An excerpt from Sandra Dillon’s El Salvador Mission Journal (October 10, 2016)
I feel remiss in not having issued a mission journal entry since early August, but frankly I think I was so busy with life, serving, and school that I wasn’t paying much attention to anything God might have been whispering in my ear. Yes, I have been short-changing God and paying the price. However, I believe God is stirring something powerful in my heart prior to taking a team of 11 to drill a well, repair wells, teach hygiene, and play with the village children in El Salvador with Living Water International.
In September while I was visiting Alex and Wes in Colorado Springs, I stopped at the Focus on the Family Bookstore—one of my favorites and one I never miss when in town. As the cashier was ringing up my book purchases, I looked down on the counter at several bracelets with one-word descriptions such as faith, hope, believe, etc. For those who know me, I am not a jewelry person, yet this one word, “fearless” caught my attention. I looked away to finalize my purchase, but my eyes were drawn back to this one bracelet. Given how strange it was that my attention was drawn towards this item, I took the time to resonate on what I was feeling and thinking. Fearless, fear less, less fear, strength, etc. I decided to add the bracelet to my total, so that I would not hold up the checkout line. I would figure out what God was telling me later when I had more time. Fast forward to when I returned to Houston—I put on the bracelet, thinking this would inspire my thoughts and any messages.
Fearless—was it simply an adjective, or was it fear less, more of a call to action, to identify my fears, face fear, turn my fear over to God by doing exactly what I feared. Although I have never counted the number of times that any one word is written in the Bible, a simple unverified internet search says that “love” appears more than 500 times and “fear” as expressed as “do not be afraid” or “do not fear” appears about 120 times. This was less than I would have estimated, but enough to send a clear message that we as humans suffer and struggle with fear in our lives, as there are many Scriptural references to “fear not.”
What fear does God want to bring to my attention and how might this be related to this mission trip? Darin and I have talked at length that we are not afraid of physical harm or death. Many people are fearful to go on a mission trip into a third world country. I remember well the pleas not to go to Nairobi, Kenya in October 2013 from well-meaning friends and family, because we were traveling just weeks after the Westgate Mall Christian massacre where hundreds of Christians were either killed or injured. We were scheduled for outreach in the slums of Ongata Rongai which was a mere 5 miles from this mall.
I know that fear is a powerful, self-inflicted weapon used to hold us back from everything we are called to be and when we are called to act. I am fully aware of my fears, when I feel fearful, and I have been working on confronting and moving into my fears. Fighting fear is a journey I take with God by my side, and so far, I wish I were farther along, but I am proud of my progress. I clearly see how my fears are the obstacles that block me from fully moving in the purpose God has for my life. Clarity of purpose helps me visualize the wall of fear that stands before me and how I need to walk through my wall of fear, climb over it, or go around it with these last two options taking a longer yet still successful path.
Acts 18:9 (NLT) speaks to my heart: “One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, ‘Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent!’” Although there are a few interpretations for this Scripture, the message that resonates with me is to not be afraid of the things God is calling me to do that are outside my comfort zone. Speak of those fears so they cannot hold power over me or build walls that block my path towards my divine purpose. What am I afraid of? Right now, I hold only two fears that I am aware of—public speaking and the yet to be answered, “Will I be successful when I launch my life and marriage coaching business next year?” Why is God having me focus on my fears in a specific way just before we are to go on mission to El Salvador? Or is the timing just coincidence? I am not sure, but Darin and I are always surprised by every mission trip. We think we know the purpose of the trip, and then God shows up and delivers the message of our true trip purpose. Somehow I think “fearless” will be tied into whatever message God wants to share with us. I look forward to living out this journey with my 10 teammates and finding out what connection this trip has with “fearless.”
As I shared my personal fears, did you think of any fears that are holding you back from your life purpose?