Ugh, I hate student debt. It’s absolutely insane. Ridiculous doesn’t describe it either. And it absolutely sucks. It is such a hindrance.
You see, my heart is for missions. My heart is to go overseas and share the Gospel. But when you have major student debt like I do and most agencies require you to raise your own funds, it gets very difficult. Many prefer you have less than $30,000 in debt before you go overseas with them otherwise they won’t consider you. And I have a boatload the size of the Titanic bigger than that.
Because also, I have no job. I’ve been unemployed for over two months now and still am having to pay back my debt. I don’t have enough for half my payment this month. I have searched and searched and applied and applied and searched some more for jobs. Most of them I don’t necessarily want! But it’s money I need. Gosh, what a necessary evil money is.
But here’s where you’re going to start shaking your head.
I am spending $40 on an application fee for a trip (after I get accepted) to go overseas for eleven months to do missions which requires me to raise … dun dun dun … $18,000. Yup, that much.
Now yes, that would be a lovely and wonderful chunk out of my student debt I wouldn’t have to worry about but here’s where you’ll think I’m crazy.
I am bold enough to say (with shaky legs and quivering hands) that I want to do it. I want to raise $18,000 in support for an eleven month mission trip when I could instead be back here in the US, still living from home without a car, and hopefully with a job that manages to pay the loan debt each month.
I’m sorry, but no. I just can’t do it.
It’s not that I’ve been bitten by the wanderlust bug and think that my life is passing by me with every second, that I’ll never have this chance again. It’s not that.
It’s that this is the call on my heart from the LORD. My heart is for missions and has been for a decade. I want to be obedient to my God and Savior.
Does it look foolish? Does it sound foolish? Yes, but that is where it makes sense.
Following God is going to make me a target for mockery, oppression, and persecution. Following God is going to look reckless and unwise to the secular mind. Following God is going to mean not just a leap of faith but completely throwing myself into the unknown and uncertain.
I have wrestled for months about this. I have wrestled God saying, “if You want me to go, why have You not provided a job for me? Why have You not provided some opportunity where I can financially be somewhat stable, if not responsible, for what I owe? How can I possibly do this? How can I raise this money and still pay off my debt minimum each month?” I have fought and fought and the thing is, it’s not about me. It’s not about my lack of a job and the fact that I am full on drowning in debt.
It’s about God. It’s about the Kingdom.
My life is not my own. Its owner was never me. Since I was 7, the sole Owner of my soul was the same One who created it. I cannot change that and I wouldn’t if I had the chance. I am nothing apart from Him. I know nothing. I am nothing. God is everything! He is my Sustainer and Provider, my Comfort and my Shield, my Foundation and my Peace, my Strength and my Wisdom. When He pours Himself into me, I overflow with gracious abundance! He knows all and controls all. Everything in this world comes under His divine authority.
If I do this in vain, I am opening myself up to failure. If I do this for His glory in obedience to His call, I am opening myself up to experiencing the power of my God.
I want to please Him. I want to feel His pleasure again. I want to help the nations know Who they need to know. I want to help expand the Kingdom, not out of my own ambitions, but as a child of the risen Savior, it is my duty. It is my responsibility. I want to know that what I’ve done on this earth is worthy of the words “well done, good and faithful servant.” To hear that, I am going to have to take these leaps of faith. He knows the faith I have, it is I who needs to know do I have enough faith in Him to jump out into this crazy sea of uncertainty? Do I have enough faith to wash away my fears and anxieties? Do I truly believe that He will provide? Do I truly believe that He has not forgotten me but instead is helping me not to forget Him?
This is crazy. This is foolish. But this is the life of a Christian who serves God with everything she has.
I want to be her. I want to live in radical faith, with reckless abandon; a broken piece of mirror that magnificently shines the beauty and power of her God.
Taking a leap of faith does not lead failure. It leads to plentifulness. I may appear as a failure to the secular world, but that only means I am truly abiding in my Savior; I am actually flourishing.
Here is an excerpt of a prayer of mine from March 2nd:
I don’t even have words to say. You know my heart – its cries and joys. I will wait on You because I know You are good, that You’ve made promises to me You’ll keep. I belong to You – Thy will be done. … Hear the cries of my soul and answer me! I desire to hear Your still, small whisper. Wrap me in Your presence, overflow me with Your peace, and give my faith the strength to move forward, so that my feet leap with their trust in You. I will wait, and wait as long as it takes, for You. My plea is that You show up soon. I know You make rivers in the desert, paths in the wilderness, and provide the manna to sustain. Sustain me now! Sustain and show me the direction to go. Either close the door hard or fling it as wide open as possible. – – Amen
*** update: I decided to withdraw about 2-3 months prior to my would-be departure date. Although my heart was in it, always will be for missions, and I debated with God, I think the thing God wanted me to know was, “am I willing to take that first leap?” The answer is yes. Now, that doesn’t mean I doubted His ability to provide and do miraculous work, but I believe He wanted me to know if my faith believed and trusted in Him enough to pursue it. I do wish it was something I could participate in this year and I definitely will be praying for that team. I believe God is going to do amazing things in and through them. Someday soon He will bring me overseas. I have no doubt about that.