Thursday, May 21, 2015

One Way Tickets

{Let me preface this post briefly...This is not what I intended to write about this week, however this is what won't stop begging to be put on paper...or screen. It is yet another raw post which could probably use a lot more polishing, revising, and finishing that I am not going to give it. I believe wholeheartedly in sharing posts like these as much as I possibly can. There is nothing I want my blog to be more than authentic. Always I want to write from the most honest places in myself...from exactly where I am. And I trust that Jesus can use me, right here and right now to somehow inspire "you" exactly where you are. So, forgive the scattered, emotional state of this post and do me the huge favor of embracing it for what it is and letting it find you where you are. Also. I apologize for leaving you hanging last Friday, I was rather elated and distracted by a weekend away with my best college pals. }

While I wasn't blogging last weekend I was...

                                     Tulsa with my bestie. 





                                                Saint Louis Zoo

Now...on with the blog. 

It's happening.
Cold Feet
Buyer's Remorse
Whatever you want to label it.

About a week ago I finally did it.
I purchased my one way ticket to Guadalajara, Mexico.

And ever since I have been waking up randomly in the middle of the night, heart racing, with about three zillion thoughts and fears and questions racing through my mind. Usually I wake up from a dream that is one of those thoughts or fears or questions playing itself out vividly as I attempt to sleep. Sometimes they catch me and paralyze me for a moment in the middle of my day as I am just going about regular old business.

What is it about one way tickets that does this to me?

It starts from the very beginning of the process...even just selecting "one way" when I am planning out my trip itinerary makes my chest tighten and spasm a bit.
I mean, when I think about it logically and rationally, it doesn't make much sense that I should be so freaked out by the concept of purchasing a ticket that only goes one way. After all, I could simply arrive at my destination and then just do the exact same thing in reverse....right?

But see, the planner in me panics at the idea of a plan being "incomplete." For my over analytical, organized, hyper-Type A self, purchasing a one way ticket means that the plan is incomplete somehow. The itinerary is only half and thus so are the plans. The thought of no return date or flight or plan overwhelms me. I won't be "coming home" or completing the trip. It just feels so unfinished and open ended.

Which is exactly how it should be.

Usually people purchase one way tickets for this exact reason. They haven't nailed down the plans for returning or they are unsure of when they will be able to get back. Maybe they need to get there and assess the situation or perhaps they are just looking to let things unfold any rate, one way tickets are made to be all of these things that I tend to dislike about them.

Oh the irony of me.

I suppose if it were just about getting there and then figuring out the best time to return or how much time I needed to fit in all of the fun adventures I didn't realize there would be, it might be a slightly different story.


Selecting that little round dot for me usually means something much more.

I am about to move my life to a brand new place. I am about to make a new city my home and form new friendships and habits and traditions. There are going to be challenges and glitches that I could not have planned for or expected. I will need to find new avenues of problem solving. I will find new norms and new routes and new special places to escape to and refresh. Lincoln will have a new favorite potty place and I will have a new favorite...well, everything. I will adjust to new bus routes and being completely immersed in a different language. I will have to make my way through a new set of cultural norms and navigate a social life in the midst of those...while also navigating a new career and attempting to bond with 15 or more foreign three-year-olds. I will need to find new places to buy groceries and clothes and develop a new plan of action for living a healthy lifestyle. I will need to learn about banking and budgeting on a new monetary system and somehow figure out how to stay connected with my life in the U.S. without spending a fortune on phone and data plans...

Needless to much is open ended and new and uncertain at the other end of my one way ticket. And I imagine that is why selecting that little dot scares me the most.

I don't love any of those things.

 I mean...there is a part of me that does. There is this deeper part of myself that longs to be an adventurer and to embrace all of the letting go and the brand new and the incomplete, unplanned uncertainty of it all....but there is this larger part of me (or at least it feels like the larger part of me) that is clawing its way to the top and choking my adventurous soul with all of the doubt and fear and questions. There's this part of myself that gives in to those moments that threaten to cripple me and send me running to hide under the covers.

