We Might Be Crazy
My family LOVES to take road trips. Well, love might be too strong a word. The real truth is I hate flying and my husband loves traveling so we compromise and take road trips. Either way, every summer for the past few years we've planned a trip to a few states that are within driving distance, packed up the car, and headed off on an adventure. These trips are something we've come to look forward to with great anticipation. But when we first started this "tradition," we were a little scared. Certainly not of the destination, but definitely of the dreaded car ride!
When my husband and I thought of those many hours in the car, there was a certain amount of fear that bubbled up. We remembered the car rides to our families' houses just two hours away with screaming children, the stops to clean up vomit from carsickness, the numerous times we had traveled 30 minutes and someone remembered they forgot their most prized possession (i.e. the blankie), the sweet voices calling out their need to go to the bathroom when we had just left 20 minutes ago. SERIOUSLY?! We wondered if we were crazy for considering driving 10 hours straight to a destination (we decided that yes, that was a definite possibility). We came up with a hopeful solution: to have each child pack a travel bag to help along the way. And guess what? Those bags WORK! They make the trip ENJOYABLE!
It Makes A Difference
Our journey with God is no different. For many of us, we would say we believe in God. We pray, usually at night or in the morning. We read the Bible on occasion or read a fun Christian book. We donate money to a good cause. We talk about God and go to church on Sundays (well, most Sundays or maybe some Sundays. One out of five is good, right??). Heck, some of us have even participated in Bible studies and gone out and served the hurting of this world. We pat ourselves on the back and think we've got this faith thing down. And all of that is good and wonderful and used by God, but I would suggest it's not what Jesus came to give us.
In John 10:10 Jesus tells us He has come so we can have true, abundant lives. In fact, He gave His life so this would be possible for us. But there is so much more to this life He calls us to than checking off a bunch of boxes and an occasional trip to church. It's a day-to-day, moment by moment way of living, connected to the very presence of God. It's an "all in" way of life, and it's not easy. In fact, in Luke 18:24-25 Jesus himself talks about it. "Jesus said, 'Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who have it all to enter God’s kingdom? I’d say it’s easier to thread a camel through a needle’s eye than get a rich person into God’s kingdom.'” I've got to be honest...this verse has always scared the poop out of me. I've felt a lot like I did thinking about the car ride with three young people when I read it. But I have found, just like my kids do, that packing a travel bag for this journey with Christ really helps.
What I Pack
Now let me be the first to say that I am not an expert and don't really know how to get through the proverbial eye of the needle. The closer I get to God the more I realize how much I have yet to discover. But there are helpful practices that keep me connected to Him and make a difference when I use them. First, I find starting my day focused on God with my thoughts, and then reading the Bible or another good book, connects me right off the bat and makes it easier to maintain that connection. I spend time meditating on who He is and His Love often in the morning, but also throughout my day (use the meditations provided. SERIOUSLY they help!). Gratitude is a really helpful practice. Uniting with God throughout the day through prayer is another practice that really makes the day better. Nothing special has to be said just simple communication. Reflecting on the truth of God or a thought (mantra) often can be useful (use the verse of the week or simply think: God, You are love and You are here). Engaging with people through the perspective that they are Christ to me or I am Christ to them is crazy powerful. Simply inviting God into my moments strengthens the connection and keeps me focused and open to His grace. And if I have any hope of getting through the eye of the needle, it's because I'm coated in that miraculous grace.
What Do You Pack
There are so many ways to pack and use a travel bag for the journey with Christ. Just like how each of my kids pack different things in their travel bag, so do we. There are times when they take out one thing at a time and times when they use multiple things, just like us at different points on the road. We'd love to hear what you pack in yours or how you use it in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And remember who God is. Just like when my kids forget something really important, I don't get angry and shame them. Instead, because I love them, I try to help them by either turning back to get it or helping them find a substitute. God also offers us incredible and limitless grace because His love is so much more than we can imagine and He LONGS for us to have REAL life in all its fullness. I am confident that although the way isn't necessarily easy, it's most definitely worth the effort. And like any good trip, it's so much better with friends. We're praying for each of you (and each other;)) this week as we walk on!!
Here are a few tools you might "pack" for your journey this week...