I’m sitting 35,000 feet in the airplane on my first of four legs of travel and I’m crying. Yup that is not a typo… Let’s run through flying from Seattle to Dallas shall we?
The morning was amazing and great, I had really prepared with packing and all that I needed was ready to go. Everything was smooth from getting to the airport to checking in myself and my bags. All this time still feeling this very unusual (for me) calmness within my body. Then the flight gets delayed, and my routine-focused self feels her heart racing and her palms sweating.
My sweet parents are with me and thankfully we can head out of the airport because I hadn’t gone through security. We headed to a coffee shop and the nerves started building and my stomach started hurting. Then it was time to kiss and hug my parents goodbye and I just couldn’t imagine not seeing them for 47 days. I don’t know why that is tripping me up because I go to school in a different state and don’t actually see my parents for months on end.
I ended up sitting in the airport for a while longer while there were further delays. I’m thankful that the airline took all the time they needed to ensure the aircraft was safe, but it gave me so much time for myself to think and worry.
Now I’m on the plane and I. Just. Keep. Crying. Little tears here and there that my body keeps trying to turn into sobs while my nose won’t stop running. I want my family. I want my comfort. I feel very sorry for the passengers next to me because I am a hot mess.
I’m at a point where the enemy has found a way in. And I am fighting him off every single second. I feel like anxiety and OCD are really misunderstood, so an example of how the enemy is getting in and taking over my thinking might help. My mom wanted to take a group photo with my Dad and I right before they drove off and by then I was so in my head. I was already feeling weird and weepy and I did not want a photo, I just wanted to think and dwell in those thoughts. We didn’t take one and now I’m on the plane and I can’t get the thought “What if your parents die when you’re gone and you never get to take another photo with them? You’ll never get another moment with them.” to stop running through my mind. It’s on a loop, a part of very thought, never stopping.
Truthfully at this point I would just love to get off the plane and have a quick sob fest. It’s so hard for me to sit with these feelings. These feelings of “why am I doing this again?” especially because this is all I’ve talked about. This is where all of my attention has been focused. This is what I wanted. And I feel like by saying how anxious I am and how much In this moment I want to be back in my parents cozy home that others will judge. Or say something, or maybe I made a mistake, or maybe people will think I’m complaining. I don’t know. But I think that this is life, and these are emotions. This is just how it works and I need to be okay with feeling a multitude of conflicting ways.
It’s so hard for me because I know we’re not called to be comfortable, and specifically I’m constantly torn between desiring deep discomfort and praying for only a time of comfortable peace. I was reading my devotional that I started today and it said, “What gets you up in the morning?” And that was a REALLY hard question for me because for so long my answer would’ve been “I have to get prepared for going to Uganda!” So it left me sitting here thinking, well what now is going to get me up in the morning?… Because in total honesty? Being in Uganda won’t get me up in the morning. Being in Uganda means stepping into the discomfort and trusting that the Lords plan will prevail, which isn’t easy. Discomfort won’t get me out of bed. The only objective I have going into this is to learn. To wake up everyday looking for opportunities to grow closer to my Savior, to understand others, and to passionately fall in love solely with the Lord.
The anxiety is different this time around yet same in the small details. I want security, that remains. But this time around I am much more anxious and upset over being away from my parents than last time. Maybe it’s because 47 feels like a daunting number of days to be counting down from when I have no idea what my days will look or feel like. And maybe because what if I don’t make it through 47 days? How will I feel knowing that not once but twice I left my trip to Africa early. Oh man if that is the fate God has those will be some tough emotions to work through.
You know what else the enemy is trying to tell me and probably a lot of you too? The work I’ve done isn’t real, it won’t last,the anxiety will be back in full force and I’ll be sitting in a state of panic day in and day out. Yup the enemy is trying to make me believe the hard work I’ve put into challenging my anxiety and my obsessive compulsive disorder was for nothing and will do nothing. And just when I feel like he’s right, like it is too much I remember that he is a liar running out of breath, and the only way he’ll succeed is if I fall for his fallacy.
I’m onto Dubai today, arguably the hardest (or possibly second hardest) part of this travel journey and I’m feeling all the nerves. But I am choosing to try and trust that Jesus will sustain me.