Six months from today I will be in France. And that’s scary.
In six months I will be in a different culture, with completely different people. There will be different customs, different expectations and different ways I will have to live in order to adapt to them.
But today, while I was having my daily panic/excited thoughts about my upcoming adventure, I was reminded of something a teacher I had in college used to say: “Don’t be scared, be prepared.”
With the Olympic games going on right now, athletics seem to be the go-to for life analogies, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s only one time, every four years, that these athletes have an opportunity to showcase their absolute best. And, if you asked most of them, you would find out that they have been training for this moment their whole lives. Similarly, in everyday life, we have to start training for goals long before we find ourselves standing in front of them.
Unfortunately, it’s pretty easy to see goals as far off expectations; things we can think about when we get to them. But the challenge is to start running long before we ever see the start line of a marathon. Yesterday I was reminded of this while, in church, we were talking about living the present with the hope that our future reality brings.
We don’t know what exactly lies for us in the future. For me there are still a lot of undetermined variables that go along with the huge move I’m about to make. There’s paperwork, translators, classes, packing and numerous other aspects. But, what drives me in the now is the hope of change in my future, and it takes constant reminders to remember that there is an end goal I am working toward.
Because, ultimately, I have the option to do one of two things:
1. Panic and shut down because the obstacle looks too large to conquer.
2. Start preparing myself now, so that when I reach those obstacles I’m prepared to conquer them.
If you know you will need to run a marathon months away, you start training now in order to be ready. You start running now. You start logging your hours now. You start living in preparation of the future while you are still in the present.
The people who are the most successful are the people who begin with what they have and work toward what they want. It’s easy for me to look at goals, such as learning another language fluently, or successfully living and helping take care of a family I’ve never physically met, as mountains I don’t even begin to know how to climb.
But, when I start going into freak out mode, I remind myself of the promise for hope in my future. One of my favorite bible verses is Deuteronomy 31:8:
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Discouragement is one of the biggest battles when you’re fighting toward change in your life. There’s always going to be the negative input from outside and inside telling you you’ll never make it, or the challenge is too hard. But, when I start to listen to these voices, I take a minute and stop to remind myself that I will NEVER be left or forsaken and that discouragement and fear are not of God, and therefore of absolutely no interest to me.
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
It’s crazy, the power of words. They are essential to reminding us of our identity and our rite to live a life of freedom. They allow us to remember the promises of the future, by looking into the histories of our past. And allow us to work toward goals that are so much bigger than our comfort zones.
Six months from today I will be in France. And that’s scary. But fear is only an emotion – one I am not willing to allow to control, taint or command my actions or decisions. I live my life turned toward the reality of serving a God who promises me strength for today and a bright hope for tomorrow…and six months from now.
“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” – Karim Seddik