Trusting God Abroad
I have been away from home for the last month; 5,232 miles away from home to be exact. For this term, I decided to study abroad in the United Kingdom. It was not a decision that was taken overnight, but one I carefully thought about. Let me be honest, in taking this decision I felt fear many times. Sometimes I felt unconfident, insecure, and unprepared. To be in a whole different continent completely on your own is quite frightening. I thought about the dangers of being alone in a foreign place and would often wonder if I was at all capable to be completely alone. I did not know if I had the courage to take such a big step. Insecurities would cloud my thoughts constantly:
“Can I do this on my own?”
“Will I be able to handle this?”
“Am I strong enough to do this”
I believe we often rely on our surroundings for comfort. We look at what we have around and decide whether we will be “alright” or not. We look for familiar faces, familiar places, things that we recognize to feel confident or to feel happy. Being in a strange place with strange people, not recognizing a single thing can be scary. As humans, we are constantly looking for comfort and assurance, looking around for something familiar to bring us confidence. Change is different, and change, lets be honest…. is scary. To me it has always been that way at least. I have always been used to comfort, to the same things, being completely dependent on what was around me and what I had. I knew that in the moment I left, I would not have everything I relied on with me, things and people that made me “strong” and “confident”, would be left behind oceans away. Realizing this made me doubt my capabilities, making me believe that I would not be able to take on “studying abroad” on my own.
You, Lord, are all I have, and you give me all I need; my future is in your hands. How wonderful are your gifts to me; how good they are! I praise the Lord, because he guides me, and in the night my conscience warns me. I am always aware of the Lord's presence; he is near, and nothing can shake me. And so I am thankful and glad, and I feel completely secure, because you protect me from the power of death. I have served you faithfully, and you will not abandon me to the world of the dead. You will show me the path that leads to life; your presence fills me with joy and brings me pleasure forever.
(Psalm 16:5-11, Good News Translation)
The Lord reminds us of who we are, who He is shaping us to be, and who He wants us to become. We often forget about what God has made us to be in this life. Our identity in Him gets lost through the comforts of the world. We must remember that our identity comes from The Creator; He is who deciphers who we are, not the events of our daily life, nor the people around us. We are who He says we are. This verse in the Psalms says exactly that and more. The Lord is all we need, He is who makes us. He provides for our needs, and He has made us into exactly who we are; strong, joyful, courageous, fearless. Our identity rests in His hands. We do not need our surroundings to depict that for us, we don’t need to rely on the rest of the world for comfort or for assurance. We don’t need to depend on anyone but God for our identity. We are who He has made us to be.
“Your identity cant stand on what you or others believe you are, but what God has declared you are.”- Pastor Hector Mora, Vision Long Beach
It took me a while to come to the realization that I was more than capable to take this new study abroad journey on my own. Reminded of my identity through God by one of my favorite bible verses, “God is within her; she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.” (Psalm 46:5, New International Version). I was finally able to see myself in the way God sees me: strong, courageous, brave, and full of purpose. God wants this for every single one of us. He wants us to step outside of this comfort zone we have built for ourselves, and put ourselves in a place where we rely on Him and Him only. Ask the Lord where does He want to take you, what would it take for you to stop depending on the thoughts and feelings of your surroundings, and instead trust in His ways and thoughs of you. Pray constantly to the Lord. Ask Him to take you wherever might lead you closer to Him. The further we are from our comfort zone, the closer we are to Him. Our faith does not depend on what the world makes us to be, but in what God has declared in your identity. Pray abroad, trust abroad, seek abroad, and find your identity in God in the place He calls you to be, because no matter where He takes you, this will become the very place that defines your identity in Him.