Have you ever received mail from God? I mean literally – you go to your real, physical mailbox (the one at the end of your driveway, not the one on your computer or phone) and you pull out a card or letter and you knew instantly it was a message from God Himself.
I got one this week…seriously!
Here’s the back-story.
A couple of weeks ago I was praying about what God wanted me to contribute towards a friend’s upcoming mission trip expense. I knew I didn’t have much in the way of extra cash but I was willing to give whatever God lead me to do. As I prayed God reminded me that I had a $100 bill tucked away in my wallet. It was my Christmas gift from my parents (yes, I’ve really kept it since December 25th). I had a feeling when I received this gift it was meant for something special – something more than just a shopping trip to Target. So I tucked it away – waiting for the signal.
Was this the signal? I wasn’t quite clear on that. So I prayed more. At this same time our small group was completing a study that happened to be kicking my spiritual butt! I was struggling with breaking free of some strongholds that have been around much longer than I care to admit. Fear of rejection being at the top of the list.
What does all of this have to do with my $100 bill and a mission trip I wasn’t even going on, you may be asking? Well, I’ll tell you.
As I was talking through my “process” with a friend, out of the blue I was overcome with a strong sense that I was going to be part of a mission trip myself one day. I’ll be totally honest, a mission trip was not exactly at the top of my bucket list. Not that I have a problem with them. I just never saw myself as going on an adventure like that. I saw myself as a “keep-the-home-fires-burning-hold-down-the-fort-while-we’re-gone” type. And I was okay with that.
Suddenly I felt an overwhelming fear rising from the pit of my stomach. It was not a fear of traveling (I discovered a love for that last year). It was not even a fear of being sent to the “deepest, darkest Africa” – it boiled down to the fear of rejection.
You see, I’ve never had a passport. I never expected to have the opportunity to travel outside the United States. I never thought I would need to. Now I began to wonder if that was the real reason. What if I was hiding behind the lame excuse of no passport simply to provide protection for my heart if I was found to be an undesirable addition to a God-ordained, full-fledged Mission Trip? And if by chance I did get an invitation for the trip, could I risk having to ask for donations? What if no one contributed? How horrible would that be?
I felt like I had been punched in the gut. I found it hard to even breathe. I was NOT ready to go to that place…not yet. It was too painful. It was too new and too old at the same time. A wound that has been with me for many, many years but the healing is still in the very early stages.
Was God telling me to take that $100 bill and get a passport? After all, I knew that’s what it would cost. I’ve had my passport application filled out for a year and a half, with no idea how I would pay the fee or why I needed one in the first place. I was afraid to commit but I somehow also knew that I could trust God with my pain and fear. This was a “stake in the ground” moment.
You’d think that would be the end of it, wouldn’t you. Maybe for any normal person it would. But this is me we’re talking about. Not much normal to recognize.
Now came the actual “acting on the decision” part. And the excuses? Their name was Legion!
- Now where exactly is it I’m supposed to go to submit my application?
- Are there only certain days and hours I’m allowed to go?
- What if that doesn’t fit in my schedule? You know there are 3 of us sharing 2 cars for work and such…
- I have to have my picture made? Yuck! You know how I don’t love that!
- Where do they make passport photos?
- But the girl who does my hair is out on maternity and my roots are horrendous!
- Can this wait until I lose that 50 pounds and find that miracle make-up that removes 20 years?
- And I will stop here (but trust me, the list is actually endless…)
Now you are up to speed.
I pulled the card from the mailbox. It was a bulk mail postcard addressed to Postal Customer. Of course the words “Passport Team” and “near you” practically jumped off the page. I almost dropped the stinking card on the ground right there!
Yes, God is sending a special team of passport experts to a post office near me to process my application. Wait, that’s not all…they will actually take care of the blessed photo for an additional $15. And it gets even better…the date is exactly one week AFTER my make-up hair appointment! I won’t have to live with horrendous roots in a passport photo for the next ten years! (No word on the magic diet and make-up yet) And the special day is on a Saturday, so no worrying about work and transportation schedules.
Mr. Legion Excuses, you are defeated! I’m getting my passport! And a little piece of my heart is healing a bit. At this moment I don’t care if nobody wants me to go on a mission trip with them. And I’m not worrying about where the money will come from. This is an act of obedience by trusting God to be my Provider – in every way, everyday.
**Note: Please understand my use of the term “mission trip” is meant in the generally accepted sense. I believe that we are on mission every day we live, wherever we are. However, I also believe especially for Christians in the U.S., we need to experience a reality check of traveling outside our safe little bubble from time to time.**