I’m a missionary afraid of flights. We live in a world
shrouded in fear, provoked by undetermined plane
crashes, terrorism, disasters, gun violence, and more.
These events hit me with fear from time to time, but
it isn’t crippling. I realise it’s the fears that are subtle
and hidden that really affect my daily life.
long-term in that nation. Sitting at the back of a
truck, staring into the mountains, I started talking
to God. “God, I can’t step out now. What if things at
home get worse? What if I always remain single as a
In that moment, God convicted me with a crystal-clear
thought. I saw myself, attempting to walk towards
Him, but a thin, single thread tied around my leg
stopped me from moving closer. I instantly understood
that the thread represented my fears – the fear of my
family relationships breaking down, and the fear that
I would be a lonely missionary without a companion. In
my mind, these were two very legitimate concerns, but
they were actually deterring my full, wholehearted
obedience to God’s command! I had been held back
all this time, by what was seemingly reasonable to me.
I’m afraid of what my future will look like without an
income. Will I be able to provide for myself? If God
calls me to another nation to serve for an indefinite
period of time, will the relationships within my family
be further strained? Will I always be single and alone?
I’m afraid to walk up to strangers to tell them how
much God loves them. I’m afraid to pray for a homeless
man I’m moved with compassion for. I’m afraid to be
open about my Christian values and ministry with
non-believing friends, especially when faced with
opposition and ridicule. I’m afraid of correcting a
friend in love, even when it’s crucial. Rejection – that’s
what I’m truly afraid of.
“Tessa, you don’t actually believe that I am in control
of your family, that I can move hardened hearts. Do
you not trust that I am enough for you, even if you are
alone?” With these words, God convicted me with love
and truth, leaving me in tears. I realised:
Why am I always so fearful? I always thought I was
courageous for choosing the life of a missionary. But
the true tests of obeying God’s call glaringly revealed
the fears that were rooted deep within.
UNDERLYING EACH FEAR WAS
UNBELIEF. I DIDN’T BELIEVE THAT
My family was undergoing challenging transitions
and my parents were at the crossroads of their
lives, searching for love and purpose. Sometimes
the stresses of life caused strain and conflicts in
our relationships. I wanted, so much, to make things
‘better’ – to speak up more, to be home as much as
possible in case they were lonely – all to maintain
the peace, afraid that a conflict would erupt. It didn’t
help that stressful situations in the household would
often ensue just days before my outreach, leaving me
needlessly burdened and making it hard to be away.
GOD’S LOVE WAS ENOUGH.
Enough to change my family, to protect me from
rejection, to satisfy my soul, whethe r I was lonely or in
lack. I used to pray for more courage, but what I really
needed was a deeper revelation of His love in my life.
If I truly ‘lived in God’s love’, I ‘surely ought’ to step out
in love for others (1John 4:11), without any hesitation or
fear, even if it involves taking a flight, leaving my own
family to serve another people and nation, or talking
to a stranger and friend about His love for them.
But in 2015, during a 2-month outreach in Myanmar,
God filled me with an overwhelming desire to serve
I’m still a work in progress and afraid of many things.
I guess we all are. But one thing I know for sure,
fighting our fears involves taking a closer look into our
hearts; allowing God’s love to shine a light on the lies
we believe about Him, and allowing His love to bring
truth. This truth of God’s love isn’t just a good idea,
it’s the catalyst that truly leads us into real action,
obedience, and loving others.
Tessa received God’s missions call when she was 18,
but completed her Architecture Degree with 1 st Class
Honors before focusing on community development
in the developing nations. She will be staffing our
School of Community Development 2017.