“And further and further, my heart moves away from the shore. Whatever it looks like, whatever may come I am yours.” Bethel Music “In Over My Head (Crash Over Me)”
This was pretty much my anthem for 2016. I was moving away from the only place I had ever called home, leaving all of my close friends and family behind and setting sail on a new adventure with my husband. The beginning of 2016 was probably one of the most challenging times of my life. I had a homesickness that I had never experienced so intensely before. We were starting new jobs (which can be difficult on it own), in a new state (added difficulty), learning an entire science curriculum of classes to teach students (the difficulty continues), and training to become challenge course facilitators (for my first time ever).
I was so nervous and anxious about the challenge course portion for a couple reasons. 1. The only time I had ever personally participated in a challenge course was in grade school when my school went to camp Whitcomb-Mason and I think I refused to do the high ropes stuff. 2. The amount of responsibility placed on you to ensure safety made me so sick to think about. There were so many times that I wanted to back out– to call the camp and say that we wouldn’t be taking the positions after all, to stay with my family and friends and unpack all our stuff, to turn back during our move when everything was going wrong. I was so tempted to ask that I only teach the science courses so that I wouldn’t have to worry about the challenge courses at all.
But God tells us to not be afraid. I have experienced God’s peace so many times in my life and I knew that He would walk me through my fears and give me a peace about them. We believed so strongly that God was calling us to this work that I knew that my only choice was to step out in faith and trust God. With each new day and each training, God lessened my fears. Every time that I wanted to call it quits, I thought of this song. Whatever this new season of our lives looked like, whatever would come in this new place, did not change the fact that I am God’s and that I want what He has for my life.
In my human weakness, my tendency is to run from things that scare me or things that I don’t want to do- whether that is because I don’t think I can do it, I don’t want to do it, I don’t want to learn something new, whatever the reason. But God COMMANDS us to not be afraid. So many times God commands us to not be afraid. God says “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (Is. 41:10) We can rest assured that He is with us and that He will carry us through anything that stands in our way.
Looking back, I can confidently say that 2016 was one of the best years of my life. Through the fear, tears, and trials- God was there. I am more of the person He desires for me to be because of this experience.
Before we left for California, I decided (knowing my fear, doubts and worries) that “courage” was going to be my word of the year. And with God’s help, I was able to be courageous when I didn’t want to be or didn’t think I could be.
Being in California, we were able to drive to the Pacific coast really easily and did so often because it quickly became one of my favorite places. Watching the waves reminded me of the song and God’s goodness and promises. With each new adventure, I was asked to be courageous– to not hide in my comforts. And when I wanted to, I reminded myself of the lyrics to the song “whatever it looks like, whatever may come I am yours.” This life isn’t about me. It’s not about living comfortably. Its about growing, each and every day into the person that God wants you to be. The Lord is good! His goodness outlasts our fears, doubts and trials.
When has God asked you to move away from the shore and do something that scared you? What was the outcome?