“You should tell people you broke your shoulder hang gliding,” my husband Bruce joked as he passed me the pain medication. “That’s more exciting than tripping on a sidewalk crack while jogging!”
Images of daring adventures flashed through my mind: running with the bulls in Pamplona, rescuing people from burning buildings in Canada, making last-minute travel changes at the Kathmandu airport when you’re not allowed to board the flight to Varanasi, India. There are so many cool, adventurous ways to break your bones, accumulate scars, and learn new medical terms!
But no…I ripped my femoral head (arm bone) from my shoulder socket when I tripped over a crack on a sidewalk. It took eight screws and a metal plate to put me back together — check out the X-ray. Maybe someday I’ll gross you out with the picture of the four-inch scar on my shoulder.
I wasn’t traveling in India, or even jogging an unfamiliar route. I wasn’t extreme mountain biking or swimming with the sharks Down Under. I wasn’t even running all that fast, or jogging up a hill backwards (which was my favorite form of exercise before I fell on an ordinary city street). Crazy, what can happen in a mundane way on an ordinary day. I guess you need to travel in faith even when you go for a slow jog in your own neighborhood.
This isn’t the first time I was knocked sideways in a “safe” place. A man broke into my apartment when I was 18 years old and living alone. He woke me up at 3 am and tried to rape me. He had my kitchen knife, and had been watching me for days before the break-in.
That’s when I realized there is no safe way – and no safe place – to live. And that’s what freed me to move and teach in Nairobi, Kenya for three years! It also allowed me to create this Travel in Faith blog, and write articles like Should You Move to Africa? 7 Mistakes to Avoid.
Home invasions, assaults, and smashed shoulders happen all the time, no matter where you are or how far you go to protect yourself. Ironically, my experience with the attempted assault set me free to live fully, deeply, and faithfully.
Why you’re safe everywhere you go…
Here’s an excerpt from my book Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back; it’s the chapter in which I weave my story with Queen Esther’s.
“God’s world is beautiful, but heartbreaking. After that man broke to my apartment, I discovered this Arabic proverb: “Trust in God, but tie up your camel.” Not owning a camel, I created my own version: “Trust God, but lock your doors. And get a dog.”
The break-in left a bittersweet taste in my mouth. I was disheartened at how terrifying the world can be and felt vulnerable in my own home, where I was supposed to be safe. I was bewildered because I never engaged in “risky” behavior. I never stayed out late, partied, or even dated. I waitressed at a pancake house and went to school every day.
But, oh, the sweet realization that if I wasn’t safe at home, I wasn’t safe anywhere. So, I figured, I could go anywhere! And I did. I hitchhiked through Europe twice before I was 21, once by myself. I went on long solo road trips in Canada. I didn’t want to live alone, so I moved in with a trustworthy male roommate, a cheerful New Zealander called Dean.
The world is risky, but the threat isn’t in our location. We can be safe in war zones or in danger at home. Getting hurt is unavoidable, and God will give us what we need to heal. He hovers, making us safe everywhere. But we must do our part by trusting like children, tying up our camels like good stewards, and preparing like smart, brave queens.”
You aren’t safe in certain places if you have a personal relationship with the Creator…you’re safe everywhere.
Getting hurt at home increases my courage, strength, and resilience. I travel all the time — Africa, America, Asia, Alberta — and I’ve never experienced a lick of trouble. This doesn’t mean I won’t run into problems when I travel to Portugal with a broken shoulder. It means I feel safe, comfortable and secure no matter where I am, no matter what happens, and no matter how battered or bruised I get. I’m already resting in peace :-)
What are you avoiding because you’re scared of getting hurt? Maybe your past hurts aren’t healed, and you’re protecting yourself. Maybe your heart is still broken from a betrayal or loss, and you can’t forgive or move forward. Maybe you’re scared of shadows, potential problems, possible traumas.
If you’re scared to fly or travel to a dream destination, you may find it helpful to read 4 Ways to Calm Travel Anxiety and Fear.
Acknowledge your fear; it’s trying to keep you safe. But your fear doesn’t know God or have a relationship with the Holy Spirit. Do you? If so, you truly have nothing to fear! Live out your faith by taking risks, trusting the Holy Spirit to lead you forward, and deepening your relationship with God.
That, my friend, is how you blossom into who He created you to be.
With His love,
Travel in Faith and Blossom
Are You Traveling Alone and Feeling Homesick? – Come, sit beside me! We’ll lean on each other and be comforted. My tips for overcoming homesickness when you’re traveling solo will help you feel less alone. One of the healthiest ways to cope with loneliness while you travel is to share your story.
18 Ideas for Creative, Meaningful Theme Vacations – Theme vacations are more creative, interesting and fun than spending a week or two at an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica (though I’ve enjoyed my fair share of all-inclusive beach resort vacations :-) Theme-based vacations are different. Theme travel is inspired by subjects or places that are meaningful to you, which means they can change your life.
How to Give Your Anxiety to God – Blossom Tip 39 – In last week’s Echoes of Joy newsletter, I said I’d share ideas on how to cope with fear and truly believe you’re safe everywhere. You might want to pass your parcel of fear and anxiety to God. You want to trust and believe…but how? What does this look like in daily life, at work, at home when you’re cooking dinner? Let’s find out!