By Beth Winze
It’s finally May, which means that I am creating this blog post in the midst of studying for my final exams and trying to keep myself calm. It’s also move out week, which means I have a lot of good-byes coming up. Hard. But since it is finally May, I can also tell people that at the end of this month, I will be flying to Costa Rica to live. Woah. Since first deciding to go and making the first downpayment, it has been nothing but a roller coaster of strange emotions. Some are irrational fears, and others are very rational bouts excitement. I was talking to a dear friend of mine yesterday about my fears for the trip and he said the most precise thing that describes the emotion. “It’s (the trip) staring you right in the face and you are anxious enough that it gives you a sense of fear, but you are also excited enough that it gives you a sense of wild adventure.” And that ladies and gents is where I am at. Excited and anxious and while those two emotions don’t often go hand in hand, I have had to learn how to work through them when they hit me at the same time.
I am living in Costa Rica for a month of my summer immersed in 24/7 Spanish culture in which I have minimal experience in. That sentence alone is enough to freak me out. But I am also in a country for one month of my summer depending on my ability to quickly adapt, learn, and cultivate an entirely new version of me. And that sentence is enough to keep me determined. Several doubts have found themselves weaving into my mind as time wears on, “Is it worth it?”, “What if I completely fail?”, “What if I’m miserable?” And while it may seem like I’m playing a pity trip, I do have to come to terms with the enormity of the trip I am undertaking. So last week, I made the decision to write out my fears and address them one by one. Because if the trip is going to stare me in the face, I need to stare my fears in the face, because I don’t see them going away anyway else.
1. I am alone in a foreign country.
The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
– Zephaniah 3:17
2. I don’t speak the native language as well as I would like.
For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall
– Ephesians 2:14
3. I don’t have any close friends going with me.
No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
– John 15:15
4. I am away from everything familiar.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
– John 14:27
5. I have to fly and navigate airports on my own.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
– 2 Timothy 1:7
6. I am away from my family. And not just three hours away. I am 1773.2 miles away. Across a gulf AND country borders.
May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
– 2 Thessalonians 3:16
And that is how I am learning to deal with my fears if and when they arise. There is no other method that casts out all anxiety like the Word of God. And that’s how powerful His Word is. Enough to take the bundle of nerves and anxiety that sit in my gut and completely dispel them when they try to take root. This is a scary thing for me, but God has made it clear that this is what I need to be doing with part of my summer. Learning to trust Him when all other familiarities are taken out of the equation. I think that maybe that’s what His bigger lesson in all this is. But we’ll just have to wait and see.