Friday, December 9, 2011

Aren't You Afraid?

The Great British philosopher, Austin Powers, once said, “There are only 2 things that scare me, and one of them is nuclear war.”  After some prodding for what the other one was, Mr. Powers said, “Carnies”. 
Now I don’t know how good a blog post can be if you start with an Austin Power’s quote, but if you can tell me what he says that Carnies smell like, then you have as bad a taste in movies as I do!
Since we have made our plans, of going to Uganda, public, we have gotten many questions along the lines of “Aren’t you afraid?” or “Is it safe there?”
To be honest there have been fears associated with our decision to leave all that we have going at home and GO.  As I returned from Uganda the first time, I did not immediately ask Jill to start praying about going to Uganda for a longer period of time.  I felt, in my heart, that we were supposed to do that, but I did not want to bring it up to Jill.  I was concerned because she is usually more perceptive or receptive to what God is saying than I am.  I was sure that she would get the same message from God and we’d be on our way. 
Now as a child, I had some common childhood fears.  You know, things like the dark, cemeteries, cranky teachers and of course being locked in a room with Barbara Walters.  But as I got older, my fears would fall into one of two main categories:  Fear of Failure and Fear of Lack of Control.  Fear of Failure is common in physicians and is partly why we are able to successfully complete all of the schooling and training required.  This fearing to fail, is a bit strange to add to my entrepreneurial spirit, as it drives me to work hard, sometimes harder than I should.  My need for control slowed my relationship growth with Christ, and is still one that I have to lay down frequently.  As I started thinking about leaving our home and taking Jill and our kids to Uganda, my fear list expanded to more than just the two above.  Here is some of the list:
1.)    Fear of physical danger – Now I have been to Uganda twice and I have not felt physically threatened.  But I am not naïve enough to think that it would be as safe as we are in the US.  (Of course, I think that much of our feeling of safety in the US is unwarranted.)  We will be the minority and easy to pick out of a line up in Uganda!  It won’t make my mother or mother in law happy, but there is more physical danger to my family in Uganda for multiple reasons.
2.)    Fear of getting sick or injured – This plays a little into #1, but my main fear in this area is that one of us would need state of the art medical care and it not be available.
3.)    Fear of finances – I realized that if we were to GO for an extended time, we would need to sell the clinic and I would obviously not be earning money in the ER, while I was gone.  In addition, we would not only need to maintain our home in Duncan but add a home in Uganda.
4.)    Fear of the kids missing out on something : Our kids have many advantages and I’d love for them to take the opportunity that these advantages give them to succeed in life.  I guess the question becomes the definition of success.
5.)    Fear that the kids won’t like it – I really do want our kids to be happy.  I was fearful that we would  show up in Uganda and after a week or two, the kids would be ready to pack up.  This would fall into Fear of Failure.
6.)    Fear of the unkown – OK, this does play right into the control issue.
As I had mentioned in a previous blog, Me a Missionary, part of my motivation to missions was kindled via reading Radical by David Platt.  As I read that book, I went from thinking the author was right, “somebody should go”, to feeling that I was that somebody.  I was asked this week how we moved from thinking something “Radical” to actually doing something “Radical”.
Soon after my return from Uganda last January, our teaching pastor Craig Groeschel, presented a sermon regarding Fear.  I would recommend this MESSAGE ON FEAR to anyone.  Two points that he made completely changed my fear list that I listed above.
A.)   What you fear reveals what you value the MOST.
B.)    What you fear reveals where you trust God the LEAST.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
Sunday afternoon, after this message was presented, I asked Jill to start praying about us going to Uganda for a longer term.  She seemed surprised, but began to warm up to the idea quickly when she saw Uganda and the need there.
After facing my fears and filtering them through this message on fear, I have a new frame of reference on my fear list.
1.)    Physical Danger – (again this won’t make the mother and mother in law happy) What do we really have to fear?  Even if we die for Christ’s sake, that would make us martyrs.  The way I read the Book, there is a special place in heaven for martyrs.  That has to be waaaay better than even the best day in the USA!
2.)    Fear of getting sick – God has given me reassurance that his hedge of protection will be around us.  We are taking every precaution and at least we are taking a doctor with us!  We will be working with a Doctor and a reputable clinic in Kampala.  We should be able to get care if we need it.
3.)    Fear of Finances – Through the sale of our clinic and our savings, we will be able to go to Uganda and pay our own way.  We have big plans for our Mobile Medical Unit there, and we are depending on God and our supporting partners to help fund the project itself.  The total funding required will likely be about $90,000.
4 & 5) My perspective on the kids is one thing that has really cleared in my mind.  What is this “American Dream” that I was worried that I would spoil for them?  Having nice things and an abundance of technology to distract us from what is important?  Having our heads down looking at our phones or iPods, self absorbed and killing time?  To be honest, God has blessed our family with what many think is the American Dream.  If my kids can grasp what it is to be sold out to Christ while living in a third world country, I will take that over them living the American Dream that I have seen.
6.)    Fear of the Unknown – Going to Uganda has become an adventure for us with God.  The unknown seems exciting rather than intimidating. 
I woke up this morning with this blog on my mind, about 90 minutes before the alarm was set to go off.  I was typing on it when Jill came into the kitchen.  She saw what I was working on and recommended that I look at our “Jesus Calling” book for today.
                “Be willing to go out on a limb with Me.  If that is where I am leading you, it is the safest place to be.  Your desire to live a risk-free life is a form of unbelief.  Your longing to live close to Me is at odds with your attempts to minimize risk.  You are approaching a crossroads in your journey.  In order to follow Me wholeheartedly, you must relinquish your tendency to play it safe.”
                “Let me lead you step by step through this day.  If your primary focus is on Me, you can walk along perilous paths without being afraid.  Eventually, you will learn to relax and enjoy the adventure of our journey together.  As long as you stay close to Me, My sovereign Presence protects you wherever you go.”

Psalms 23:4  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

What are your fears?  What are they keeping you from accomplishing with Christ?

No comments:

Post a Comment