This next semester will no doubt be different than my past few semesters at Furman. At the beginning of last week, I sat next to my mom in the Nashville airport as I stared hesitantly at the security line. Nineteen weeks. That’s a really long time.
My thoughts were consumed by a terrifying timeline and the chance that I might not enjoy the months ahead.
After yet another pep talk from Mindy, I strapped on my backpack and walked away, feeling the all-familiar lump form tightly in the back of my throat. As I approached the TSA checkpoint, I read the sign demanding me to leave behind any weapons and to strip myself of any liquids or aerosol gels. As I untied my new hiking boots and took off my extraordinarily large winter coat (soon to become my best friend), I heard the Lord gently whisper additional requests. Along with my boots and coat, He asked me to untie my perfect plans and to take off my fear, one that seemed to be suffocating me like a bad turtleneck.
I promptly denied and continued to unlace my boots.
Upon arriving in Edinburgh, I became familiar with the feeling of my stomach sinking every time I realized this was not going to be a week-long vacation. To be honest, I was frustrated with myself. I wanted nothing more than to be racing up the steps to the Edinburgh Castle and signing up for bagpiping lessons. Rather, I was allowing my fears to fester and ignoring any sign of God’s tender whisper.
Sunday morning, I sat in my first church service in Scotland. Attending a beautiful cathedral blocks away from my flat, I listened to the Scottish pastor speak about the power of fear. He said that emboldening our fear increases the size of our problems and reduces the size of God. I quickly realized that I have reduced my God to perhaps the size of a Polly Pocket and shoved Him into my wallet.
As I walked back to what is my home for these upcoming months, I had a conversation with Jesus, pleading with Him to accompany me on my journey, to bring me joy and peace, to strip me of the fear that feels woven into the threads of my sweaters, even.
At the end of week one, I am happy to say that I look back on a week of victories. A week of discovery in a new city, of laughter with some of my best friends, of excitement in what lies ahead. A week spent attempting to open my palms and force fear to tremble in the light of His glory.
Beginning a new week, I am excited about the journey that Jesus and I are embarking upon. No doubt there will be moments of relapse and no doubt I will be consistently calling upon the grace of the Lord. But I am happy to say that I know with certainty that my God is not the size of a Polly Pocket.
How could He be?
If you would like to join Jesus and I on this journey, I would love for you to walk alongside me in prayer. This week, if willing, I ask for you to plead with me; plead for the freedom from fear.
I would love to return the favor. Turns out Scotland is a city requesting long bus rides and even longer walks. If you have something I can be praying for this week, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org . It’s a sobering realization that the same God I find outside bus stop #8 is riding with you down your local highway.
In these upcoming posts, I cannot promise consistency. But I do promise to be genuine, as I challenge you to be genuine before others and before the Lord as we dive into the new year.