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Beautiful Resilience

I am a proud survivor of this year’s family camping trip. You remember I mentioned a glorious trek into the Emigrant Wilderness last week. Perhaps I should have printed T-shirts with a giant mosquito on the front and the simple statement “I survived Wood Lake 2020.” I thought the hike to our campsite was twelve miles. I had water for about that much. Turns out it’s more like sixteen miles but who’s counting? (Uhh, me actually)

It was so 2020! This must be the year of doing hard things. I didn’t realize the altitude would affect me so greatly. My feet blistering wasn’t quite in my plan, either. I got worn out, honestly. Then the mosquitoes took it to a whole new level of uncomfortable. But maybe life is feeling that way for many of us: a whole new level of uncomfortable. The economy, marriage, parenting, working from home, feeling lonely have worn us down. Are you struggling my friend?  Maybe the road you are on has taken an unfortunate twist. But once you head into that wilderness there’s just no turning back now, is there? You may find in the strenuous journey that you emerge a different person: stronger, wiser, more compassionate, and flexible.

Here’s the scripture that carried me through that sixteen-mile hike: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, persevering in prayer.” (Romans 12:12) I figure that if the apostle Paul can write this admonition as one who suffered much, surely it can nourish and support me with my daily struggles. Seriously, when your marriage aches with pain and baggage, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, persevering in prayer.” Are medical issues weighing heavy on your heart, my friend? Are you wondering if anyone sees your life? Whatever struggle, whatever long ass journey you are on, be joyful in hope, don’t give up! Be patient in difficulty. Persevere in prayer. When this truth is your compass, the strength of God guides you. He will surely answer the cry of your heart. With each step, be joyful in hope, another step, patient in affliction, more steps, persevering in prayer, step by step. Joyful in hope. Patient in affliction. Persevering in prayer. As the trail grows steep so does your hopefulness. Resilience is invigorating. People will wonder at your patience and strength of character. Prayerfulness will steady your life and create a beautiful culture all around. The bottom line is love. When we are joyful, persevering, and prayerful we are actually loving ourselves, loving others, and even loving God.

On the journey, I had people cheering me on. I hope you do too. Either way, you are a proud survivor. Keep moving forward! Resilience feels great and it looks good on you too. Romans 12:12 is a guide; let it direct you no matter how long the journey. When you overcome difficulties this week, congratulate yourself on hanging in there! Appreciate what God is carefully crafting in your life.

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Do you need resources right now to come alongside your spiritual journey? Go to MargaretAllen.org to get Gracious Living, creating a culture of honor, love, and compassion.

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Spiritual Life Prep

Today I will be twelve miles into the Emigrant Wilderness in California. A group of us will hike into the wilderness to set up camp at Woods lake.  We will be the only group around, as this 112,000 acre wilderness keeps us all socially distanced. Our flyrods are ready, axes sharpened, and all camping gadgets are packed. Hammock? Check. First aid kit? Check. Solar shower? Hell yes. Tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, sleeping meds, and sleeping buddies. Yessiree Bob. Every possible scenario of wilderness survival has been considered. Ah, the camping life!

Somewhere in the packing for this trip I felt God nudging me, what if you approached your spiritual life this way? I paused to hear what He was saying. I felt a loving curiosity, what if you applied that same interest, passion, and detail to some of Our life together? Ahh fair question.

What if I applied diligence and excellence to my walk with God? Not a performance thing but a heart thing.  Paul exhorted Timothy, his spiritual son in the faith, “Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.” (1 Timothy 4:15) I’ve read scripture every day for years but is my progress evident to all?  Am I just kind of wandering through my spiritual life or does God hold my full attention?

Listen, if the prep and excitement around a weekend getaway can put our spiritual life prep and excitement to shame, let’s consider making a few adjustments:

  1. God is speaking every day. We must position our heart to be quiet enough and focused enough to hear Him. What is he saying to you this morning?  
  2. Spiritual questions? Research your questions as diligently as assessing an Airbnb for a weekend away! List questions, consider all the options, talk to experts, get clarity. God is not a God of confusion, nor will He cave under your scrutiny. 
  3. Read a first century biography about Jesus.  Study what He said and did as recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. His life story is deeply compelling.
  4. Be absorbed in knowing and loving Jesus Christ, the King.

My friend, what a beautiful adventure we have walking with God! I know of no other relationship or destination that satisfies my heart so completely. “In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” (Psalm 16:11)

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Hey I am loving this Gracious Living journey we are on together! Thank you for following my blog. Get the book Gracious Living, creating a culture of honor, love, and compassion at MargaretAllen.org. The kindle version is available on Amazon.