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Fearless: A REACH Update

By Sara, REACH Team Indochina

Fearless. What does this mean? I don’t actually think it means a lack of fear, but rather a sense courage. Where one embraces the fear and pushes onward. Now maybe that’s me just putting a positive spin on the fact that I tend to be a fearful person, but I don’t think fear defines me. Papa has taught me so much about the difference between being consumed in fear and not living the free life he has for me, and living free from the shackles of fear.

The friends we’ve made the past six months feel quite like family. Saying goodbye is scary. What happens next? What happens to the kids we teach? What happens to the family we live with that feel like a second set of parents and siblings? All of their lives keep moving forward just as mine will. How do we possibly have enough time to truly let them all know how much they mean to us? Did I truly love them all well? Is there anyone I need to make amends with? This list goes on for miles. But then I hear Papa’s gentle voice that he loves them all too. He loves them all more than I possibly could and he’ll take care of them all. Who knows, some might keep in touch; it’s not a permanent goodbye, just a long distance friendship.

A few weeks ago our team took our vacation. We traveled out to the countryside, kayaked, caved, saw mountains and elephants. Our vacation also included swimming at a waterfall and a turquoise lagoon. At one of these beautiful lagoons, there was a BIG tree that had thick long branches hanging over the water…with rope swings and jumping spots.

When we got to the lagoon, the guys climbed up and got a little nervous looking down, but they eventually jumped. And they lived; no injuries; smiles on their faces. Now I didn’t want to be outdone, so I climbed up and I was slightly shaking but I can swim so it’s not like I would die. So after a mini panic, I jumped into the water. It was so much fun and felt freeing as I stepped off the branch.

Then Katie decided she wanted to give it a try so I told her I would go with her. Well, she reached the top, looked down at the water, and started walking back toward the ladder that I was still climbing up. So being the friend that I am I blocked her way, gave some encouraging words, and then I did eventually step out of the way. I wouldn’t force her to do it if she truly didn’t want to. But I said, “It’s okay I did it once and I’ll be right behind you”… well, Katie faced her fears and jumped in like a champion!!

Now you’re expecting me to say I jumped in right after her, right? Well, you would be wrong! Instead, I started to panic, not just a little, but a lot. My eyes watered and I couldn’t let go of the railing, so I turned around to walk back to the ladder and climb down. I was giving into the fear like I have countless times in my life in various ways. Then Seth ran over and climbed up the ladder before I could get down it and was not letting me pass. He also spoke encouraging words to me, but at the moment they meant nothing. I was too caught up in my own fear that I couldn’t even hear what he was saying. I couldn’t get myself to jump. But then I started to calm down and think rationally. I already did it and it was fun. So after some tears, I let go of the railing and jumped. You know what happened….I lived and all was fun.

Fear and comfort zones are like the tree I jumped from. Their roots go deep. Sometimes you don’t realize how ensnared you are until Papa calls you to step out of it.

“…I can live fearless – knowing that if I am nervous it’s okay because Papa can see the bottom of the water, and created me to swim in it.”Sometimes it’s easy to step off of the tree the first time. Then a day, week, or month pass and you find yourself right back up in your comfortable tree. This time when Papa asks you to leave it again, you start to panic. You think of the things that could go wrong, the uncomfortable things that might happen, or you think the tree that you’ve built is better than what Papa has for you. While you’re panicking, Papa is standing with you on the tree in the middle of your mess speaking truth to your heart, waiting for you to calm down and hear his voice, and then eventually, when you’re ready, to guide you to take a step of faith.

When I leave my “fear tree” great things happen. For one, I breathe freely. I don’t have to have all the puzzle pieces of my life put together. I don’t have to be perfect. I just have to keep my eyes on my loving Father who will guide me to take steps that I can’t see the bottom of.

Do I know what’s next? Nope. Do I know how I’ll say goodbye to my amazing new friends and this culture? Nope. But I know that my Father loves me, and loves them, and will take care of us. Therefore I can live fearless – knowing that if I am nervous it’s okay because Papa can see the bottom of the water, and created me to swim in it. Therefore, I need not fear.

Please pray for Sara and all of the REACHers as they leave their outreach locations and begin re-entry this week. Pray that they would be able to trust God during these transitions.