A few months ago, Julie was reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, and in the book, Ann says that "our theories and theologies stillbirth unless they can take on some skin." That nugget of truth really stuck with Julie, and I think it's pretty darn relevant in our case here. Unless we apply these six things to our actual living, unless we give them some flesh, they stillbirth. They die. They're pointless.
Friends, let's not have pointless theology. Let's walk it out. Let's live it. OK, here we go...
4. Anticipate poor driving conditions.
At some point in your journey, your GPS (God positioning system) is going to tell you to get off the beaten track and blaze through some unchartered territory. In these moments, you need to be prepared for the road ahead by simply realizing that it's likely not a smooth one.
You see, when you step out and into your unique calling, you're bound to run into some opposition. In whatever form it comes, the opposing force will try to pull, mislead, or downright beat you off course. Sometimes, even the people closest to you, those who love you most, will take a stand against you.
If you discern that dirt roads, soft sand, steep inclines, or river crossings are looming, you need to prepare accordingly by adjusting the air pressure in your tires, attaching a winch to your vehicle, lifting your suspension, or putting your gearbox into low range. (I hope someone is feeling me here!) When we're road tripping with God, you need to brace yourself for whatever the world could throw at you. How? Get clothed in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:10-18). Everyday, get ready for battle.
What poor driving conditions and obstacles could you face during your journey? Is it society, financial pressure, education, family, friends, fear, work, yourself?
5. Find friends for the ride.
Someone once told me this: Show me your three closest friends, and I'll tell you who you are. It's so true. You are the company you keep, and a road trip isn't complete unless you have someone riding shotgun (and perhaps a few more buddies in the backseat)!
Lately, I've been thinking about the beauty, value, and blessings of community. The Apostle Paul instructed Jewish Christians who were facing persecution, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:24-25). Community, especially during times of persecution and hardship, is essential. And Paul says that a healthy community looks like this:
- Pointing one another in the direction of love and good deeds
- Meeting together regularly
- Encouraging each other
Do you have a community of believers around you who spur you on toward love and good deeds? Do they encourage you in the faith? Do you spur on and encourage them as well? Are you meeting together regularly?
6. Have roadside assistance.
When your car breaks down, these are the guys (or girls) you call! Carey Nieuwhof wrote a blog about the importance of developing an inner circle. Check it out here. I couldn't agree more with what he says. An inner circle doesn't promote exclusivity or a clique culture. Instead, it should be characterized by humility and grace. It should foster safety and sanity.
There are four men in my life who I call my inner circle. I can bear the more vulnerable parts of my heart to them. I can lay my emotions, frustrations, and convictions on the table, straight and openly, without any filters. They're as close as blood. They know and trust my heart. They're OK with my junk and love me enough to point out my blindspots. When I break down, I call them.
Who do you call when you break down? Is your inner circle characterized by humility and grace, not exclusivity? Does it foster safety and sanity?
We've discussed all six things to do before going on a road trip, and I guess the only thing left to say is this: "Buckle up, because it's going to be one heck of a ride!"
Heart to God.
Spread the Stoke.