Yesterday at church my pastor was sharing about the “Wind of God”, and how it often brings change, movement, and discomfort… Lately, He has been visiting my house with nearly hurricane force winds. I have 2 roommates, who also rank high on the list of my best friends, and these winds of change are blowing through all of our lives and taking us in very different directions. There is a lot of transition, and it is definitely uncomfortable!
As I began to clear out some of my belongings to make it easier to pack up my life and move in the next several months, reality began to hit hard. At times I get so excited about moving forward that I can hardly breath for the anticipation that swells in my chest. However, this past weekend I became aware that for every ounce of excitement and anticipation I feel about this move, I possess an equal amount of fear.
Fear is a strong word, but I have yet to think of better one. Oh, I’m not afraid of traveling by myself, flying, or even having some unexpected adventures along the way. (I’ve been to at least 28 countries, lived in Afghanistan, and have some fun stories I could tell.) And yet, I am afraid. It has taken me a while to figure out why, but I think I have finally found my answer… In my previous travels, I have almost always had a support system wherever I was going, certainly on the extended trips/moves. When I moved to Afghanistan, my brother’s family was there too.
This time is different because I am moving alone. But I’m friendly and outgoing, and I’ll meet people there, so it should be no big deal… Right? And now to my great fear: what if they don’t like me? What if I am not accepted in this place that I am called to? For an extrovert/verbal processor like myself, the options are to either find friends or go insane. Suddenly packing up my life and moving across the pond seems a bit more intimidating, even than moving to Afghanistan once did.
When I moved to Central Asia, I expected the culture shock that comes with learning a foreign language and way of life. The first time someone asked me if I was from the United States, I wondered if it was safe to admit that the answer was yes. (This was about 2 years after 9/11/2001.) And yet, I was welcomed with open arms by everyone I talked to. I was there to help, and they were grateful.
Now, as I look forward to my move to the Republic of Ireland and travels around the UK, I wonder about my response to my new surroundings. I’m going to another western nation, so I expect fewer cultural differences. However, sometimes those places are more difficult because there are the differences you never expect to encounter. I also wonder about the response I will get as I meet people. My roommates and I thoroughly enjoy BBC television and movies, and while I realize that the television/movies of that region probably represent the average residents about as well as Hollywood represents me (read “not at all”), a common portrayal of Americans in their entertainment is the loud, obnoxious, crude, and/or uncultured buffoon. Is that truly the perception I face as I travel there? I hope not.
Whatever the case, I know that God has opened this door for me to go to this part of the world that I love (though I’ve only ever visited the region once before). I also know that when He opens a door, He will take care of the details. It’s true that I don’t have family or friends in Ireland yet, but I trust that they are there and it will be fun to meet them when the time comes. 🙂
Thanks for reading about my (most likely irrational) fear. Sharing it with you has lessened the weight of it, and I am now feeling a rise in excitement again for the things that God has in store for me during the months to come!