Four years ago I sat in a bathroom stall in a church basement in Brooklyn where I was going to spend my last ten weeks in the United States for the foreseeable future away from everyone and everything familiar. I cried. I wondered if I had made a big mistake. I knew it would’ve been easier if I had stayed home at my parents’ house for the summer walking to the library and going to Panera with my friends. But I also knew that easier isn’t always better. That summer in Brooklyn wasn’t easy but it changed me in so many amazing ways.
A couple of days ago I stood in a house I had already committed my heart to and I thought, “What am I doing?! Wouldn’t it be easier to stay in San Pedro where I already have a nice apartment and a job that gives me financial stability, not to mention friends that like me and help me out all the time?!” But I did it scared. I paid the deposit and signed the contract while I was internally FREAKING OUT. I, for I believe the first time in my life, felt the full weight of impostor syndrome.
“I am not going to be good at this job. What if I fail? What if I’m mean? What if my house is too big and I get robbed or I get scared at night or I can’t pay my bills and I have to ask my parents for money for food? What if I fail?” I fell asleep with a pounding heart full of fears.
Tomorrow I was supposed to have a mock session (which is basically an interview) with Tutor.com. Tutoring online has been my back up plan for the past few months since I realized finding a teaching job in Jarabacoa wasn’t happening. But it has always been my really huffy back up plan. Like I’ll do it if I have to. So I went through the application process and tried to convince myself how perfect this job at Tutor.com is going to be for my new life! Yet I was dreading reading through all the material for the mock session and had therefore procrastinated doing it until today, the day before the interview.
Just now as I was hanging up my laundry I thought about how this job might not actually be perfect for my new life. I thought about what might happen if there is an emergency at the hostel and I’m in the middle of a tutoring session. I thought about what might happen if I just cancel my mock session and start Googling more appealing ways to make money online. Then I did it scared. I cancelled my mock session and backed out of a (basically) sure fire way to make an extra $60 a week.
If I don’t find another job or a roommate I’ll make enough money to pay my rent and have $25 left over. I’m doing it scared. I’m listening to my gut because I believe that’s where the Holy Spirit lives. I’m making intentional decisions about what I want my life to look like. I chose a filthy and quirky house over a gorgeous and safe one because for the first time in my life I get to construct my life from the ground up. Where do I want to live? How do I want to spend my days? What kind of people and places do I want to fill my life with? I’m answering these questions in real and practical ways and I’m doing it scared. Because in order to answer these questions honestly I have to own up to who I actually am and what I actually want.
In three weeks I will leave San Pedro de Macoris, the city where I have lived for almost four years. I will leave Colegio Las Palmas where I have taught over one hundred amazing students. I will leave my comfortable apartment, my familiar church, and my gorgeous and supportive group of friends. I will leave my dependable and confiado motoconcho drivers. I will leave my amazing vet. I will leave my coworkers. I will leave McDonalds and Dominos! And I will pack everything I own only to unpack it a few hours north where I will start all over again.
I will be working as concierge at the beautiful Jarabacoa Mountain Hostel. I will be attending a local church. I will be intentionally and actively looking for ways to be involved in a local ministry (right now I’ve got my eye on Kids Alive). I will also be supporting Jarabacoa Animal Rescue in small ways (probably by just adopting all their dogs but more hopefully and more realistically by fostering puppies). I will be making time to write (she says for the thousandth time) and I will be finishing a novel (she says in faith). I will, most likely and at first, be doing a lot of this scared. But I think “do it scared” is just our new way of saying “take a leap of faith.” If I figure everything out myself, if I always choose the safe and comfortable option, I leave no room for God to work.
So I’m Peter. The boat’s rocking, but I’m standing up. I’m swinging my leg out over the side and I’m walking towards Jesus as I see Him in Jarabacoa. I’m walking towards what He has for me next intentionally and actively. I’m walking in faith and I’m doing it scared.