If I were a real blogger, here's how things would have gone down:
After my initial posts about my invitation to travel with She is Safe, I would have shared regular updates chronicling my thoughts and the process of preparing to go halfway around the world. Instead, what I will offer (I hope) is an after-the-fact processing of the journey.
Since I'm still waiting for my brain to get home from Myanmar, this will likely come in scattered snippets (mostly because that's how it's coming to me).
After reading my last post about the trip, I recognize a major shift that has occurred in my thinking and my "justification" for going. As you can imagine, it's not cheap to travel more than halfway around the globe, and most of my turmoil while preparing for the trip was using the generous contributions of other people to fund a trip on which I had no clear role. It's incredibly awkward to be asked, "So what will you be doing in Myanmar?" when the only honest answer is, "I don't really know."
After reading Helping Without Hurting, I was able to have a certain degree of peace, but that was mainly because I felt that even if I didn't know what my job was on this trip, God did. I felt a sense of anticipation about seeing how God would use me.
Now I'm back, and do you know what? He didn't. I can probably kiss any future fundraising for trips goodbye with this statement, but God had no use for me on this trip--and I am completely okay with it.
Here's what I've discovered: Sometimes God puts a fire in a person's heart and gives a vision, a purpose, a passion, and a commission to carry out a task. In fact, on this trip I was privileged to travel with two such people and meet several more.
In my case, however, I don't know that this was a commissioning event or an issuing of a grand task--at least not right now. Rather, I had the very humbling yet liberating sense in Myanmar that He was just inviting me along to learn and gain some understanding of how He's working there.
He didn't want to use me, He wanted to show me.
I'm not sure if I can articulate what a gift it was during a spiritually lonely and frustrating season to feel that the God of the Universe just wanted me with Him, as a child and a friend, to watch Him work and feel His love for all people.
So, I guess my first take-away is for all of us goal-oriented Americans with a hidden hero complex and a need to perform:
It's okay--vital even--just to be the sidekick sometimes.