Everything you ever wanted is on the other side of fear




Taking a 7 week trip to another continent isn't easy.

Sure, from afar it sounds exotic and glamorous and magical, which is exactly how I felt when we originally booked our tickets 9 months ago and began planning. Back then, it felt like a dream, like no amount of planning or preparation was going to make it real. Anyone who knows me, knows I love to travel. I thought 7 weeks was the ultimate indulgence-- like when you're gone for two weeks and wish, "I just want to stay a little bit longer!" Somewhere, in the back of my mind, I didn't think the trip was actually going to occur but I would have fun planning it anyway.

And yet, we progressed. The months inched closer, the hotels were booked, the car was rented, and then the anxiety kicked in... with full force.



It's been a constant battle for me to surrender my times of anxiousness to the Lord and allow peace to wash over me. The enemy knows where I am weakest. Weeks before this trip the anxiety doubled, tripled and quadrupled to a degree I had never quite experienced. I got to a point where I literally asked Timothy, a week before we were supposed to leave, if we could cancel it. I cried for at least an hour and walked around in a zombie-fied state, wondering if I was making the biggest mistake of my life leaving my new home in Oregon to explore another part of the world, totally inexperienced, for 7 weeks. No amount of reading guidebooks and travel blogs had prepared me emotionally for what leaving my home behind for that long meant. I wasn't looking forward to the trip and I wanted nothing more than to stay home in my comfortable new house with my predictable life that I had an element of control over and spend all summer reading and resting. Of course, Timothy said "heck no."

I realize as I'm typing this that many of you have experienced far greater challenges in leaving home behind or traveling to a foreign country before (heck, our own exchange student left Sweden for a year to stay in America), so I am by no means trying to act like mine was any greater struggle. We're talking about Western Europe, too. However, for me, leaving home for 7 weeks was as much of a real issue of surrendering fear as anything might be for someone else. Fear is fear.



As the days led up to our trip, I operated towards friends and family as if I was saying "goodbye" for the last time. (I'm not kidding). My narcissistic thoughts acted like they were reality (which is something that I really learned how to let go of during this trip). I was afraid to think things because I was afraid that what I thought would come through.

Trust me when I say that if you watched our trip from a distance and began a sentence with, "That's great for them, but I would be afraid that..."

whatever your "afraid of" thing was, I feared it.



I feared our plane crashing (all legs and journeys)
I feared getting kidnapped
I feared getting sick
I feared getting food poisoning
I feared getting mugged
I feared losing our passports
I feared losing our money
I feared our home burning down
I feared our home getting robbed
I feared getting in a car accident
I feared our aerial tram crashing down the mountainside
I feared our suitcases getting lost
I feared experiencing terrorism


I feared so much that I never focused on all the good that could happen on this trip and spent my energies and emotions worrying about what could go wrong. I didn't look forward to our trip until the second our feet landed on European soil.


A couple of days before our trip I found this poster online that says, "Everything you ever wanted is on the other side of fear." It immediately resonated with me and I bought it, framed it, and hung it over my bed so it would be the last thing I saw every night and the last thing I saw as I walked out the door each morning.

Even though I felt like a zombie for a couple of days before we left, just going through the motions and "seeing" if everything would work out, I prayed and also reminded myself of that quote: "Everything you ever wanted is on the other side of fear." Instead of freaking out during the flight, being afraid the plane was going to crash, I focused my thoughts on, "Well, what if it doesn't?"

Anytime during our trip that a fear or worry popped into my head about what could go wrong, I thought, "Well, what if it doesn't?" "What if this person/thing/experience/meal/city ends up being beyond my wildest dreams and expectations? Everything I have ever wanted is on the other side of fear, which wants to hold me back."

And you know what, my experience and anxieties were transformed.


I can't tell you how many times fear or worry tried to creep in during our trip. We were constantly in situations of uncomfortability, unknowns, vulnerability and insane amounts of trust in God and other people. But I just reminded myself of that, "Everything you ever wanted is on the other side of fear." and 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and sound mind."



Guess what?

Our planes didn't crash.
We didn't get kidnapped
We didn't get sick
We didn't get food poisoning
We didn't get mugged
We didn't lose our passports
We didn't lose our money
Our home didn't burn down
Our home didn't get robbed
We didn't get in a car accident
Our tram didn't crash down the mountainside
Our suitcases didn't get lost
We didn't experience terrorism


Instead, we experienced:

Incredible memories we will never forget
New friends from around the world
Life lessons we will pass to our children
New traditions we will implement
A renewed sense of commitment to each other




I realize that not everyone has the opportunity to take a trip like we did and we recognize that we are blessed and fortunate beyond measure that it presented itself to us the way it did and we had the time and ability to travel that way. However, fear and holding back isn't limited to just big trips to Europe, but anything in our life that we say, "Yeah that's for you, but I'd be afraid that..." or, "There's no way I could..."


Because really, everything you ever wanted is on the other side of fear.



4 comments:

  1. I am so proud of the personal journey (disguised as traveling) you have taken. God knew just what He was doing....💜

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ugh...those were supposed to be hearts...

      Delete
    2. Ugh...those were supposed to be hearts...

      Delete
  2. I am so proud of the personal journey (disguised as traveling) you have taken. God knew just what He was doing....💜

    ReplyDelete

 
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