Eeeeek! It's Wednesday evening! Where is this week going? I am starting to feel alarmingly unprepared for the repacking of my suitcase and subsequent flight to Japan in 3 days time!
I think this is natural.
I hope it is.
I am, after all, as prepared as I can be.
I have my tickets printed off. I have some of my stuff already shipped. I have a great health insurance policy. I have a lift from the airport when I arrive. I have an instruction list about how to do things like open a bank account.
Today I even did some uni work…
But, still, in the pit of my stomach, I have that slight feeling that I have forgotten something.
Which I don't think I have. I really, really don't.
But it is a feeling, that I think is natural.
I've never moved to another country before. Not like this. The England to Scotland adventure might have officially made the list, but mentally, I was only a 12 hour drive away. A 12 hour flight? Yep. Feels bigger somehow.
Probably because it is.
But in thinking about how I feel right now, I recognise the emotion.
I remember the day before I got on a train with all my worldly possessions to leave the lofty heights of Derbyshire and begin a new life in Weston at 18 years old. I remember praying, 'What am I doing Lord? I only know one person in this town! I've never met the girl I'm going to live with! I don't know what I'm doing in my job! All my friends are going to uni and being students and You've taken me to this place? Don't You realise how small I am?!'
I felt like I'd forgotten something then too.
Or I remember the day I started work for Barnardo's up in Scotland. I sat in my car, feeling totally out of my depth, trying to calm my anxious-feeling heart and praying, 'What am I doing Lord? I'm a 23 year old church youth worker. I don't know how to manage this project. I don't know how I got this job! I am totally out of my depth. Why did You ask me to take on something so much bigger than me? Don't You realise how small I am?!'
I felt like I'd forgotten something then too.
Because that feeling of being a little overwhelmed, or nervous, or anxious, or 'What in the world am I doing?!?'…. I do think that's kind of normal.
But it's where we go with that. It's where our focus remains.
I often look back on the seasons when I felt totally out of my depth and realise that they were the seasons I grew the most in the areas that really mattered. In my faith. In my trust of God. In my character. In my daily battle to rest in Jesus over the things that man values.
Because right now, my honest prayer might be going a little bit like, 'What am I doing Lord? I'm giving up everything to move halfway around the world to a country where I can barely even speak the language! This feels so big and so hard sometimes! Holy Spirit, what are You even doing? Don't You realise how small I am?!'
But His answer, is the same as it always has been.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
And I am left again with the simple reflection that this is not just about me. There's something bigger going on. And yes, Jesus invites me into this adventure. But it doesn't end there. And seeking His kingdom and His righteousness… Well, that's the reason and the purpose and the beginning. But it doesn't end there. Because God's got this.
I am taken back again to the first time the guy I was learning Japanese from asked me to write the reasons that I was motivated for language learning down. I've blogged about this before, so I'll copy and paste… But he was full of warnings and guidance.
‘Lots of people start to learn a language’.
‘Few people continue it’.
‘Even fewer people embed it into their daily life’.
‘So write your motivation somewhere so that your resolve will not be shaken!’
It sounded a bit more like preparation for battle to be honest. (I think this was the point he also told me that I needed to ‘study’ for 5 hours a day, so maybe my memory might be slightly swayed…).
However, as an ever-obedient student-geek, in March 2012, I wrote it down:
I am learning Japanese because God has awakened me to. Because I want to love the children I see in my dreams; those who have been abused or sexually trafficked in Japan. I want to love through my actions, but also through my words. Because I want to see Holy Spirit break-out amongst one of the largest unreached people groups of the world. Because I long to be able to worship and preach naturally in another tongue as I live in real community, in real relationships. Because I will give my entire life to serve whatever people group Abba calls me to. And because the thought of seeing a culturally authentic Japanese prayer-room-movement stirs my heart in a way that puts me on my knees in intercession before the throne of God.
Yep. I suppose that although many things have changed throughout these last two years, that motivation still stays resolutely pinned in both my journal and my heart. I am different. More whole. More willing to change. More gentle somehow. Hopefully a little wiser.
But my heart still burns in intercession.
I still burn.
And seeking first His Kingdom, I will take a hold of the hand of my Father, and walk into this crazy adventure that He calls me to.
And that feeling in the pit of my stomach?
Well, that just reminds me that it's not about me and all about Him.
Which is the place where you really don't have to worry!
And here are a few of my favourite photos from the last couple of days! 🙂