"I believe deeply that all the good things our world has to offer are yours to enjoy. But you can enjoy them truly only when you can acknowledge them as affirmations of the truths that you are the beloved of God. That truth will set you free to receive the beauty of nature and culture in gratitude..."
- Henri Nouwen, Life of the Beloved
Sometimes it takes a lot to enter into a new perspective. You have those moments that you don't understand, you feel trapped or beat down by the constant onslaught of life; restless. Your margin for grace grows smaller and smaller and the ability to love others and yourself seem out of reach. What you need is a re-centering.
My favorite way to grab a new perspective is to explore places I have never seen before. I think the Lord gives each of us a gift of restlessness that we get to work with throughout our lives. Yeah, I said gift.
I remember being a high school senior was a restless period of time. So much energy and potential. Above are selected photos I took 5 years after my own graduation of a week long journey with 12 rising seniors to the Rio Grande National Forest. Young Life has a camp there called Wilderness Ranch. It is a-typical for Young Life camps, where you are taken out of your comfort zone instead of being brought into some of the most comfortable camps ever built. Both are great, but Wilderness Ranch holds a special place in my heart for what it represents. Pilgrimage.
"So often, we get lost in self-absorbed thinking. We look for Jesus in Bible studies and self-help books, and he doesn't seem to be around. We need to look for him near the trash heap. If we live in suburbia, we may need to take a journey to get there."
- Seth Barnes, Kingdom Journeys
I am on a team to leave the US in October 2017, backpack in tow, set to return after a year and four continents later. Seth Barnes, the founder of Adventures in Mission, would say it like this, "you can't be remade until you first allow yourself to be unmade." I am in a place in my life where I have set up a determined Journey to create that space to be unmade. I am going to till the soil of my heart. And that's just what Wilderness Ranch did for myself and the twelve guys I was leading into the mountains.
Going with these guys brought a lifetime of memories and friendship that is hard to find when we stay comfortable. Journeys can be a day trip to waves by yourself, or a week in the mountains with your people, or two years in the Peace Corps. Just take the time to examine what you need to develop that gift of restlessness. We gain a new perspective in the abandonment of the norm.
Lets not do this alone, either.
Where are you taking your own Journey this week? This month? This year?