Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Departing for Israel

A group of people that I dearly love got excited about going to Israel together. The one that intrigued me the most is my husband. He grew up traveling the world. Then went on  to travel the world for his job. We've had a ridiculous amount of opportunity to travel as young adults when he worked for American Airlines in his 30's and then later on through short term mission opportunities in our 40's. So he's not all that interested in travel per se. It's a "been there and done that" for him. So when I realized he actually wanted to go to Israel and wanted it way more that me. I found myself surprised. I've stayed there. He's still more excited than me.

I don't know all the reasons I've been a bit guarded about this trip. I'm not afraid of physical danger on this trip, or any trip for that matter. That was an issue once. Around twelve years ago, we were making plans to take off for Australia and Matt was a small child and was staying in the States. I was sitting in my house in Flower Mound, TX and I realized that if my days were numbered, as is spoken about in the Bible and I was going to die on a particular day. I might as well be enjoying a trip to Australia rather than sitting at my desk in Flower Mound, TX sad that I wasn't on a trip to Australia. Problem solved. I wish all my fears were as easy to leave behind as that one. So, I know it's not that.

I have no worries about traveling with 15 people. I love living in community. I know half of these people really well and find them easy to love and they love me well too. So, I know it's not that.

The vast majority of people have said things like, "You'll never be the same. You'll never read the Bible the same." Or, some version of a highly loaded set of expectations around the kind of experience it will be.I know that travel an be life changing. It especially changed me to experience Thailand, Kenya and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

But I also know, expectations have been the death of many experiences in my life. Expectations can royally screw up both relationships and experiences. I've learned a lot about letting things be whatever they turn out to be. I think I'm living in that belief  even prior to departure with this trip. I haven't been able to do that prior to other trips. I'm guarding my heart against having expectations. Maybe God is also guarding my heart against expectations. This trip, I'm asking God to help me notice whatever He'd like for me to notice. I'm asking God to help me be completely overwhelmed with emotion if that is what would be good for my soul. I'm asking God to help me receive the gifts He has for me or our little community with an open heart. I'm asking God to help me love well as we journey together and as we meet others along the way. When I return, I pray He will help me express what it was like to be in the land of the Covenants.

This is what I know for sure. I used to believe that God provides just enough and rarely more.  I spent years scared to notice or believe in His abundance and generosity. I've spent a couple of years daring to notice the opposite. This will sound crazy, if you can't relate to it, but it's taken courage to be willing to go through this shift in beliefs. As I've thought about heading out on this trip,  I'm struck by how abundant and generous and ridiculous it is that we are going on this trip. I hope that living in 10 days of this reality will bring me further along the way in letting go of my old beliefs. I hope and pray I receive this experience as training. Maybe I'll learn more about how to live in my relatively new understanding of His wise abundance and generous nature.

Thank you for being excited for us about this trip. Thanks for all your well wishes and offers to pray for us! Thank you David for sticking to your guns on this trip. I gently tried to derail this a few times and now find myself gratefully following your lead.

If the Lord gives me the words, I'll attempt to describe some of what took place when I return.


PJNeal said...

Safe trip. Pray for you to sense the Savior in even a deeper way. Hugs-

Mike Messerli said...

Have a great trip. Enjoy a few expectations and know, although it is a bit of a sin...I am jealous. I will be praying for you.

Mike Messerli said...

have a great trip. Celebrate a few expectations and tell your sweetie I want to see photos! although it's a bit of a sin I will be jealous. enjoy every moment.

Sibyl said...

Hi Cheri, So glad for you to have this experience during the days of living into the wonder of the expression of the extravagant love of God for all He has created and is yet creating.
May the Lord go before you and as you walk the land..allow His humanity to touch you; as you encounter the current realities in a very difficult place, may you be prompted to pray; As a part of the Family of are connecting with your family. Grace and peace and love to you both, Sibyl

mike said...

Regarding expectations I felt the same way going on our Israel trip.

We did have an amazing trip but in many ways the trip didn't seem to meet the expectations for me as much as it did for others.

I had to do some adjusting of my view of Israel and some of the Biblical stories based upon what I was seeing. It's like meeting someone you've known only by voice and your first thought is "that's not what you are supposed to look like".

As I look back there are clearly some individual passages that I will understand differently. I'm not sure I ever fully understood "thirsting" until I was in Israel. I also was clueless about what the wilderness was like.

It is good to let your experience be your experience because it will be different for each person who goes.

I pray you have a wonderful, meaningful trip!

Mike Lazear