling me to, I have no doubt He will provide the means to get me there.
Right now I feel like this is where God is calling me. Across deep oceans, past where my feet would wander on their own. I believe that God gives us passions for a reason and I hope to use mine for His glory and purpose.
I can’t say that this path won’t change and I won’t be doing something completely different next year, but whether it’s this or if it’s something else, my trust in His guidance has no borders.
And for that reason I submitted my World Race application today.
“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior”