62 miles one way. 124 miles a day. 620 miles a week. That is the goal.
A couple of weeks ago, I found myself run-down from the stress of schoolwork, work, and making decisions about the future and right now. There was doubt about the things that God had asked of me—how has He asked me to serve right now? Am I really called to become a journalist? I want to make the name of Christ known to the nations—how does evangelism and journalism go together? Should I get my masters or not? These slow-creeping questions became a burden in my life. I decided to spend a couple of weekends at home with my parents. Due to the current rough circumstances of life, it was decided that I would commute that following week between school and home. Later in the week, more things arose that made it feasible for me to continue to commute for a few days longer.
As someone who lives 62 miles away from school, that means I would be driving about 124 miles a day, amounting to 2 and half hours. Yes, you could say I am completely crazy. But I knew oddly enough that God was asking me to do this. And boy, did He use this time to grab my attention. In the solitude where it was just God and I in the car, I began to notice a rapid change within myself. My stress level was going down quickly. I thought that I would be extra stressed and tired from driving and not having as much time to get my work done. The opposite happened. I was doing my work quicker than I had been, with the excellence I was missing before. I was sleeping like a normal person again and taking the time to have dinner with my family. I was physically rested. By the first Tuesday, I kept thinking of the word “intentionality.” It was the next morning that God turned the lightbulb on for me. As I watched the sun rise over the fields of crops while driving to school, God told me something important:
“You need to rest in me, in my hope.”
I hadn’t been resting in God. I wasn’t putting my rest and hope in the One who holds my heart. In Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV) Jesus tells His followers:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
We are not meant to carry our burdens. We are meant to rest in the One who can carry it. I cannot carry the burden of all the things I have to do and the questions I have. But I know Someone who can.
The word “intentionality” made sense to me in this context. I needed to be intentional with my time. I hadn’t been intentional with my time on my schoolwork, with my friendships, with my family, but above all, I hadn’t been intentional with my time with God. Ephesians 5:15-17 (ESV) tells us:
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
Yes, I did “Christian” things during the day, but other things had begun to take precedence over time spent with the Lord. As much as I wanted and thought that I was putting God at the top of my list, He wasn’t, not in the way He should be. This was the foundation to everything I wanted answered: I needed to be resting in His hope before doing anything else. I needed to be sitting at the feet of Jesus.
In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus goes to the home of Martha and Mary. Here, Martha spends her time doing work while Mary sits at the feet of Jesus. Martha becomes angry with Mary for leaving her with the chores, so Martha asks Jesus to tell Mary to come and help her. Jesus says to Martha: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
No matter what Martha was doing, it was not as important as spending time directly with Christ. Identity is not rooted in the things that we do, but rather in the God who gave us those things to do. If we do not spend time with God, we will never know how to do the things for His glory. We will only know how to do them for ourselves, and that my friends, is a life of little satisfaction.
My drive with God has taught me a lot of things, required me to start doing certain things, and give up others, namely perfectionism. He has taught me to quit doubting things and walk in the abundance and the capability He has given me to fulfill His plan and purpose for my life. James 1:8 tells us that a double-minded person is unstable. While I am still learning and listening, I have no intention of being unstable.
I tell you this as a bit of encouragement. No matter what stresses in life you are facing, you can stop and rest in Him. Sometimes we need to just sit still and listen for the Holy Spirit to speak. It is through Him that we can give our burdens, cast our cares (1 Peter 5:7), and make wise decisions that will propel our lives to be a reflection of our heavenly Maker. Resting in the hope of Christ should be above the chaotic list of things we have to do. The list will go away, but He is the good portion that will not be taken away. The small obedience that God requires so He can reveal Himself, teach us, and guide us leads to far and above anything we could concoct as our own remedy for life.
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (Rev. 4:8).
He is worthy of all praise and admiration. He takes broken things—broken people—and transforms them into something new. He took a crazy circumstance and a breaking heart and transformed it over a few literal car trips for me. My travel story has come to a close, but I would drive 1000 miles more if it was what He called me to do so that I might grow in Christ. Whatever He is asking of you, remember to give the weight of life over to Him and He will lead you beside the still waters (Psalm 23:2). He is our hope.
*All verses from English Standard Version