"You weren't put where you are by God, in order to consistently, desperately, and enthusiastically escape from there." -- Ronaa Tornibt
Ok, fine, I made that quote up. . . .
There's something I've noticed about our generation. We like to travel, a lot. In fact, If someone asks you what your hobbies are, and you say, "travel", it now seems like a cliche. Like, "I really enjoy the Beatles", or if a 10-year-old says, "My favorite food is pizza!" There's nothing wrong with travel, or pizza, . . . or the Beatles. All are good gifts from God, to be enjoyed and used for his glory. But, each generation, culture, and group of people have things that are over-valued. We have things that we think are "the best", to be desired above all else.
Well, for us, at this cultural moment, I think travel/vacation/adventuring is one of those things. I lump them all together because I think they all point to the same reality in the human heart. But, first, let me say; I am 100% on board with vacationing, I believe in "Sabbath" (not just one day a week), I believe we all need breaks from the grind, and I think it's unhealthy to never break up the rhythms in our lives and get away. Absolutely! I also know that sometimes if we're in a season of being invited to a lot of weddings, or graduations, etc. . . . we'll have times of more intense travel. That is not what I'm talking about here.
As the title of this posts says, I think there is a huge blind spot in our culture in thinking that the best place to be, . . . .is anywhere other than where I currently am. That points to a profound discontentment which the bible says, is very dangerous. (Heb. 13:5, Luke 12:15, 1 Tim 6:6). Maybe social media has just made public what were once private feelings? Maybe we have a lot of disposable income and find it easy to get away? I think that's part of it. . . .but traveling is publicly shown and promoted as being the most desirable thing you could possibly do. Staying put, and finding joy where God has placed you, . . . . not so much. This is ironic, because I happen to live in one of the places in our country (Colorado) with one of the highest tourism budgets! It is a "destination" state! People come here, quite often, to get away. And, yet, Coloradoans are always wanting to travel?!
Why am I writing about this? Here's the rub: God's Word calls us to contentment, and calls us to community. I think an overemphasis on traveling and always taking a trip away, "because we can", hurts these two important spiritual realities and robs us of the joy God has for us where we are. As my phony quote at the top implies. . . . God did put you where you are for a reason. There is joy, meaning, and purpose to be found right where God has placed you. You don't need to find a beach somewhere to find those things. Also, community is hard to build when we're so inconsistently around our local church, and while there. . . .always talking about our next trip, or where we wish we were! We need to be present for each other. We need to meet together on the Lord's Day. We need to be present enough to take up one another's burdens and do life together.
There are enough things in our culture warring against contentment and community. . . .most of them have a connection to social media (smile). But, we certainly don't need to be adding fuel to the fire by proclaiming, "my life is missing some big adventure!". No, you might be missing a big adventure that God wants to do in your life. . . .right where you are.
So, to those of you who need a break and aren't using your vacation time. . . . take some time away! Enjoy the great privilege we have to travel. To those of you who stare at travel websites all day and haven't been in the same state for 6 weeks in a row. . . maybe think about plugging in a little bit more.
(again, I feel the need, as a P.S. . . .to affirm all that is good and right about having healthy rhythms of getting away, resting, and exploring new things in our life.)