And a lot of times that's exactly where I end up. "In the bathroom eating cookies and avoiding confrontation..." (Thank you New Girl for that ever appropriate reference to my life.) I find myself avoiding my e-mail inbox for days or "losing" my planner filled with daily to do lists. I lose myself in mindless trips to Target or weekends away with friends because I simply cannot face the reality of that one way ticket. Not now. Not today. I don't know when..

Don't get me wrong, I am THRILLED to be heading out on a new adventure. I am so excited for new culture and new memories and new challenges and new friends. I am honored to be obeying a call that is bigger than myself and that I don't yet grasp or understand. I am thankful to be following Jesus who knows the journey and allows me to walk it with Him.

But momentarily I am frozen. I am temporarily paralyzed by the practical, logical, human parts of myself.

Today I am just going to be honest and tell you that I am scared.
And for the rest of today, I am not going to try and talk myself out of it.

But also I am going to talk myself into trusting through my fear.
See. I think that is where I have gotten it wrong in the past. Jesus asks me to do something crazy for Him and it usually goes a lot like what I have described above. I get excited and then really, really terrified, but instead of embracing the part of me that is afraid, I feel guilty for it and quickly push it aside.

Last year, in the midst of my quarter-life sorting out season, a dear friend and mentor of mine wrote this to me in an e-mail:

"Have courage my young friend! Courage is when you know you are afraid (or nervous), but you decide to do the thing that frightens you anyway and seize the day. You have such an exuberant and inquisitive spirit that you will be delighted almost every day."

I have held onto that statement all year, but am only recently beginning to grasp what he really meant.

I don't need to feel guilty about being afraid. Being afraid is a natural part of the process and the journey. It's a very real part of life and for me a very real part of my call to foreign missions. It won't ever go away. Selecting "one way" will always be scary and the uncertainty of all that is to come when that plane skids across the runway in a brand new place will forever overwhelm me. It was terrifying when I left home to attend Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri, it was even more terrifying when I moved my life across the country to plant a church in Seattle, Washington, and so I should not be at all surprised that purchasing my one way ticket to Guadalajara produced the same heart gripping feeling.

The truth is that one way tickets will always be scary.
The truth is that it is uncertain and open-ended.
The truth is I am allowed to be scared.

But the greater truth is that Jesus has already gone ahead of me.
He took care of all of the uncertainties in Springfield.
He laid out every detail in Seattle.
And even now as type this post, He is south of the border in Guadalajara listening closely to my prayers, paying the utmost attention to all of my doubts and fears and worries, and planning to prove Himself faithful in the midst of them once again.

The greatest truth is that I can be afraid because life on my own will always be uncertain and scary but when I chose to live life with Jesus, the uncertainty and open-ended one way tickets became necessary parts of the grand adventure He has invited me on.

I can literally close my eyes and vividly remember lying in a hotel room the night before attending new student orientation at Central Bible College. I remember not being able to sleep gripped with the fear of hating it and not wanting to stay after I had convinced my family it was what I needed to do and purchased a one way ticket....I remember sobbing the entirety of my six hour flight from Pittsburgh to Seattle overwhelmed by the guilt I felt for leaving my mom all along in Ohio so soon after my daddy had passed away. I remember the fear I felt when I landed and realized how far I was from home. And when I board that plane to Mexico, another moment will etch itself into the history of me. I will remember the fear but also I will remember God's faithfulness on the other end every single time.

I suppose I can look at it this way...
One way tickets scare me to death, but I keep purchasing them.
How....? Why...?
Because Jesus.

Because I would rather keep selecting that little dot with my chest tightening and racing all the while, knowing I am living the richest, fullest, most adventurous life imaginable,  than to keep still in my comfort zone with my consistent, calm, steady heart beat, never knowing the thrill of life lived with Jesus.

On my own, a one way ticket would just be too much. The letting go of everything familiar, the embracing of everything brand new, the uncertainty of it all would permanently cripple me and leave me trapped in my comfort zone. But with Jesus, one way tickets are just another opportunity to trust Him and His character...another chance to realize that the only certainty or stability in life is found in Him. With Jesus I get to push through all of that fear and doubt and anxiety, throw all caution to the wind and enjoy life on His terms. 


1 comment:

  1. <3
    It's all worth it when we are doing it for Jesus. :)