“I don’t want to go!”
Standing in the kitchen, eyes fixed on each vehicle coming down the road, waiting for my ride, I almost couldn’t believe that those five little words popped into my head. My suitcase, carry-on and personal item bags were all carefully packed. My checklist had been checked and rechecked, nothing had been forgotten. Yet I couldn’t escape the fact that a part of me wasn’t excited.
My church has been sending people on mission trips with Casas for Cristo for a number of years. I had always said that someday I would like to go on one. But that’s the thing, someday can be elusive. It can be an excuse for putting off those things that you know God wants you to do. It doesn’t have to be as big a thing as a mission trip. It can be talking with your neighbor about Jesus, serving at a soup kitchen, volunteering to help in some manner at your church or local mission, or any number of things. When we put something in the “someday” category it is often so that we can have an excuse for not doing it. “Good intentions.”
Then, three months ago, I sat in church as the announcements cycled across the big screen. I can’t really put it clearly into words, but I just knew that I was supposed to go to Guatemala. I wasted no time in telling my wife that I felt that this was something I needed to do.
Money has always been a stressor for me—that is, not having any money. That’s a long story for another time. I knew that my church had a scholarship program for mission trips, so after notifying our “missions Guy” of my desire to go I asked if scholarships were available. He said “yes!”
After filling out a number of forms I began to pray that God would provide the money for me to go. Whatever didn’t come in the form of a scholarship would need to be raised, and that quickly. It seemed like forever before I got the email that I had received a full scholarship. I was ecstatic!
As more and more details about the trip came in I became more and more excited. So it caught me by surprise, there by the window, when I had the thought that I didn’t want to go.
I asked myself, “Why?”
I didn’t want to go because I’m an introvert. I didn’t want to go because I din’t know the language. I didn’t want to go because it would be uncomfortable. I would have to abandon my cushy existence on my couch… in front of the TV… in the air conditioning.
I needed to remind myself that mission trips are never about those going on the mission. They are about those being served. I needed to extract myself from my shell, step out from the shadows, and serve someone other than me for a change. Yes, I actively serve in my church. But those are people that I know.
Courage isn’t about confidence. Courage is about being scared but acting any way.
I was scared. I was intimidated by the scale of what lay before me. But one word brought my attention—and intention—back to focus. “Go….” (Matthew 28:19).