Is This a Good Idea?
Updated: Aug 14, 2020
In preparing to take a massive leap of faith, encouragement and discouragement have both come from the most surprising sources. I appreciate each of them as I know encouragement is filled with hope in success and discouragement is rooted in genuine concern....but I feel it important to address why some phrases of expressed concern can actually be a discouragement.
"So you're trying to move to a new country in the middle of a pandemic....and you really think that's a good idea?"
This sentence sums up a lot of what has been said or implied to me since I announced that I was moving forward with my plans to move to Nepal. And I get it, I really do! So maybe I can answer that question for those who have asked (and for those who have been afraid to)....
First, I would ask what constitutes a "good idea"? Is it about logic? If so, then the answer would be, no, this probably isn't a good idea. Is it about doing the right thing? If so, then I believe the answer would be yes, it's a great idea!
When I say "doing the right thing," I want to be clear that I am not implying that everyone needs to be doing what I am doing. What makes it "the right thing" for ME is that I believe in the deepest part of my being that I am taking this action out of obedience to God.
There are actually quite a lot of similarities between this season and when I went to Thailand. Very similarly, I almost audibly heard God telling me to go to Thailand. I had so much faith that I was supposed to go and that God would provide the way that it didn't matter to me if 20 people went with me or if I needed to go alone. I was 19. It didn't make logical sense. And it sure was a ROLLER COASTER. People joined and dropped from the team several times...until it was just me and one other friend. And when things would look good with one NGO (non-profits) for us to partner with, it seemed to always fall through. All the way up until a few days before we left for Thailand....we found out the people we were supposed to work with were in America and would not return to Thailand for a few months...which meant we had a place to sleep, but no "purpose" when we got there. Of course, that was until...
After a few days (maybe a few weeks, I can't remember), a girl we had met introduced us to some friends of hers who had a NGO helping children rescued from trafficking (major soft spot in my heart for this topic). They had been praying for female interns and we didn't find them in all of our research because they had only gone public in the last month leading up to our trip! Needless to say, God connected us and my heart remained full for the entirety of that trip....it was exactly what I felt Him calling me to/promising....even though it did not seem possible. So much learned in that season! About myself, ministry, Jesus, culture, etc. (And full transparency, it wasn't a "feel-good" season...I got angry with God and I told Him about it too. And you know what? He took it like a champ and showed me so much grace and mercy and compassion and made it one of the sweetest times of my life!)
And so. I had hoped God would take me back to where I left a huge piece of my heart! But when I moved back to the states after my visa expired...He sent me to SF instead. That also didn't make sense. And I won't get into that saga because it would legit be a book. But just know...God took me there and introduced me to His heart for Nepal through dear friends I made through ministry. Since then, I often would pray and ask God what His vision was for me and for Nepal and if it was time to go yet. The answer for 5+ years has been "wait."
That word makes me laugh sometimes. I remember one year, one of the elder's wives from my church in SF hosted all of the female leaders at her home for a Christmas/New Years gathering. She put so much time, thought, and energy into preparing for and praying for us. She went around the room giving each of us a word or two that she felt like the Lord had given her for us for the next year. It was sweet. She started going around the room and saying words and verses over people....things like joy, peace, breakthrough, hope, etc. So I'm sitting there getting excited for my word from the Lord....and then when she gets to me, she says "Darien, I felt like God gave me two words for you for the next year. (Yay! I get TWO words?!) The first is perseverance. The second is long-suffering. (Wait. What?!)" Umm....wait a minute. This isn't fun anymore! Haha. What happened to the words like "triumph" or "blessing"??!! As if "suffering" on it's own isn't bad enough sounding...we add the word "long" to it.... I'll be honest, I was scared.
But here's the thing. I fully believe God cares more about my character than my comfort. I'm not saying He wants me to be miserable or anything like that...but He cares enough about me to put me through trying times to make me better, stronger, more like Him! And the reality is that while He is all of the things like joy, peace, patience, gentleness, etc., He is ALSO all of the things like perseverance and long-suffering. The year after those words were spoken over me...I went through one of the hardest seasons of my life. Wanted to quit. DID quit. And yet, He never did. And I remembered those words. And Jesus drew closer to me. And I can't explain what happened except...God transformed my heart in that moment and it's never been quite the same since! (In a good way.)
I feel like those two words were not given just for one year, but for a lifetime. I am encouraged to persevere. To push through times and seasons of suffering. (Which, by the way, though they really are NOTHING compared to Jesus or many other people for that matter, they still matter to God and He is more than capable to handle ALL the things...even the ones we think we "should" be able to handle on our own.
Anyways, this is part of the background and season I am coming out of. And in moving beyond that season, I'm not gonna lie. I tend to believe things like "you thought about walking away from Jesus. He can't use you now. You have to wait until you're back where you were before He can do anything with you." Or "you were a leader and you failed. What makes you think you can do something now?" And I believe the lie that people "think less" of me because I broke. Only...that's not true and I don't want to be "back where I was," even on my best days. I've grown. I want to be better. And holding onto my "worst" moments can hold me back from pursuing His will if I let it. And the craziest thing is that in all actuality, God just reminded me and taught me more of Who He Is in those moments! Why, then, would I allow them to rule over me or be upset that I had to go through them?!
I could tell you all the ways God has spoken into or confirmed things, especially Nepal, for me, and maybe I will some day. (A lot of it is in the 20 minute Nepal video on my page if you have the time/interest). But the point I guess I'm trying to make is....In spending time with my Creator and seeking out His will for me....in trying to follow His footsteps wherever they would take me and WHENever they would take me there....I feel confident that He is sending me to Nepal. I believe this is the time in which He is sending me. And though I don't have all of the answers, He has given me a little bit of a blueprint and I'm trying to start building on it. And I know it doesn't make logical sense...but then again...that's kind of God's nature, isn't it? Parting seas, bringing people back to life, telling people to walk around a wall 7 days straight to take over a city, giving people children when they are in their nineties....THAT'S my God. And He hasn't changed. We have. So I'm learning to lean into and trust His Spirit's leading. I'm moving forward as things I believe He has promised will come to pass. And even if I'm wrong....what have I lost in the grand scheme of things? This earth is temporary. God is in control of my circumstances. If He changes the route or timeline, so be it. It doesn't mean He is any less good, that I didn't "hear" from Him, or that any time was wasted. I'm going to keep persevering. And in the long-suffering, I will continue to rejoice because I know Who suffers with me...and more importantly, I trust His goodness and His love for me.
All of that to say...to the people who are genuinely so precious to me, let's work more on encouraging and building each other up. Continuing to speak truth in love (which, btw, if you ever see something in me or my words that you feel are not in line with the heart of Christ or is not said from a place of love, please tell me about it. I never want pride to blur my vision!). Let's continue to bring light and joy into this insanely dark and broken world. Together.
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God." ~Colossians 3:16