Several years ago I had an opportunity to visit the Holy Land. I was excited and had great hopes for the trip.
Shortly after I arrived though, two things set in. One - a pretty strong, steady migraine that lasted most of the journey. That was tough. It stole a lot of my energy and enjoyment. This trip was also before I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. I had no idea why my physical body was not keeping up with regular people. I was hanging out with the really nice old lady who used a cane. We became buds.
The second thing that hit was what I call the "Disneyland effect" that has somewhat taken over many of the holy sites in Israel. I wasn't expecting to see ornate churches with loads of chandeliers and candles. Or to see lines out the door waiting to "pay" to get in to get baptized at the Jordan River. Something inside me just went, "Ugh! This is not Jesus!"
And although the Disneyland effect is definitely not the crux of Christianity, I believe there was so much more to be experienced if I had simply let that expectation go. About the third day into our trip I heard the Lord gently whisper, "You don't have to defend me against all this tourism and consumerism. I am strong enough to handle all of this. Just relax and enjoy being with me in my hometown. "
I didn't know that I was offended on behalf of Jesus, and that I was trying to defend Him. That's really silly when you say it out loud. However, Jesus knew I needed to hear that. It definitely helped. And for the record, even though there is some tourism and Disney-like things in Israel - GO ANYWAY. It's worth it!
Since most of my time there was busy visiting sites with a splitting headache, I remember gently asking God toward the end of the trip if I could come back sometime when I felt better. There was no answer right then. But I simply whispered the desire to Him in that moment.
Fast forward to now, I am writing this about to board a plane to Tel Aviv. I have to be honest, there's a little bit of fear in me that I am going to have a repeat experience. I'm not worried about the Disneyland effect this time. I'm well aware of it. But I have had this nagging fear about not feeling well and not being able to enjoy the trip. So you know what? I've been taking it to Jesus. I voiced some of my concerns with my team leader. They know my backstory. And I have people praying for me as I go. But I also…just have to get on the plane. Just go. Just say yes. Kick fear in the face and MOVE! Fly.
There's something about doing the very thing you are afraid of that sets faith in motion. #faithpearls
That's what I'm doing today: facing my fear.
A couple weeks ago I had a really rough day. I felt like I had Malaria/flu/unable to carry a thought - all over again. I had a choice in that moment to go to my fear and my worse case scenario, or I could trust Holy Spirit, get in touch with my prayer warriors and ask for support. That's what I did. That big, scary, fatigue-worn day was just that - one really bad day. It wasn't me going back into 10 more years of horrible Lyme Disease. It was just a "Lymie" kinda day.
I believe our prayers move mountains. I believe that faith and prayer and declarations matter. I believe what we choose to dwell on matters. I want to encourage you, to take your thoughts and words captive. Make them obey the Word and promises God has given you. Tell your problem how powerful God is. Tell your sickness to leave. Text your friends and tell them you are believing for___________. And ask them to agree with you and God in prayer.
Your true friends will be glad to help!
As I am overcoming my fears over the next two weeks, (and writing amazing, life-changing songs in the Holy Land with other songwriters, right??), I encourage you to pick a fear and tackle it! Hit it head on. Let faith lead. You won't regret it. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it. Jesus will be with you.
I'll catch ya on the flip side! Until then…Shalom!
PS - I am really STOKED to be going to Israel. I would LOVE IT if you shot up a prayer for me. Thank you bunches!