The places we go shape the people we are to become. The journeys we take pave the way for the journeys to come.
The places I’ve been have made me, the God I serve has called me to go, and I follow where He leads, though the way may be unpredictable and unforeseen.
The last place I lived, before and after working at camp, was my friends attic. Her attic is a large, circular room with slanted ceilings. The walls are lined with bookshelves, and a staircase comes up into the middle of the room. On an area of her attic ceiling my friend has painted a night sky, with tapered colours from black, to dark blue, to a lighter blue. She’s painted stars, clouds, and a crescent moon, and some paper stars hang from strings in the sky. It’s a Disney princess sort of vibe up there, kind of like Rapunzel’s tower or something.
In this room, under the starry sky and surrounded by books, I realized that this new place had brought out new pieces of myself.
Isn’t it strange, that places carry little pieces of us, and we don’t discover what pieces we’ve been missing until we get there? And that while we’re there, those pieces come to life in us, and make us do things we’ve never done before and be things we’ve never been before? And when we leave, we carry a new part of ourselves with us. And when we leave, we might leave some little bits of ourselves behind, too.
The Writer: The place inspired me to write and rewrite. It called out the wonder in me, pulled out words from the deepest part of me and scattered them free, like dandelion seeds on the breeze. I find God in the pages of His word, in my journals, and in the documents where I put my sputtering attempts at words. I pray He allows them to bloom, these words I plant and water and pluck and pick.
The Adventurer: This place brought out an adventurer in me. I ran around the neighborhood, wading in waterfalls, exploring trails and the downtown, trespassing by accident as I tried to reach the river. I danced on railroad tracks, sat among wildflowers, and hung out at the local market. This place gave me adventure and life and beauty.
Wherever we go, there lies an opportunity for us to grow. For us to find new parts of ourselves, to discover new depths of relationship with God, and to discover new people. Maybe we are like ever-growing trees, reaching always higher, drawing from our depths and stretching to the heights, pushing the limits of earth and sky. And so it was meant to be, so we were created: to fill the earth and rule over it. To travel the world and learn from it. To wander the earth and grow from it.
And all to the glory of God. He created us for adventure, and in Him we “live and move and have our being.”
Not all places are easy, some are full of waiting and uncertainty. Some places we find ourselves in are painful, so painful. But you won’t be there forever. Hold onto hope. Even in those painful places, you are becoming. Sometimes God’s most powerful lessons are in the waiting (I’ll write about that next, maybe).
Hold on to hope, put one foot in front of the other, and don’t forget to look up – don’t miss the place you are and the pieces of who you are becoming.