Lesson 3 - Emotional Preparedness
It’s only natural that, this close to departure your mind would be centered on what we call “Physical Preparation” – how much you owe; what you should pack; language learning; how much money you should take with you. And our hope is that after your last study you are working hard on your “Spiritual Preparation.” But “Emotional Preparation” is every bit as critical to your project. A failure to prepare in this area can just as easily knock you down on the field as a failure to prepare in the other two. So we want to spend some time considering the steps necessary to make certain you are prepared for your journey “emotionally” as well.
This old, familiar saying will be broken down into acronyms to address each area of preparedness, but will require honesty and openness on your part. Even if you aren’t ready to admit everything to your small group, you need to be open with the Lord and purge yourself of anything that might get in the way of your effectiveness on the field. Please remember that God wants to bless you so that you can bless others. You will find yourself with more energy, more confidence and more compassion if you let God clean out all the stuff you’re hanging onto and fill it with His presence and power.
Relinquish your fears: everyone is afraid of certain things and you need to admit them, if only to God, to allow His peace to permeate those areas of your soul. (For further study, read what David recorded in Psalm 3 as he fled from his son, Absalom.)
Explore your expectations: it is possible to have a bad global experience, but it usually has nothing to do with the preparation, the ministry or the trip itself, but more often the EXPECTATIONS of the traveler.
- The biggest problems come when your expectations are “ME CENTERED” instead of “GOD-CENTERED.” Focusing on what “WE” want from the experience instead of what “HE” wants to accomplish.
- A close second to that issue is setting oneself up with “UNREALISTIC” expectations. A predetermined idea of what the journey will be like doesn’t necessarily match up with the reality that God has planned.
Accept that there will be challenges: nothing will ever go the way we plan – but always the way God plans it. If we stand ready to be used whenever, however, whatever – God can take even our “disasters” and turn them into something pretty incredible.
- Discouragement creeps in when you are being driven by your plans, rather than being surrendered to His!
- Success comes when you overcome your need to control the journey and learn to recognize and enjoy what God is doing.
- CHALLENGES ARE NOT YOUR ENEMY – but oftentimes the way God does His best work through you!
Discard emotional baggage: defined as aspects of your emotional history which affects your behavior, self-esteem and relationships. While we all carry some amount of emotional baggage, some of us allow issues from our PAST to affect the way we see ourselves and the way we relate to others on the team.
Are you in any way viewing this trip as some sort of an escape? Consider what it is you are trying to escape from and why – and then take the time necessary to resolve these issues instead of carrying them around.
FREE YOURSELF to focus on the project ahead!
Keep company with Christ because while we all carry some amount of emotional baggage, some of us allow issues from our PAST to negatively affect the way we see ourselves and the way we relate to others on the team.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” - Matthew 11:29
Picture yourself walking with Christ: one unit, moving in the same direction, for the same purpose, in the unforced rhythms of grace.
Are you burned out on religion? – learn from Christ as you go. Jesus won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Him and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
What used to seem a burden is easier to handle side-by-side with Christ.
YOU’RE NOT DOING THIS ALONE – so long as you walk with Christ you share in His strength and wisdom.
Surrender your will: and prepare to receive all that God desires for you.
Embrace God’s plan: ask Him to open your eyes to His plan and then purpose you to work alongside Him.
Trust in His provision: “God will make this happen, for He who called you is faithful.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:24 NLT
Guard your heart: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything that you do.” - Proverbs 4:23 NLT
Opt for growth: go out as a learner and allow God to grow you beyond your
expectations, beyond your limitations, beyond your comfort and what’s “manageable.”
Will you pack your duffle bag with clean clothes? Or dirty ones? CLEAN, of course. Isn’t it just as important to pack your heart in the same fashion?
“God loves to mold you...but He’ll chisel if he must!”
1. What are some of your fears? Take a few moments to list the things that come to mind. This is between you and God, but if you’re comfortable sharing something from your list, let the group know. No doubt, someone else will have a similar apprehension.
2. Share with the group, a few of your expectations for this trip? In light of what you just read, so they need to be modified in any way?
3. Think about how well do you do with change, with plans that don’t go as you expected. Rate on a scale of 1 to 5 your adaptability to change when things don’t go as planned. Explain.
4. What does it look like to walk with Christ in the “unforced rhythms of grace?”
5. Pray daily that God would reveal to you any “emotional baggage” that you are carrying that needs to be “unpacked” before you make this trip. Write down what you receive and commit to seek God’s help. As you are comfortable, share with your group any issues they can be praying for on your behalf.
*Take time now, as a group, to pray for one another – that you would be able to resist temptation and guard your hearts in the days ahead. Pray for strength, healing and restoration for the members of your group, trusting that God knows the needs of each member.