I haven’t known my whole life that I would want to spend my life traveling. I grew up traveling around the country with my family. We took vacations to wondrous places…. traveling through the states, eager to discover something new. Sometimes we drove. Sometimes we went by train. Sometimes we took our RV. We did a lot of camping. We did a lot of driving. Rarely did we stay in a hotel. When I was younger, I didn’t fully appreciate these circumstances. I did love traveling in the camper though. If you never have, you are really missing out.
The point is… I’ve grown up, at least a little bit. And as I’ve grown up, my appreciation of all the travels I did when I was younger has also grown. Little did I realize back then how much those travels would transform the way I viewed the world, and the way I viewed life. Not everyone gets the luxury or privilege of traveling, and for that reason I feel very blessed for having had those experiences. At a young age, my mind and imagination were captivated by ideas of promise and potential. It was everywhere: in the landscape, in the history, in the open roads and flowing rivers. I don’t know about you, but for me it’s impossible to stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon, see the crystal clear & aqua blue waters in the Bahamas, or watch a sunset at the top of a mountain and not have some sort of epic song playing in my head, accompanied by a sense of awe, wonder, joy, appreciation, and the presence of God. It opens up your eyes to how much bigger this world is… and just how much bigger our God is. It’s made me look at life as full of possibilities, because I’ve seen them… I know they exist.
“Embark”. If any of you read the blog entry I wrote towards the beginning of this year, this word was the focus. It was right before I left to work for FILTER magazine in California, and it really became the word I have tried to live by this year. I saw it as embracing change, creating & living adventures, and even challenging myself to step out in faith and to experience the unknown. I can say, with much honesty, that I’ve struggled in many areas of my life this year… but that I have been successful at embarking on many new journeys. I have traveled more this year than any other year of my life. I have experienced independence in a very new way. I have stepped out of my comfort zone in many ways…. Travels I’ve had, new ways I’ve started serving others and the church, stretching myself musically, financially, and even letting go of things or people that I held on to for far too long. There is not much for me to say about all of these things except that it’s been an incredible year. It’s been very tough… stressful… lonely… confusing… inconsistent… and many more things. But, looking back over the year, I can’t help but think “Wow. That was incredible.” I felt like I lived with passion, an appetite for adventure, if you will.
I know life won’t always be like this… full of opportunities and adventure. Or is that a belief that we’ve fallen into? Can we continue to live life with this kind of eagerness? I sure hope so. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Haven’t we been given the gift of life, and the ability to live it abundantly and to the fullest? I’m sure some of you think I’m naïve. I’m still young… I haven’t been married… I don’t have children… I don’t even have a real career started… and I still live with my parents. It’s true I haven’t experience a lot of life’s hardships… but on the flip side, all of those could also be reasons for me to get discouraged (and believe me, I do get discouraged almost daily). So, is that going to determine the choices I make? When it comes to the big picture, will I still pursue the extraordinary? Yes. The answer is yes. And I hope it will always be yes.
There will always be excuses to stay put and stay comfortable…. But I don’t buy it. Why risk it? That type of lifestyle seems a lot like conforming to the patterns of this world. Why not say, “God, I’m going to do something extraordinary. I don’t have to be the most successful. I don’t have to be good at it. I don’t have to make sense to other people… but, I’m going to do it, because I want you to reveal yourself to me in new ways, through new people. I want to stand in awe.” It’s that mindset that I hope to hold on to my entire life. I want to live life to the fullest… I want to see the possibilities… I want to be captivated… I want to stand in awe.