I am a little bit of a “scaredy-cat.” I’m just going to confess that right here and now. I try really hard not to be and I constantly remind myself that I need to push past it and keep trying new things, hard things, lots of things. But, there is always this little voice inside of me that freaks out when I am introduced to something that I feel might be a bit of a risk.
Give an example, you ask?
Well, I don’t like to fly. I know, I know, I am married to a pilot. A guy that flies all the time. But I don’t, and I don’t like it, it scares me. And, I don’t like to run. I know, I just finished a half marathon, but I don’t like it, it hurts. I don’t like scary rides. The answer to that one should be obvious. They are SCARY. I especially don’t like the ones that lift you multiple stories in the air and then let you fall like dead weight until you can feel your stomach in your throat, literally. The hard stop at the bottom is unpleasant too.
I don’t like being sleep deprived, scolding my children, mowing the yard or deer meat.
Basically, I like my comfort zone, because, well, it’s comfortable. But, and I think you probably know what I am going to say here, the Lord won’t let me stay in my comfort zone. He keeps pushing me to the edge of it and shoving me out. Right out into a non-comfortable zone. Into places that are hard, situations that are scary and into things I never thought I could do.
I can’t decide if He likes me that much or if I am paying for some past oath I took about being comfortable in my old age. I’ve told you times before that God must have a good sense of humor, I see traces of it all through my life.
So, keeping in mind I told you flying is not my favorite thing, I found myself standing in line recently waiting for the gate agent to give me a boarding pass for a flight that would last eight and a half hours. Yes, you read that correctly, EIGHT and a half. Honestly, my insides were turning flips and I’m sure I had the involuntary swallowing thing going on as she asked me the standard questions. Things like my name, for my passport and my favorite question, “Has a stranger had custody of your luggage, Mrs. Carlson?” Sometimes I wonder what they would say if I said, “Why yes, I always let complete strangers hold all of my things, don’t you?” And then I would point at some unsuspecting random soul and say, “there he is now, the stranger who held my luggage.”
If you’re letting complete strangers hold your luggage in an airport, well, we need to have an entirely different conversation.
But, I was too nervous to say anything but, “no.”
She finished her brief interrogation, handed me the boarding pass and sent me to the waiting room. And like all the other obedient souls, I sat down, pretended to watch TV and waited. When it was finally my turn to board the flight, my mouth was so dry, like Sahara Desert dry. Did I mention I was flying standby? I don’t want to forget that little detail. Well, because I was flying standby, I needed to keep all my luggage with me in case I had to be quickly removed and catch a later flight. I didn’t want my luggage headed out of town without me.
So, for your mental picture amusement, I had on a large backpack stuffed with snacks, my multiple three ounce bottles (liquids and gels are apparently dangerous and must be downsized), a blanket, tennis shoes and running clothes. My purse which was strapped on like a sash, you know over your head and hanging on one hip, like the Miss America sash. Lovely. Then there was my industrial size piece of luggage. Well, technically it checked all the boxes and met criteria to be a “carry on,” but, it weighed as much as a small child. I had every pocket stuffed completely and fully all the way around the poor thing. It was supposed to stand up, but because the front pockets were so full every time I tried to let it stand it would fall forward.
I was pathetic.
Don’t ask me why I think I need to pack so many things, I just think I do. You never know what might happen and you never know exactly what pair of shoes you might be in the mood for, you know? Some of you out there are shaking your heads and feeling validated because you know EXACTLY what I am saying. And then there are others, like the friend travelling with me, who literally carry a back pack and THAT’S ALL. I don’t know how you backpackers do it, I am in awe. No matter how much I pack I still wish I had packed that “other shirt” or “other pair of pants.”
The struggle is real.
Once I boarded the plane and got settled, I started to pray. The kind of solemn prayers you send up when you feel like you might be facing the end. You know, bless everybody, and help them to be good people even if I’m not there to see it. Don’t let them forget me, yada yada…those prayers. Then I sent a text to my husband to let him know I loved him and I always would. I told him if anything happened to me to go on and live his life to the fullest and I would meet him in heaven. I wanted that to be the last text I sent him, you know…just in case.
The butterflies in my stomach were working overtime and my excitement was palpable. I was headed to Europe, a place I’d always dreamed of going. And now my dreams were about to become a reality, that is, once I was finished with this flight.
First stop, Germany.
And then the plane took off.
Something to think about:
I think we were designed to do hard things. It fulfills something way down deep inside of us to meet a challenge, to rise to the occasion, and to do more than we ever thought we could. Somewhere in the midst of all the trying and not giving up, joy begins to seep into our soul. I honestly believe joy is born and thrives when we push forward in our lives, when we stand on the edge of what we believe to be our limitations and don’t allow them to stop us. What is your hard thing? Your scary thing? Look it in the eye today and walk toward it, even if you only take one step. One is better than none.
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13