Why is it whenever I write a blog post on something, a life-situation slaps me in the face, forcing me to choose between eating my words or living them out? God must have a sense of humor. It’s almost like He’s sitting up in heaven saying, “So you’re going to tell others about obedience, huh? About staying on track even when the climb hits a thirty degree slope? Let’s see how well you handle this one.”
Okay, so maybe God’s not quite so sarcastic. Perhaps challenging would be a better word. Or maybe He’s just trying to hold me accountable. There’s nothing like sending your “ought-to’s” across cyberspace to keep you on the straight and narrow. (I’m sure it won’t be long before that fit I threw in the Apple Store comes back to haunt me.) And lately, God is reminding me of all the lofty things I said about obedience.
Our church is going on a mission trip to El Salvador. I know, I know, most of you have probably been on a zillion mission trips. And I’m sure you had the time of your life. I’m a bit too reclusive-obsessive-compulsive-neurotic for those kinds of things. Give me a computer tucked in a far away bedroom and I’m good to go. Send me on a plane, to another country, to experience who-knows-what, eat who-knows-what, and sleep who-knows-where? Kinda gets my stomach churning.
For starters, I hate to fly. Like makes-me-wanna-vomit hate it. I haven’t flown in over seven years. So how did we get to Florida, Utah, South Carolina, and Washington D.C.? We drove. All nineteen or twenty-four, or whatever hours. And I’m sure my husband’s willingness to drive with me verges on enabling. Although we both console ourselves with the fact that we are saving three plane tickets, a car rental, and whatever else they’d charge in suitcase handling. Oh, and we don’t have to tip the baggage guy. Nope, still enabling.
And then there’s the whole food thing. I’m a recovered bulimic/anorexic. Started shedding the pounds when I was twelve. Didn’t stop dancing with the scale until my twenties. And although God’s done some amazing things—hmm, is gaining thirty-five pounds amazing? Okay, yeah, it is. Better to have a tire around the middle than chains around my neck, which is what an eating disorder is—self-imposed bondage. And although I no longer count calories or weigh food (oh, my. I’m getting a bit too personal here.) I still avoid hot-dogs and fried chicken like the plague. Unfortunately, I don’t think El Salvador will have chicken salads with low-fat dressing. (Would it be selfish to pray for that?)
And then there’s the whole anal-retentive side of my personality. Yes, I carry hand sanitizer and a tide stick in my purse and I’m all over those nice little wipies at the grocery store. And I could go on, but I’d rather not have a bunch of mental health professionals knocking on my door. (Even though I know your intentions in calling them would be good. Done in love, right?)
Now I bet you’re wondering, if this little jaunt causes me such heartburn, why am I going? Why not just write a check and call it good? First and most important reason—because my husband wants to go. Now, that may sound a bit 1920’s to you all, but I strongly believe my husband is the spiritual leader in our home. Not that he hoards this over me. Quite the contrary. My husband is the most loving, supportive man I have ever met. He continually puts his needs on the back burner to shower my daughter and I with love. But I do believe God will guide and protect our family through him. So when God speaks to him, I’m listening. With both ears.
The second reason? Because I recognize my fears to be petty. Here I’m freaking out about not having sanitizer, while the people we’re going to love on worry about whether or not they’ll have a meal the next day, or weather their rickety house will cave in on them while they’re sleeping. And it’s easy to remove myself from these people, or to justify my lack of action—whether they live in Haiti, El Salvador, Ethiopia, where ever—but God sees them. His love for them, each one of them, drove Him to the cross.
So today I’m taking that first step. I’m going to start working towards my passport. And I’m determined to follow this obedience thing to the end. If only my decision would make it to my queasy stomach, I’d be good to go.