I’ve heard some Christians suggest that vacations are an unfruitful way to spend precious time. Vacations, they would say, are self-indulgent and nothing more than a ‘worldly pleasure’. I suppose I can see the point of their argument. Maybe. Aside from the girls gone wild display of spring break debauchery, I’d really have to cross my eyes and squint in order to see vacations from this perspective.
Nearly 5 weeks have passed since I left for this pilgrimage of mine. 5 weeks away from structure, work, and expectations. This may not be exactly like a vacation, for it holds a different intention than simply 7 days of R&R. But let the reader understand, this trip has indeed provided many sweet moments of much needed rest. As such, is this pilgrimage too self-focused and, therefore, a miserable stewardship of the few hours God has given me? Is this pilgrimage a garbage dump of worldly pleasure?
No. It’s not. These 5 weeks away were an invitation, a buoy for my desperately malnourished soul.
Today’s ‘wasted’ time was spent driving, and man, it was so completely worth it. There is something adventurous about road trips, don’t you think? Especially when your trip takes you along California’s finest coastal road. Sandwiched by the endless Pacific and towering rocky peaks, I cruised along the 1 for most of the afternoon. Let me tell you something, there are few things that make me feel as peaceful and happy as this particular paved thread of the West Coast. Standing in line with trail running, hiking, baseball games, and a comfy bookstore; road trips are another creative way in which I tangibly experience the goodness of God.
And experience is a vital necessity to our spiritual health. We must seek out opportunities to commune with God. This can happen on vacation or on pilgrimage, at a baseball game or a worship service. I’ve always encouraged the young women that I mentor to find out where and how they commune most intimately with the Creator, and to then make time for those spaces of communion. The world is loud, our egos are noisy, and the enemy is a bitch of a thief. There is no doubt we need a buoy or twelve to keep us afloat in truth.
As Ecclesiastes so eloquently teaches us, this pilgrimage was and is my time to weep and to mourn over my brokenness and its painful consequences; my time to laugh and dance in the spirit of forgiveness, to seek the whisper of God and to keep silence in order to hear; my time to lose some unnecessary baggage and to be, (perhaps most importantly) embraced by grace. Everything has it’s time. This pilgrimage was my time to commune with Christ.
Cultivating spiritual health is incredibly valuable to our participation in the mission of God. If we fail to allow those moments where we commune with God to guide us, we become vulnerable to the patterns of the world, we give into the egotistical voices in our head, and the enemy bitch-slaps our spirits and robs us of our truest life.
I’ve reaped the disastrous blows of my failure to cultivate spiritual health. It was a Rocky vs. Apollo sized fight to be sure. I think blood was shed. Or was it just tears? Who can remember. But as I move forward I want to be more proactive with my spiritual health. And I want to be creative about it too. Communing with God isn’t confined to only bible reading and journaling (hallefreakinglujah!). This is worship people! It’s not meant to be a bore. If you are bored, then for your sake and for the sake of others, engage in some new practices! It’s ok to get outside the box of tradition once an a while. Try cruising the 1, see what you find. Download the ‘AllTrails‘ app and get exploring. Read a new author or try a new bible translation. Schedule an annual vacation or set out on pilgrimage, who gives a shit if others try to tell you its time wasted. This is your spiritual health, no one else gets to own it.