An Adventure Pack for 2017
An Adventure Pack
There is a store for adventurous souls called R.E.I., and it has basically every type of outdoor gear that one could imagine. A few years ago now, my parents gave me a backpack for Christmas. It was not just a cute book bag for school; it was an adventure pack, complete with hip and shoulder straps. I was driving to the adventure store because my beloved backpack had a few tears, and R.E.I. has a good warranty policy.
Even though I am a Chicagoland native, I still do not know my way around the highways and am pathetically dependent on my phone for directions. I was blindly following the directions that my phone was giving me and listening to the average pop music station playing the usual overplayed songs when I felt very clearly the Holy Spirit tell me to turn the radio to 90.1, one of the local Christian radio stations. It was some talk show, and at first listen it sounded incredibly cliché and boring. I wanted to switch it back to the pop station.
It was taking far too long for what should have equated to a fifteen-minute sojourn, so I checked the directions. Google Maps took me ten minutes out of the way just to do a U-turn and head back the right direction…
“Ok, God, you have got my attention,” I said to the empty Nissan.
I began listening to 90.1; I did not know the voice that was speaking. It was the beginning of January, so everyone was talking about new years’ resolutions, working out, new habits, etc. You know the drill. You were talking about it yourself just a couple of weeks ago now.
“Really, God? You made me go this far out of the way just to listen to something about New Years resolutions? Ok… I will keep listening.”
The program took a turn in tune with my whispers to God.
“Pray for a word to shape how you see 2017,” the radio voice said. “You do not need a new year to have new eyes, but this time of year often represents a pause in our lives. Pray for a word instead of making a list of things you want to do better, which only last for nine days anyway.”
I had already pulled into the parking lot, and my hands were still on the steering wheel. I sat there still, just listening.
Text Messages from California
I was just about to begin to pray in the car when I looked down at my phone and saw, “Mercy Ships,” in a message from a friend of mine in California. God had my attention again, for in middle school I had done a project on Mercy Ships and it was one of Poppa’s dreams that one of the grandchildren would do Mercy Ships…
My phone was soon ringing, and I answered it. “Want to pray?” she asked.
An Empty Adventure Pack
I found myself pacing through R.E.I. telling Jen about how I did not want to cling onto any of my own dreams. I said I would follow Jesus wherever He would call me. I said, “I just want to be open to His plans for my life, even when they mean giving up everything that I want.”
It was like I was at the empty tomb. I hiked there with my adventure backpack. It still had the tears, but it was light.
Sisters, often we feel worthless when we cannot be good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, or impressive enough. We think that a new year means that this is the year that we will be able to change ourselves. I think that I will be able to just get myself a new backpack, but God brought me all way to R.E.I. just to listen to the radio and pray as I walked around the store, asking God to give me a heart that is open to whatever adventure that He has for me.
I drove home, continuing to pray that God would give me an open heart, one that desires to seek Him and know Him and love Him more everyday.
It is a new year, and perhaps for you this is the year that you give up your dreams and ask God for glimpses into His glorious plan. The tears in the backpack are always worth it. Perhaps, this is the year you are open to hearing His voice, open to following Him, open to recklessly running towards Him.
Frankie Roskam can most likely be found in an airport, but when she is not traveling she resides in the suburbs of Chicago, a university in Ohio, or orphanages in the Dominican Republic. She is 23 and the founder of a nonprofit called JOY, which connects universities to at-risk and orphaned children around the work. A Nikon aficionado, she runs a photography company on the side and is never found without a notebook and a pen. Frankie aspires to someday live in a turquoise house with a rose garden by the sea.