I was talking with some people in London about travel, and my experiences. I don’t know where or how it happened but I got up on my high horse named Harry the Jerk and started saying things along the lines of:
“Yeah, some people in Texas are born, raised and die in Texas. They never leave. They never travel. They miss out on so much. I feel bad for them.”
I’m still kind of embarrassed.
There’s two cultural phenomenons that shaped my judgmental thinking: FOMO and Wanderlust.
Look, the sweet old lady who was born, raised and died in the same house but spent time with Christ every morning is better off than any well-traveled person who doesn’t know Christ. When we die, what’s going to matter? How many stamps are on our passport? How many souvenirs we got? How many times we traveled on a plane? No, none of it will matter. The old lady didn’t miss a thing because she had Christ. And if we miss Christ, we miss everything. 1 Cor. 13 doesn’t mention travel, but I can just hear it “Even if I had traveled the whole world, seen every city and every world wonder, if I did not have love, I would be nothing.” If we don’t love, pursue and seek to know Christ better we’re missing the point. Don’t let the world convince you that there are “better things out there.”
God created the world, and sometimes I believe we worship the world instead of Him. We idolize a country, an experience, a trip. We expect a vacation to Disney World to satisfy us but we leave Orlando with empty pockets and weird tan lines. As far as what I understand wanderlust to be, it’s a desire to travel the world. Which is great. nothing wrong with that, but it can be dangerous. Just like trying to find satisfaction in money, food, acceptance: we’re going to end up empty handed if we try and fill the God-shaped hole in us with traveling. It might be fun, it might ‘wet our whistle’ but traveling with the intention of finding “that place” or having “that experience” might just leave us empty handed, frustrated and tired.
Let me just kick wanderlust in the butt right now. There’s nothing, no country, no city, no community, no experience that is going to satisfy you more than Christ will. That trek through the Himalayas? No. that 7 day cruise? no. The 5 day all paid expense trip to Europe? Nope. Are those things wrong? No. But it’s important to check your motives before you travel. What are your expectations? Why are you going? No vacation is going to save a family, no new place is going to solve your problems, no new experience is going to satisfy you in the same way that Christ can.
So what does this mean, marlie? You want me to sit in my room and read my Bible all day, all night, and never leave the house? Of course not. I have good news.
God is everywhere. He’s in your math class, he’s at your 9 to 5 job and in your church, He is in London, India, Indiana, Texas, He’s everywhere. As you travel, you can and should seek to experience God in new ways. My favorite part of my 3 months in London was the time I spent in Glencoe, Scotland. We were in the Scottish Highlands and we stayed in a hotel that was in a valley between snow-capped mountains. I spent my time by the river, surrounded by God’s creation and God himself. That time with God was better than any show, any food, anything I experienced that whole 3 months.
Did I have an amazing time abroad? yes! And that’s okay. If I see the World and can travel more in the future then awesome, but if not that’s fine too. Because God is not bound by walls or barriers. And that is great news. He is everywhere and we can experience Him wherever we are. Trust that He has you exactly where you are for a reason.