I was freaking out before Italy.
I didn’t feel mentally, emotionally or even spiritually ready to leave the country.
Italy is pretty stinking far, and I was afraid that I’d want to come home as soon as I got there.
I was traveling with a group of students I didn’t know well. What if I didn’t like them? Or worse, what if they didn’t like me?
Nevertheless, I poorly packed a suitcase the day before our flight, and went anyway.
Italy was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
It closely follows establishing a relationship with Jesus and attending Baylor University.
Traveling challenged and stretched me. It changed me.
It taught me how to go with the flow, work with what I was given and love people of different backgrounds and stories.
It made me realize just how OCD I am, and that if I want to ever have true, authentic fun, I’ve got to become more flexible and lay the planner aside. I found out that getting a little lost and surrendering control brings forth a world of possibilities, fun and adventures.
My fears were unfounded.
Our 10-student group became fast friends. Even outside of class and group tours, we couldn’t stay away from each other.
Italy was beautiful and wonderful in every way. Filled with coffee shops, live music, friendly people and amazing food, it possessed all of my favorite things.
I look back now and laugh at my anxieties before the trip.
What was I thinking?
Of course it was an amazing journey. Of course I loved Italy, of course I made friends.
The Lord sent me.
I left with buckling knees.
And returned with sadness at saying goodbye to such an incredible country.
Now I’m filled with the realization that The Lord regularly calls me. He calls me each and everyday.
“Wake up, little one. Today is packed with adventures for you. Don’t be scared. Just get up and follow me.”
Some days are harder than others.
Doubts creep in and I don’t know if I can love others or represent His righteousness well.
But I get up and follow. Because He calls me to. Because He loves me.
Some days are easier than others.
Confidence and hope, joy and delight swirl around in my heart. I believe in myself because God believes in me.
I get up and follow. Because He calls me to. Because He loves me.
Let’s follow Jesus.
Whether it’s across the world or in our neighborhoods, let’s follow The Lord because He calls us to and because He loves us.
Let’s set our fears and doubts in ourselves aside.
Let’s replace them with trust, confidence and faith.
Let’s jump out of bed, clothe ourselves in righteousness and skip out the front door.
And let us willingly, faithfully, wholeheartedly follow The One who confidently calls us and dearly loves us.
Jesus he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. Matthew 4:19-20, ESV