During this process of raising funds, people ask me a lot of questions. The ask questions about my work, about my prospective country, and about my call. But there is one question that is harder to explain. And really, it’s the question I’ve been fielding longest, especially from the people closest to me and love me dearly. . “I understand why you want to do this, but why do you choose to do this now?”
It definitely is a valid question. Let’s take stock of my life: I am a single, white female. I am young and consequently naive. I’m not in amazing shape. I just graduated from college and have student loans to pay. I have skills, but these skills are not well-developed yet. I don’t have the fiscal resources to take this sort of job. I don’t speak the language. I don’t know anyone personally from the country where I’ll live. This question is not something I can just blow off, not if I intend to live intentionally.
I won’t gild that lily much further, I am aware of my weaknesses and of the things that can hold me back. Instead, I am going to explain why I believe that now is the right time for me to go.
1. I’m single
For many people, this is one huge reason why I should not attempt moving overseas right now. If I were married, I wouldn’t be lonely! I’d have someone there to protect me, care for me, and listen to me. I wouldn’t spend 14 hours alone on an airplane and I would have the benefit of already knowing my roommate. It would be the perfect arrangement! Right?!
That sounds like a beautiful scenario. However, outside of wedlock, being “single” makes this an ideal time to jump aboard an airplane. Long distance relationships are horrible! I’ve never been in one, however I am currently living with a lovebird in that situation. My brother is halfway miserable with his special lady living 4 hours away. Every conversation starts with “I miss Jenna” and every situation “would be more fun if Jenna were here”. It’s adorable. And I am so glad he has found somebody who fills his tummy with fireworks the instant he says her name. But, that four-hour distance causes a bunch of strain, a lot of hurt, and a whole cacophony of issues I don’t even know about. I cannot imagine having a long distance relationship with someone on the other side of the planet.
There is a reason I do not think I could be an army wife: this stuff.
Additionally, I do feel very called to the work I will be doing over these next two years, and I know that pining over a special little somebody would definitely have a negative effect.
2. I’m inexperienced
This is a bundle that could encompass a million different issues. But at the moment I am addressing professional inexperience. I have a degree and I have a hefty amount of experience, however that experience looks pretty flimsy in the throws of the workplace. In many situations it would be accurate to say “She doesn’t know what she’s doing, does she?”
But at the same time, I would have the same problem on this side of the pacific ocean. No matter what job I have within this “fresh-out-of-college” time period, it is incredibly likely that I will need to do things that I do not know how to do. It comes with the territory of being new in the field. I know some general information about teaching and I have small bits of experience and some raw talent that I bring into the classroom, but there is so much more I still have to learn. By choosing this job in this location, I am choosing which skills I want to learn.
The professional choices I make now have the possibility of defining what sort of professional I am in ten years. It determines the jobs I would be qualified for and the types of people I may end up working with. With that in mind, I am gladly willing to embrace this new job in this new location.
3. I’m naive.
I’m not going to pretend I know everything. Especially about life things. There is a lot of life I have not lived, and experiences I have not experienced. I am painfully aware that the fact I am young implies I’ll have times I will fall flat on my face.
But much like my professional inexperience, I am choosing to leverage my naivete. There are many people who would chose not to make this move because of what they know about the region. Because of things they have experienced when travelling or living overseas. I am completely aware that there are serious negative things about moving overseas. I am also aware that “serious negative things” is a wild understatement. However, because I am young and I “don’t know”, I have the ability to leap with unrestrained faith. I don’t have baggage holding me down. I haven’t experienced much of life, but I get to choose where I will live my life.
By choosing to move to this location and do these things, I will end up with a very diverse skills set. I will learn about how to interact in startlingly different cultures and how to naturally lace Jesus into my normal conversations. I’ll also learn those hard lessons. I’ll learn to lock and double lock my valuables. I’ll learn that while I can be loud and boisterous in America, I’ll need to practice more restraint. Life is about learning, however right now I’ll be learning more than I ever imagined.
No matter where I live I will be a victim of my own inexperience. Period.
4. I’ll miss things.
Right now everyone and their brother is getting engaged. By choosing to move overseas at this time in my life, I will very likely miss a million weddings and even more magical moments.
My close friends will get closer with other people. My family will get bigger. Babies will be born and learn to walk, talk, and clap at every opportunity. I’ll miss the moment my best friend gets her first job, and possibly even when she meets the “man of her dreams”. I’ll miss Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas gift exchanges, and family reunions. I’ll miss concerts I always wanted to attend and movies I’ve been counting down to see. I’ll miss small moments and big moments, and all the mediocre moments that become the sweet ones I’d look back on.
Giving up two years is not easy.
But at the same time, I know enough people who feel they missed their opportunities. They always wanted to travel or live abroad, but life got away from them. I’ve seen people who dreamed big dreams, but never took the steps to achieve them. I may miss things, but I refuse to miss this.
In my opinion, right now is the ideal time for me to go. For all the reasons listed above, but even more for one final reason.
5. God called me to go.
No matter when, no matter where, when God calls I go. Of course the cost is huge. Of course it looks like it’s not ideal!
“Without the element of risk, there is no need for faith.” James T. Hudson.
God calls all of us to give up our comfort zones for the benefit of his kingdom. He calls us to leave our parents behind and follow him without restraint. The thing is, he tends to choose people who do not look like they are the best candidates. If they were the best candidate, then they may get all the glory. And He knows he deserves that glory. He deserves every praise and every whisper.
Everything I mentioned in that second paragraph, all the reasons why I shouldn’t go now? Those are the reasons why God chose now.