With Only 5 Weeks To Go, I Have A Confession by Travis Sharpe

Yesterday was the five week mark. Five weeks until our family boards an airplane in Atlanta bound for Southeast Asia.


It became very real to all of us when we got our tickets a few days ago. There on the tickets we looked at the return date-June 4th, 2015.

We are all excited about spending five months in the Philippines. I know that we will make a difference. I know that God is going to bless beyond what I can even imagine. I know these things. I cling to these things.

The truth

But I would be less than honest if I didn’t tell you that at the same time I am also anxious and stressed.

There, I said it. I just admitted it. I have been telling myself for months now that I am not at all worried, that I know God is going to iron out all the details.

But the truth is that I haven’t slept well for weeks. Some nights it takes me 2-3 hours to fall asleep. The problem has been unbearable tension in my shoulders and neck. Sometimes the tension is so bad that I can’t lay in one position for more that about three or four minutes.

It causes me to go from the bed- to the recliner- to the couch- to the shower- and back to the bed again!

I know that you probably want me to be better at this than I am. Most folks want to hear that everything is rosy. I guess it sounds better that way. The only problem is that’s not true.

Preachers, pastors, and missionaries are human too. We have hopes and fears. We have dreams and disappointments.

And sometimes it all catches up with us.

The weird part

I get frustrated because I am not actively worrying. I am not sitting around wringing my hands and sweating. I am not secretly doubting our plans.

I am preparing for the trip and doing what I know I should be doing.

But the tension is there. The sleepless nights are there. April has been telling me for some time now that this is due to stress but I have dismissed it. I dismissed it because I do believe the Lord is going to bless and I know he is in control.

The realization came just last week. It is possible to be stressed and anxious and not even realize it. That was weird to me.

This has not been much of a problem for me during the day. At least not until last week. I sat down to draft a letter about some of our fund-raising needs. As I began to write, the tension began to set in. Within just a few minutes I was stiff in my shoulders and neck.

I was anxious about it all. About the remaining needs. About where we will live once we arrive. About the kids. You name it and it has gone through my mind. There is no shortage of things to think about.

Now that I have admitted this

I’ll be honest and tell you that this was hard to admit. I would rather be seen as someone who is invincible. Someone who never has a problem living by faith.

Yeah right!

In actuality, I am the one who needs God’s grace the most. I need to lean on his great promises now more than ever. I need to pray and believe that where he guides, he provides!

So now that I have admitted to myself (and you) that I am stressed and anxious, what should I do?

I am admitting it to God and asking for his help. I am asking him to calm my nerves and to allow me to rest in his arms. I am asking him to attend to every little detail and to take care of my family and the future.

Basically, I am praying from the standpoint of “Lord I need your help” instead of “Lord bless what I am doing”.

Thank you for the encouragement

God always seems to use his people to encourage me during trying times. Just yesterday I received a cool backpack to take on our trip. It came from a dear friend of mine who is struggling with cancer. She has a million things more important than me to think about but yet she took the time to meet a simple need.

A couple of people have bought shoes for April and Sarah to take on the trip. Real good sandals that they will be comfortable in.

Someone else has offered to look after our house while we are gone. These acts of kindness are more than a help-they serve as a reminder. They remind me that if my friends are thinking of us, how much more is our Heavenly Father thinking of us?

So thank you for the encouragement and prayers. Thank you for standing with us and making a difference! And please pray that I get some good sleep! And if you have any other good suggestions I would love to hear them as well. Leave a comment below.

P.S. This Tuesday is Giving Tuesday. Please prayerfully consider making a donation to help us set up the new ministry center in the Philippines. We still have a long way to go! Click here to learn how you can donate and change a life forever.

Photo credit: R. Motti via photopin cc