If you'd told me five years ago that I would pack up and move to DC by myself for a summer internship, I would have never believed you.
There were simply too many unknowns - navigating a city when directions aren't my forte, figuring out public transportation, handling all the decisions and tasks that come from being on my own, and simply being away from my family and home community where I've lived almost my entire life.
Yet here I am, not only living in a city I'd barely seen but even loving it. What changed?
I feel sorry for my poor family. As a child, I was more cautious and frightened than anyone else. I loved routines, schedules, consistency... control. I didn't want my world to be shaken by unexpected twists and turns.
My family, on the other hand, had a beautiful love for adventure. I didn't have a choice whether or not I liked travel; we've done it ever since I can remember, and I love it! But other explorations haven't been as easy.
Theme parks and water parks were major tests for my routine-loving personality. Each roller coaster that I forced myself to try built my shaky confidence just a bit more. Every water slide helped me realize that I'm capable of more than I thought.
Over the years, I learned that I hated letting opportunities slip away unexplored just because I was too scared to try them. My family both encouraged me and gave me space to say "no" when it really was too much for me. In time, I wanted to try scary, new adventures - even if the only reason was to avoid being mad at myself later!
I tried zip lines and ropes courses. I scuba dived (even though I was quite afraid of fish; don't ask why!) and snorkeled. I snow skied in the mountains and knee-boarded on the lake.
I learned that new adventures could actually be fun, not just terrifying.
One Step At A Time
It was those little steps that prepared me for the bigger steps in life - like going to a missionary school halfway across the country, navigating college, or now moving temporarily to a city.
The little steps taught me important lessons about trust. I learned to trust God to lead me. I learned that I don't have to plan and stress about every detail. It's OK to have a general idea and even to make preparations, but I have to be flexible and trust Him when life changes suddenly.
I learned that adventure and unknowns, with my hand securely in God's, can be exhilarating.
I was surprised how easy it was to throw my belongings in a car, drive to a city, and then watch my family drive away without feeling a wave of terror or even sadness. I know I couldn't live my current life if I hadn't been willing to take risks in the past.
Moving was easy... but it wasn't challenge-free!
The Metro was my most formidable unknown. The thought of buying the right pass and learning to navigate the world of tunnels and racing trains didn't exactly make me feel all warm and fuzzy.
But I did it.
As I rode the elevator to the ticket station, trying not to look lost, it felt quite similar to my college video classes. There were times I felt almost sick at the thought of lugging all my camera equipment into a new environment, boldly running up to the people I needed, and snagging them for an interview. Yet, I had mastered the unfamiliar world of both shooting and editing, and I could master the Metro, too.
Discomfort = Growth
I'm learning to love the places of discomfort. We grow the most when we face challenges well.
Most importantly, uncertainty pushes me into God. I have to lean on my Father because I have no clue what I'm doing! And then, over and over, I get the privilege of watching Him provide and lead better than I could've imagined.
Previous decisions to obey God and step into uncomfortable situations paved the way for this summer's experience. I'm sure that trusting God through this summer will be one step forward to prepare me for more exciting adventures to come!
If this previously-timid girl can step easily into new opportunities, then be assured that no one is beyond hope. Start with surrendering your heart and life to God, and watch Him transform your trembling into triumph!