I just booked almost all of my flights yesterday. I am so excited about this summer! While most of my travel that I will be doing before Ecuador is more just for pleasure rather than having some bigger purpose behind it I have been praying a lot that that time would not be frivolous or in vain.
So far, I will be leaving June 23 to go to palm beach florida and stay at Nicoles house with my girls from college for some much needed fellowship and hang out time. I fly out from palm beach on the 26th and fly to JFK where I get another flight a few hours later to Taiwan. I will spend a week in Taiwan with Jenna and then to from there to China for a week and then return a week later on august 9th to Taiwan where I will spend another week with Jenna before flying home. I will then arrive at JFK at 11:45 pm, camp out on the ground somewhere and then get my flight to California at 7:00 am at JFK the next morning where I will then arrive at California at 10:20 am very disheveled, exhausted, unshowered and half-dead…and I cant wait. Most people would call this crazy. I'm not sure I will argue with them. I then leave the second week of sep to go to Ecuador for 6 months.There is something in me that is so deeply excited about my trips and I know it is deeper than just my desire to travel. My heart is so convinced that God has so much he wants to do in me during this time and I absolutely can not wait to see what it is and how it is accomplished. Over the past few weeks I have spent time asking God what my vision and purpose for going on these trips should be, other than simply to enjoy the opportunities and life he has given me. I am utterly convinced that if Christ is not first my greatest adventure and second at the very center of every adventure I have then my time will be in vain and I will miss so many treasures Christ has for me to find during this time.
I believe Gods given me a heart to seek things out. In ways, I look at adventure as a way to understand God in deeper ways. I want to know and love my God as deeply as possible. What better way to do that then to understand different cultures, see his beautiful creation and engage with people who are so different from me and yet are all part of Gods kingdom. Its like the more I know about life and Gods creation the more I know of him. I find this beautiful. I look at adventure in so many ways as worship. There are so many reasons that make me so deeply passionate about travel and they seem to be somewhat abstractly floating around my brain fueling my desire to travel. That is why I have been asking God to help me to map this out and put these abstract feelings on paper so I can see my purpose and vision a bit better. These are some of the things I believe God and I have worked through together that I would like to see happen during my time away:
· Learn to be comfortably uncomfortable and joyfully broken and satisfied… This is very scary for me to pray because I know that means I will not be comfortable all the time. I don't like to be uncomfortable. I don't like that I don't like to be uncomfortable. I believe growing up as I have in America has given me a sense of entitlement to comfort that I think is completely contrary to the gospel. We are not called to live comfortable lives and we certainly do not DESERVE comfortable lives. I want to learn to be comfortable living an uncomfortable life. I want to know what it is to be satisfied and joyful while broken. This I have learned a great deal of while going through trials the past few years… but Its something I know needs to continue to be refined in me.
· Understand beauty in humanity in deeper ways and walk into deeper worship as I see more of Gods creation, as well as be better equipped to love people and God better as a result of experiencing them both in deeper ways.
· Understand community and NEED and reliance on community in deeper ways… I can not wait to live in a small village in Ecuador where people depend on each other and live life along side each other. I know I have SO much to learn from them.
· Be better equipped to counsel and walk beside broken people as I gain a broader understanding of humanity from seeing life lived out in so many different ways.
· Learn to be and not to do… I want to learn what it is to live life intentionally while at the same time not living like things depend on me. They don't. They depend on God. I give myself way to much credit for success and am way to hard on myself for failure. I am a vessel that God works through and I need to understand this. I need to learn to trust and rely on God and rest in him. I want to learn to simply be. To love God and abide in him and for all else to effortlessly flow out of that intimate relationship with Christ.
· Learn to pray like my life depends on it and truly live like I believe in its power. I believe in the power of prayer and I always am prayerful but when you have everything you need its hard to pray like you are desperate. I find myself more just talking to God than really pleading with him in power on behalf of others and myself. I do have times of intense prayer… but they are not nearly as often as I would like. This is something I am always wanting to work on and I don't plan on waiting till my trips to keep growing in my prayer life, however, I somehow think that being in a place where I don't have the ease and accommodations I have in America will force me to depend on God to provide…because there is no other provision. That scares me and excites me beyond belief at the same time. I can not wait to see the ways God comes through for me when I have no other options. I am just so excited about seeing how God will move.
So these are some of the things I hope to grow in as I travel. I am sure God will have many other things on the agenda as well. I don't care what happens to me, whether easy or hard. In the end I don't really care what I do don't learn, or do or don't accomplish. I am willing to throw out my agenda and all the things Id like to grow in or do. In the end all I really want is that when I come back I have more of Christ and love him in deeper ways. If I come back knowing and loving God more… my trips have been a success. I feel so blessed to have these opportunities and im just really excited about how Gods going to move in my life…even if im a bit scared that some of these lessons will not be comfortable.