I recently got told that I was away a fair bit, and that therefore I must love travel. And I do. But the next question was how I decide when and where to travel? I’m sure whether hard and fast rules can be drawn but here’s a few things that guide me while travelling as a cross-centred Christian:
Who do I travel with?
Josh wrote a guest post for us on why I don’t travel with those I go out with. But I think who I travel with is far more important than that. I travel with family as I rarely see them, I travel with friends to point them to Christ as I rest and I travel alone if something needs done. I guess each trip is fairly intentional, as we’ll see from the Bible at some other point.
Where do I travel?
I’ve hinted that I re-visit old spots where teams have been or where I know people. I visit mission partners to encourage them and get a vision of how to pray. I visit old friends, moved on to new shores. And occasionally I visit places on my bucket list, if it facilitates going with people I want to travel with (above).
What stops me travelling?
Being away from home community and those I seek to point to Christ (Christian and not) and those who point me to Christ, is a huge reason I don’t travel more. Some Sunday mornings I wake up and groan that I make hard decisions to stick around so much in community. Rarely does it pass midday before I see and love exactly why I do!
I’d love to think I’m a young graduate with a payroll ready to be spent (even if I’m only an IFES staffworker/team leader) but I wonder how the cross shapes this too. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills and he’s given me a few proverbial ones to mind. Some I give back to Him through church directly, some to Him by giving to those who’ve gone to other unreached cultures with the good news, some to Him by giving to those in the world in great poverty, to local sustainable projects, not to mention giving to Him through some great medical, environmental and educational resources and simply gifts to friends. After that, and doing the necessitated things in life at home and savings for future necessities, what is left?
Living on an island is costly for the environment. Every box of tomatoes I buy from Tesco has normally been flown in from Spain or somewhere (or grown in over-heated greenhouses in Ireland). Every time I want to get anywhere, it’s easiest, cheapest and most convenient to fly. But at what cost? Yes, a very few scientists doubt the human affects of climate change, but I think if we’re being honest, the impact of flights on our planet is hard to deny. I’d recommend “how bad are bananas?” as a fun and easily-accessible way to check out how to cut down your carbon emissions in life. It’s a great book that doesn’t try and lay down the law for everyone on how they should do it.
Christ: the motivation behind travelling or staying put.
The more I fall in love with his beauty, the more I long to be shaped by everything that falls from His lips. The more I find satisfaction in Him, the more I don’t need it anywhere else. The more I long for the day when we’ll most fully know Him and be known by Him in an earthy paradise, the more I realise that I don’t need to explore all this world now. The more I love Him, the more I love His bride (the Church) and want to be with her above other things. The more I am gripped by Him, the more His created world means the world to me! The more I experience the freedom found in Him, the more I feel able by His grace to walk in flourishing, narrow paths that deny myself supposed freedom for the sake of others and Him.
We won’t agree on all I’ve written above, but I hope you start with Christ and let Him shape the rest.
It’s called love. And it’s the most wonderful freedom-loss of all time.