I write this curled in the woolliest blanket we own, with a belly full of Thai food from our family’s favourite restaurant. I spent my final evening hanging out with dad and watching Gladiator. It was a good film and not very conducive to writing, so this is likely to be a short read.
My hands have been rubbed raw from stuffing things into bags to then stuff into a backpack, to stuff things around the stuff, only to pull it all out and rearrange again.
I’ve had weeks of dreaming, followed by busy weeks of planning. I’ve worked lots of shifts leading up to an unceremonious goodbye. And every time I’ve looked out my window I’ve breathed words along the lines of, “let’s get going.”
But this week was a weird one. I finally got scared.
There’s obvious fears; of being alone and all that comes with that. There’s the fear of all the things I don’t know, from directions to where I’ll pitch my tent the first night.
And then there’s a strange and wonderful trepidation at the thought that after this walk, I may never be the same again.
In my break from university, I’ve kept coming back to a verse from the Psalms; “He brought me out into a spacious place. He rescued me because he delighted in me.” (Psalm 18:19) This unplanned year out has been the greatest blessing, because it has given me time to breathe. Time for an uncluttered mind. Time for my faith and for asking my Saviour to show me who He is.
One thing I’ve found in my faith journey is that the more you get to know of God, the more you want to know of Him. The more you hear His voice, the more you orientate your life so that you can hear Him more. And so the year of peace and quiet goes deeper; to silence and solitude. The year of hearing his whisper becomes following His voice into the wilderness.
I believe that God is mighty and great, and when you meet Him, you are changed.
All the anxieties are simply me not feeling ready.
I had some wonderful friends come over a few days ago, both of them mountain leaders and Duke of Edinburgh assessors and both very qualified to pack a backpack. As we checked through my gear and made final notes, it became clear that I was pretty much ready to go. I didn’t feel ready. I felt afraid.
Then out of nowhere, off the cuff and maybe even as a joke, Ishtar said, “you’re probably not going to feel ready until the whole thing is done.”
That little quip put all my fears back in their place. Not feeling ready is okay. You don’t have to feel ready before you start. In fact, that’s rarely the way it works.
You can never be completely ready for something that isn’t completely known. You just do what you can do, and go. So I’m going.
Feeling daunted? A little.
Afraid? A little.
Raring to go anyway? Absolutely. I have little to fear.
“The LORD is a warrior. The LORD Almighty is His name.” (Exodous 15:3)
Talk to you all soon.