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We see travel as a way of resting and getting away – which it is. But we should remember to get away with God, learning to rest with Him, not from Him.
Travel or adventure, wide-open spaces or crowded streets, beaches or mountains, different countries or different cities, wherever you go you can be sure you’ll encounter new experiences and new cultures. Traveling might have challenges, twists, turns and even the occasional fifteen-hour turned thirty-hour bus ride; however, if you are open to it, you will gain something even greater while traveling– a deeper relationship with the Lord. In order to walk out our faith during travel, here are a few things I want you to consider:
Before heading off on a trip, I am often stressed, busy, and in desperate need of some quality Jesus time, but I never actually make time for it because of the hustle of getting everything ready to go. I push Jesus aside as I try to get everything sorted to get to a location where I can ‘rest’ on my own behalf when in reality, Jesus is where and whom I should be taking my ‘rest’ with daily. He is the one where I will find true rest.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28
I used to see going on holidays as a break from everything, including God, but my mindset has since then changed once I realized that I can only truly get a ‘real’ break and discover true rest when it is God that I turn to not adventuring or laying on a beach in the sun. So as you think about your upcoming adventures, remember that you should WANT to be intentional in thinking of ways to bring God with you on your adventure as He is the one who can truly give you rest.
There are a lot of great ways to grow closer to God during travel and one of those ways for me is trust. Trusting God can be really hard, especially when it is easy to stress out about the small things. I travel a lot, and I reached a point where I became so stressed with trips that I would find myself preparing days in advance for my actual trip. Everything had to be in order, checked, checked again, and then checked once more!
I think it’s super important to be prepared and organized, but when it gets to a point of stress and anxiety it’s clear that I am no longer trusting in God but rather myself for not forgetting anything (which we know is usually not true when it comes to travel). Instead, of stressing over all the details, we need to be responsible and do our part but then trust that the Lord will fill in the gaps with His adventurous Fatherly ways.
God cares about the details. God cares about the stories. God cares about the little travel moments that put the cherry on top of your experiences. He cares about it all, and He will take care of all those things. It may not be in a way you understand at first (although I would also love for Him to drop a thousand dollars from the sky), but you have to trust that His plans and His steps for you are better than you can imagine or plan yourself.
Personally, I just tried out this way of trusting God with the details and I just finished up a three month trip around the United States (I am from New Zealand) and I couldn’t have planned a better trip than He did. I gave all the details and plans to Him – literally all I had booked when I left New Zealand was two nights in a hostel in LA, and the rest was up to the Lord. And what He had planned for me was more than I could have ever imagined.
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but is the purpose of the Lord who will stand.” – Proverbs 19:21
So even if you plan a perfect trip, don’t be concerned or surprised if your plan doesn’t work out. Trust that God is taking you on an adventure, and you’ll soon realize there isn’t a travel agent or companion better than our Lord and Savior!
Whether you’re on a solo backpacking trip to discover yourself, a family vacation, or a two-day road trip with friends, God is always looking for ways to fill you up!
One look at His creation and you can see that. Enjoy the rolling hills as you are driving past them instead of having your head in your phone. Enjoy the sound and the glistening sun on the crashing waves instead of trying to capture it on an Insta-story. Also, take a second to appreciate the architecture around you – God too made the person behind those creations.
He will also fill you up with people and conversations. God will send people your way with words of wisdom, tough questions, different perspectives or backgrounds that will make you think differently about something. Enjoy these conversations and seek out other ones like it. Remember to never be too busy to talk with the people around you. If/when you encounter someone who differs in faith or confesses their unbelief in Jesus, I encourage you to keep listening and be inquisitive. Whoever they are and whatever their beliefs, you always have something you can learn from them. You also never know how God may use YOU as a guiding light in that person’s personal journey towards discovering the Lord’s love. Jesus has never been disengaged from you, even in your doubts, so do the same with the people you meet.
To be honest, ladies, traveling isn’t always full of wonderful conversations. Sometimes we encounter others who frustrate, antagonize, or criticize us, and it is in those moments that God uses the situations to strengthen and test our patience and hearts. During those moments of tough travels, I pray you can remember the light and life God can bring even then. Stay calm, remember to be understanding, and live through compassion when faced with adversity. It can be difficult, but just because we are on vacation it doesn’t mean we don’t need to still hold ourselves as Christ would. I think it’s important to remember that even in these situations God is still life-giving!
You don’t have to make your whole trip a church tour, but it’s nice to break out of your comfort zone and see the different ways in which the Kingdom loves and worships Jesus. Ask God for eyes that see and ears that hear the truth the Lord is trying to speak to you through their message! It might be different than what you are used to, but the Lord can and still works through them.
We have been given a purpose and a mission in Christ Jesus which we are called to carry out here on earth and that is to honor and glorify God and ultimately spread the Good News. Before you start to think about all the reasons you are unequipped to talk to people, strangers, or friends about the gospel, try to think of one person in the Bible who was actually equipped. In Acts 1 the chapter starts off with Paul recapping Jesus’ last instructions to us before He left. He gathered people together and then told them to wait. He didn’t say to be perfect or to have the best tools to evangelize. He told them to wait for the Holy Spirit. He then said that as soon as they received the Holy Spirit, they would be fully equipped to go out and share the Good News.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” – Acts 1:8
If you are still looking for a person who was equipped to share… you will have a hard time finding them. God qualifies the called, He doesn’t call the qualified. Everyone has their doubts, their brokenness, their issues, but when we step out in faith we are covered by the Holy Spirit as shown above in Acts 1:8. We are renewed and we are enabled by the Holy Spirit to carry out our mission. So what do you have to lose! God is on your side, and when He is there- how can you fail?
Here are 5 things I suggest practicing/doing to make sharing the gospel while traveling a little easier!
Preparing for your next trip? Consider these questions.
Dear Lord Jesus,
As I set off on this adventure, please let it be a time of rest in You. Set me apart from the normal distractions of life. I ask that my heart is in tune with yours so that I can see another side of You. I want to hear the wisdom You are telling me that I need for this journey and for back at home. I leave what is happening at home with You – the issues, the problems, and the work. I ask that You protect me on the road. Please enable me with the strength to share Your Good News and to love people, despite my weakness or my understanding. Just like everything else, I offer this trip to you. I am so excited about what You will lead me into and the parts of Your creation that I will see.
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