I’ve been in the Philippines a few weeks now, so I thought it was time I shared a little bit about my experiences in Asia Pacific.
First, a good adventure is almost entirely at the mercy of who you are with. I’ve been to some pretty spectacular places, but the view is made a thousand times more splendid when you are sharing it with who you love. I’m thankful to be sharing this trip with an incredible family. They have opened their homes and hearts to me and have provided me with an abundance of laughs and memories I will cherish for a lifetime. I recognize that it’s a very rare privilege to take a month off and travel to the other side of the planet at my age, and for that I thank my mother and my office manager and friend for covering my position and enabling me to have this experience. This has been such a gift to me and I don’t take for granted all the people who helped me get here.
Now, what have I been learning?
I come from a very small town full of wonderful people. It’s easy to become insulated in the safety of my community, my friends, my job, and my daily routine. The more you get comfortable, the less you see a reason to leave. I love traveling, but even for me, leaving for a month was a little difficult.
The week before I left, a very dear friend of mine was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident, and every piece of joy I felt was replaced with unimaginable sorrow. My friend was an only child and extremely close to his parents, and suddenly I was overcome with fear. What if something happened to me and I left my parents? Not only that but I was missing my friend’s funeral, and I felt like the worst friend in the world. The night before I left I was tormented with guilt and sadness for going. What else would I miss while I was away? Even as my first plane soared into the sunrise, I could barely hold back the tears as I imagined how pointless this trip must be.
It’s taken me a few weeks to be able to articulate this, but I don’t think this trip could have come at a better time. Yes, leaving means you will certainly miss things going on at home. Yes I wish I could have been at my friend’s funeral, yes, yes, yes, to all of the things you miss when you are away. But eventually you have to get to the point where your fear of staying is greater than your fear of leaving.
If I had stayed, I would have missed exploring WW2 bomb shelters on Corregidor Island. I would have missed staying at an enchanting bed and breakfast right out of a book. I would have missed touring the beginnings of a city in the Clark Freeport Zone. I am less afraid now, of missing the good things, because there are so many great things you can see when you release yourself from the confines of your comfort zone.
During my trip, something has been brewing in my soul. As much I’m loving the life in Asia, eating way too many mangoes and drinking way too much coconut water, this place does not hold my heart. The culture and the language of Latin America do. For at least a season I want to be there! My heart is torn between my beloved South, the place I want to raise a family, and the place where I feel so alive, in Spanish speaking countries!
I keep thinking it’s a phase and it will pass, but it doesn’t ever go away. You know that thing you’re so passionate about it keeps you up at night? You feel so alive when you are doing that thing, but something about devoting yourself entirely to it absolutely terrifies you? You are so scared of missing the will of God you stay put and wait for the writing on the wall before you take the big leap into the unknown?
Here’s a secret: most of the time you will not see the writing on the wall. Most of the time you will to activate this little thing called faith. It’s spelled R – I – S – K. God gave you two commandments: Love the Lord with all your heart soul mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. Then he fashioned you and set you free with all your idiosyncrasies and passions and quirks, and I believe He is so excited to see how you will uniquely serve him on the earth. Don’t let the fear of failure keep you from ever leaving your small town or chasing that God-given talent. Note: sometimes your small town is exactly where you need to be. 😉
Can I tell you a secret? I’ve been subconsciously or maybe even consciously staying put because I want someone to find me. My greatest desire in this life is to be a wife and mom, and I’m daily terrified of doing or not doing something that will keep me from being right where I need to be to meet him or be found by him. I’m by no means giving up, rather I’m choosing to place my trust in God rather than in the safety of my circumstances.
So here I am sitting in the Philippines (watching Seven Brides for Seven Brothers), planning and dreaming of a future in Latin America.
What’s the gist? You will never do anything or go anywhere as long as your excuses are bigger than your faith. And sometimes we have to trust God that no matter what corner of the earth we may find ourselves on, He hears our prayers and knows the desires of our hearts.
That’s all for now, folks. Thanks for reading, friends.