So leading up to my DTS, I’ve been trying not to think too hard about what it’s actually going to be like. Some of that has been because I don’t want to limit what God wants to do with me or this trip by having too many ideas in my head about what it should be, some of it has been because thinking about it too hard stresses me out a little (mostly because it’s new and new can be scary, even if it’s exciting), and partly because I really just don’t know what to expect.
But now that I’m so close to leaving, I’m thinking it might be beneficial to jot down at least some of my thoughts if for no other reason than to have a record of what I was like/wanted/expected/etc. before I left as a comparison to what I’m going to be/look like/feel when I get home. I also want to mention a couple of cool “God things” that have happened already in preparation as an official record/praise report type thing. Also, just as an FYI, just because I am using numbered lists doesn’t mean they are in order beyond the order in which they came to mind while I was reflecting.
- God worked out timing with different jobs I had so that I was able to steadily work fewer and fewer hours the closer I got to my trip while still maintaining financial stability. The flexibility of my changing work schedules allowed me to take the time I needed to handle things like doctor’s visits, wisdom teeth problems and visa procedures in a timely and, at least as scheduling goes, almost stress-free manner.
- When I was too nervous/felt presumptuous/selfish/awkward in asking for prayer from a large group, God sent/brought my dad with me to an even larger group where he made sure I got prayer, even without me asking. This one was especially cool because I really, really wanted to be sent off in prayer, was pretty sure it wasn’t going to happen because I hadn’t asked, and because I secretly had hoped that it would somehow happen at this group. It also led to other people getting prayed for who needed it, so it was pretty cool to see God working on a big group of people and using my dad to help spark it. Thanks for stepping out/helping me, Dad!
- When I got a new laptop for the trip, the guy at Best Buy was actually from Europe, had done a ton of traveling and specifically helps college-aged students prepare for studying abroad. He was able to walk me through exactly what I needed and gave me some really great tips, including what to do with my phone even though I wasn’t going to be doing anything with it related to Best Buy. I was also able to get a ton of my stuff on sale, including the laptop itself, my laptop sleeve, my backpack and a few other things. To top it all off, the finances I needed for all of this stuff came in at almost the exact time I bought it, when I wasn’t even planning to buy a new laptop in the first place!
- In general, my finances and schedule have been incredibly blessed as I’ve prepared for this. I’ve had people donate financially, going above and beyond any generosity I was expecting, got an extra job I hadn’t even seen coming, and had numerous cases of discounts, sales, and generally cheap purchases. The drop in the value of the pound alone (though not a topic I want to delve into here) practically paid for the price of my plane tickets alone.
- I’ve also been super blessed with my schedule, the people who have come around me, and the people I’ve met. Any time I’ve had questions on things like insurance, computers, packing, etc., I’ve had so many wonderful friends, family or employees to help me out, and everyone has been so supportive of me. It’s really been a blessing to have that confirmation of being loved/valued and knowing that as sad/exciting as it is for me to go, I will be missed and have people who love me to come back to. I know there a lot of people out there who don’t have many of those relationships, if any, so it’s been such a blessing to me to know that I have those people in my life. God has just been so faithful and amazing even before I leave, so thank you God for being great!
- That I will come out of this knowing more of what God’s voice sounds like for me.
- That I will see and help in God changing lives through art, the spread of the gospel and other forms of life and ministry.
- That I will find a group of like-minded people that are going to come alongside me (and vice versa) to explore God and what He has for us.
- That I would belong or “fit in” with these people.
- That I will get a clearer picture of what God wants to do with my life/what steps I need to get there.
- That I will become more fearless in doing what God is calling me to do, primarily through the development of trust/knowing His voice.
- That areas that need work in my heart/life will be brought to the surface, exposed and confronted in healthy and constructive ways so that He can be strong in my weakness and glorified through it.
- That my relationship with God will go deeper than it ever has before, diving into areas of my life/heart that haven’t been as touched by Him as others and in stronger ways than ever before. That I would come out of this with a heart that burns for Jesus and is more deeply in love with Him than I could ever have imagined.
- That I won’t fit in. That I will be the “different” one again and feel like an outsider.
- Letting my expectations and hangups of who I am/how others view me get in the way of me moving forward. Letting past anxieties set the result for future experiences.
- Not putting in as much as I should, faith, expectations, etc.-wise for this time.
- Being distracted.
- Letting fear dictate my actions.
- Not hearing God or seeing the change I want.
- Being disappointed if I don’t find the “answers” to questions I have.
- Being too focused on “doing” rather than “being.”
- Letting a focus on my art get in the way of my relationship with God.
- Difficult experiences.
- Saying yes fully to God.
- Giving up my self.
- Getting frustrated if things don’t go/change “my way.”
- Not being able to handle the pressures of living in that close of a community.
- Having to confront my darker side.
- Not loving people the way I should.
- Letting others see my darker side.
- Not being able to run away or hide from difficult things.
- Safety in general.
- Not knowing what to do when I get home.
- Stagnating after I come home.
- Putting too much expectation on this trip.
- Falling into the trap of thinking this trip will make me a “good Christian” or keep me excited about God forever.
- Homesickness and having my family spread apart.
- That God is going to guide me through this time.
- That my life is going to be radically changed forever.
- That God’s way of doing things is going to differ from the way I would want to do things.
- That God is going to be faithful.
- That God is going to be graceful.
- That God is going to take care of whatever it is I put in his hands since it’s all His anyway.
- That I am going to experience God’s love for me and for people in ways I never could have known before.
- That God is going to teach me His voice and draw me closer to Him as I seek His face/plans/goodness/voice/etc.
- That my prayers will be met, even if it isn’t always in the way I would expect.
- That God is going to provide the next steps/resources/etc. that I need for this DTS and beyond. That He is going to protect us from the things we can’t handle, walk us through the things that we can, and turn us into a real family, good sides, dark sides and anything in between.
So, yeah, that’s where I am right now. If you could be praying into these things (or against them for the fears) for me, that would be much appreciated. I don’t know what my blog is going to look like for the next five months or so, so if you don’t see me around much, you’ll know why, but I do hope to keep contact with at least some of you guys! I should have access to internet at least some times, if not all, so if you want to pop in to Twitter, Facebook or email I’ll do my best to be responsive!
Thank you everyone! Hope you all have a wonderful five months!