“Today is only Thursday. How in the Sam Hill are we going to hike over 30 miles by Saturday morning!?” That was my question, as I got my gear together before meeting four men at dawn in Chattanooga, Tennessee. After a Cracker Barrel breakfast, we drove 127 miles to Helen, Georgia on that spring day in 2006 to enter the Appalachian Trail (AT). One of the men named David, was our leader. After hiking a good number of miles, as soon as we took a rest and sat down we heard him say: “We gotta keep moving!” Since he did not support long breaks, we met our mileage goal and I lost 4 expendable pounds that weekend somewhere on the AT. I gained a positive memory of fellowship with those men, even though I felt a little claustrophobic sleeping in a one-man tent. That adventure reminded me of prior hiking trips, like the trek on the Pink Beds trails in the Pisgah National Forest of North Carolina, and the rigorous trail all the way up to Mt. LeConte in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.
Oh, how quickly we forget the meaningful and stretching experiences we have had! Since life passes faster than an Olympic sprinter, it is hard to slow down and remember all the events of yesterday. Do we repeat more unnecessary mistakes in life, because we never stop to process or reflect what happened to us?
It is interesting to discover how similar the word Journey is to the word Journal. Just 2 letters make each word different. A journey is the no-brainer act of traveling from one place to another. Some synonyms are excursion; voyage; expedition; odyssey; quest and pilgrimage. By definition, a journal is a personal record of occurrences and reflections put in writing kept on a regular basis.
Where are you on your spiritual journey? Has apathy become your companion? I know it gets old climbing up through exhausting circumstances that test your faith and stamina. Who has not wanted to quit? I tell God all the time: “I am weak but You are strong”. Everyone needs a place to vent. Why not start keeping a record of what you are going through? When you look back on those journals of your spiritual pilgrimage, you will be amazed at how the faithfulness of God carried you. Even though I am fully aware that God pursued and loved me first, I still sometimes feel like I am stagnate and not going anywhere. That is when I tell myself: “Nelson, God promised to finish what he started!” From his book Philippians, Paul declares from 1:6: “I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Having doubts? Write ‘em down. Now put one foot in front of the other, trusting that the leader of your journey knows where He is taking you. Rest if you must, but do not quit!
pictures courtesy of “Nelson & His Nikon”.