Sunday, March 27, 2011

No Worries

When I was younger I had a tendency to worry.  I may be understating that a bit - I think I worried about everything even to the point of absurdity.  My mom likes to tell the story of when I was in junior high in full-blown meltdown because I had gotten a "B" in gym class.  I was so worried [read: hysterically crying] that that horrible grade was going to keep me from getting in to the college of my choice.  As it turns out, throwing a football through a hula hoop was not part of the application process for any of the schools I was applying for.  I sailed through college without ever having to throw a football.  Or take out a student loan, for that matter.  Take that junior high gym class teacher!

But there is a larger point here.  During my career as a worrier, my parents did their best to talk me down.  I vividly remember my dad coming to my room to pray with me on many occasions and, as he so often did, he used the truth of scripture to help bring guidance and peace to the situation.  He always used Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything through prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known before God.  All I could think was, "He just doesn't get it!  I'm not anxious for this stuff to happen - I don't want it to happen."  Eventually, I learned what the scripture meant - both the double meaning for anxious and how essential it is to "cast my cares" on God.  Maturing is a process...

I have learned - ever so slowly - that worrying about something does not help it, fix it, change it, or keep it from happening. It doesn't even make that something easier to deal with.  Even the Bible tells us to chill out, "...don't worry about what you're going to eat or wear; don't even worry about tomorrow because tomorrow has enough worries of its own."  I think it was when Shawn and I were first married and had no money that we fell asleep one night saying this verse over and over - that's when I had a worry breakthrough. It wasn't so much that I learned not to worry, it was that I learned to trust. 

On Thursday, we had our appointment at the Travel Clinic for a debrief on all the diseases we could pick up while in Africa and then to get vaccinated for any and all of those diseases.  In case you are unaware, there are A LOT of diseases you can get in Africa.  We were offered vaccinations for everything from typhoid to rabies.  And for better or for worse, the kids are too little for some of the vaccinations so we just have to be careful that they don't eat poorly cooked food or get bitten by a monkey.  I'll be honest, there was a wave of worry beginning to wash over me.  This trip was suddenly getting a bit too real and I had been in an ignorance-is-bliss sort of mode (about getting sick and especially about spiders.  I have purposed it in my heart not to think about the possibility of spiders until there is an actual spider) right up until the nurse slammed me with the double whammy of dengue fever and yellow fever.  I don't mind putting myself at risk, generally, but putting my babies in harm's way is a whole other story.  Because the kindness of God is unending, I felt him whisper, "Trust me. Just trust me."  There are simply too many things that are out of our control - in life in general, but especially with this impending upcoming trip.  We can do our best to plan and prepare, but when it comes down to it, if our trust is not firmly rooted in God, we will fall apart long before we print our first boarding pass.  

I'm not making any medical recommendations here, but we walked out of there only updating our Hepatitis A vaccinations.  We opted out of all the non-required shots, especially the rabies one, because even with the shot if you're bitten by something with rabies you still have to get more rabies shots.  Why do they even offer that??

Anyway, on the drive home, with my shoulder throbbing and the kids putting the stickers the nurse gave them all over the van,  I absolutely felt the peace that passes all understanding.  My brain is quick to remind me that this is a crazy adventure we're on, one full of potential danger and logistical snafus.  But, my spirit is confident that God is in this.  I know that I know that I know that this is the next step on our journey with God.  I am leaning my whole self into God, into his power, wisdom, and goodness.  I know that whatever he has on the other side of this experience is worth everything.  He is worth everything I am and have.  That is where I have put my trust.

My dad always said that someday I would write him a letter thanking him.  Well, consider it written, Dad.  Thanks for hiding God's Word in my heart and thanks for teaching me how to sweep with one hand and hold the dust pan with the other.  I'm going to change the world.

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