I’m Off to India!
So I’m leaving for India in 2 days! I can’t believe it’s finally here. I’ve experienced a huge range of emotions about this trip in the year since I was invited to go, from extreme excitement to major nerves to downright dread. For about 8 months it didn’t even seem real, and now I can’t wait to be there. I’m weary of preparing; I just want to do what I’ve been anticipating for so long.
Though I’ve been brewing lots of ideas for money-related posts, I’m in full-time India mode. I’ve set aside all the personal finance thoughts swirling in my mind to steep myself in what I’ll teach in India. I’ve prepared two conference teachings, a personal testimony, and some other materials should I be asked to speak at the last minute. My bag is 95% packed. I have one errand to run. Yet I feel wildly unprepared. Who wouldn’t? I could get ready for this trip forever. But as with personal finance, and so many other areas of life, you could read about it and prepare forever. At some point you just have to do it. Take the first step toward your goal.
And so, I’ll step onto that plane. I’ll keep studying hard and praying hard. And then some day next week, I’ll step onto the podium, open my mouth, and start speaking. If I waited for these teachings to be perfect, no one would ever hear them. I’ll teach women I’ve never met who are from a culture foreign to me. I can’t rely on humor, allusions, or certain illustrations as I might here. I can’t rely on my wording because I’ll teach through a translator. I could do a great job or completely bomb it. But it isn’t about me, and honestly, I won’t even know whether it’s well-received. My hope is that God will use what I’ve prepare to encourage the women who have taken an equally big step to attend the conference.
During hectic times I’ve wished I could just prepare for India—nothing else. Of course, this isn’t how life works. My kids still need a mom. My husband still needs a wife. My friends still need a friend. Thankfully everyone has been incredibly helpful–except my 1-year-old! Even my son has encouraged me that it’s going to be great, I’ll have so much fun, and he won’t miss me at all (um, thanks?).
The same holds true for money: we could all be great with our money if life didn’t get in the way. We could save way more if we didn’t have anything else going on. We’d spend so much less if we didn’t have kids who get sick or cars that break or houses to repair. It helps to remember this is what money is for—meeting our needs, and those of others.
I’ve had to remind myself of this as I spend a hefty sum on this trip (ameliorated by many generous donations!). It doesn’t make sense from a purely financial perspective. However, it aligns exactly with our goal of financial flexibility—taking opportunities that fit in the bigger picture of our life purposes. In fact, this is why we aim for flexibility instead of financial “freedom.” I’ve wanted to go on an international missions trip for 10 years. When the opportunity finally came, the price tag didn’t stop me because we are willing to spend on what we value, and we’re able to in part because we’ve reduced spending on what we don’t value. God also provided funds for the trip through many generous donations, including a nearly-free car that Neil was able to fix up and sell. While we try to be good stewards of our money, the donations and car sale profit was pure grace. We didn’t deserve any of this help.
I am hoping to gain some insight into pretending to be poor as I see another side of the world, though I can’t predict what I’ll discover. Surely I’m bound to learn something, and I can’t wait to share it when I return. I’m not sure that I’ll have wifi or the ability to post while I’m there. And I doubt Neil will be able to post amidst keeping these babies alive for two weeks without me. So until then, namaste!
How does travel fit in with your priorities? And what have you learned from traveling?