I will answer this question from more of a cultural point-of-view:
“Do not be afraid. Be strong and courageous.”
Growing up, my dad had a saying he would use when my brother or I got physically hurt: “Be tough.” If you know my dad, you know he was gentle and kind when he said it, but used it as a way to build mental strength.
It’s engrained in me now. Each time I get hurt or sick or when I’m running and get tired, I hear him saying, “Be tough.”
People ask us if we are afraid of moving overseas. I had not honestly thought about why I would be afraid. People survive in South Asia as much as they survive in the South.
I know there will be difficult days ahead. Culture shock. Language frustrations. Possibly our country’s government entering into a state of anarchy. But those things tend to happen where we currently live.
There are different things I think about when moving overseas that bring a certain level of consideration and questions as to what they will look like: Things such as having a baby in a third world country, what kinds of food will we eat, using a squatty-potty (you have no idea how many questions I have about this), using a squatty-potty while pregnant (let’s not even go there), driving a manual-transmission on the other side of the car, not being within driving distance of my parents, raising third-culture kids, or how my Southern self will adapt to living in a completely different culture.
However, I try to view all of this as one big adventure. I am trying to not have expectations at this point. I feel that I have a realistic view of the culture change ahead and will simply be at the mercy (and good humor) of the One Who is sending us.
Be tough (even on squatty-potty days). Praise Him.
For people who know me, you know that I love to talk to people and that I’m generally willing to talk about anything. I will always be the one who asks the question that everyone else is thinking and I’ll always be the one who is willing to break the ice and answer any difficult question that is asked. I’m not afraid to talk about anything at any time: personnel, private, deep, challenging, or difficult; you name the topic and I’ll probably enjoy the conversation. I used to think that there was just about no conversation that I wasn’t excited and willing to have.
Then we started this process and people started asking me this question. Am I afraid of moving overseas? I have honestly really struggled to understand this question and, even beyond that, it makes me uncomfortable to answer. Just about everyone I have talked to at some point or another has asked this and I think it’s a very natural question but I’ve struggle to know how to answer it.
To me, fear is the deepest emotion I’ve ever felt and ever could feel. I don’t know if that’s healthy or not but for me to be asked what I’m afraid of is to be asked to completely expose my deepest thoughts and the deepest part of what makes me who I am and I’m just not sure if people will understand. I don’t know how this will come across and I don’t know how people will hear this but lots of people have asked so here it goes.
I am afraid. I am actually terrified. I’m terrified of not following my Lord. I am terrified of not living a life that dies to itself for the One who died for me. I’m terrified at night when I dream and I see the faces of billions of people, all over the world, who are enslaved to our enemy, and there is no one fighting for them. I’m terrified to think that my life was created for the sole purpose of a relationship journey that recognizes the full weight of the Lord of all creation, love, hope, joy, life, light and more; and yet I give myself so often to other things. I’m terrified that I say I love my brother and sister with my mouth and I live a lie. More than that, I’m terrified that I do the same thing to my Lord. I’m terrified that I get caught up at times believing the lie that my life would be better if it were easier and more like the American Dream.
Am I afraid of going overseas? No, I’m really not. There really is absolutely nothing about it that scares me. I’m completely, absolutely, without any fail terrified of not going overseas. Not because I think it will make life better or more fun. Not because I think that my wife and I will be happier, more comfortable, or that things will be easier. I’m afraid of not going because I’ve been called to go.
Do I have questions about the unknown of what will happen while we are there? Absolutely.
Am I afraid of the unknown that comes from living a comfortable life outside of the will of my God? Absolutely!
Will I be cautious about the dangers of living the life we will live there? Yes.
Should more believers be cautious about the dangers of living a life without risk and the fear of the Lord? Yes!
Am I looking forward to those days when the heart of my precious wife or my own will ache over the hurt and longing of relationships with beloved whom we left behind? No.
Is my heart ready to burst with joy over the thought of a conversation that leads to the first believer ever in an entire people group of thousands who have lived for centuries in complete darkness hearing and accepting and knowing the One Who has died and risen for them?
Umm . . . YES!
When it comes to being afraid, I can’t imagine being more afraid of following my Lord in anything than I would be of holding anything back from Him.