7 or 8 years ago I was stuck in a rut. I was “stuck” in a job that no longer gave me passion, I was out of sync spiritually with Gods plan for my life and I felt like everything was shrinking, not growing. The funny thing was, I was a full-time minister. It may sound odd, but pastors, ministers, and people who are supposed to be the poster child for “filed with purpose and calling” sometimes arrive at the same place as everyone else. Confused, dissatisfied, a little stale inside, and worn out. No one is immune from it.
Somewhere deep inside I instinctively knew what I needed. I needed to be inspired. I suppose on the scale of inspiration I was needing a life change moment, not the warm fuzzy you get from watching a movie like “Wonder” or “Rudy”. I needed inspiration that would last. There was only one thing to do. I grabbed my camping gear and headed out for a few days alone in the desert.
There is just something about nature that recharges us on a deep and lasting level. The combination of fresh air, warm sun, no distractions and dedicated focus on being still, quiet and present, seems to attract deep, meaningful thought. My drug of choice was the Big Bend region of Texas. The wide-open spaces, tall desert mountains, and lack of cell phone service just seem to always ensure that I will hear from God. It is still a true American Wilderness down in Big Bend. I spent 3 days studying, listening, and praying. The time was transformational to my faith, my fears, and my life. As soon as I walked in the house my wife smiled and said. “There he is!”. “I have only been gone for three days,” I replied. Her response was gentle but truthful. “Yes, but you have not been present longer than that.” I had found my inspiration and as soon as I walked in, the person who knew me best could tell.
People have been wondering around in the wilderness trying to find inspiration since the beginning of time. Moses took the Israelites on an extended vacation to the wilderness. When they refused to listen to God, God decided the best prescription was more time in the wilderness. While we may be tempted to say that renewed sources of vitamin D are what make us feel refreshed after outside, those of us who walk in faith know differently.
No matter what religious background you have, no matter what kind of church you grew up in, no matter your thoughts on religious doctrine, or denominations, all of us who go to church have one thing in common. We try to listen to Gods direction, voice and plan for our lives. Striving to hear Gods call is an elemental spiritual practice for all Christian faiths. We may all disagree on everything else but to know God, hear God, and experience God is one thing all Christians strive for.
The problem is all of us sometime lose touch with Gods voice. All of us have periods of time where faith seems still, stale, out of touch or even dead. No one is immune to this. Mother Teresa, who dedicated her life to the poor and is touted as a modern-day saint, often wrote in her journal of her times of doubt. The question is not, “what happens if I find myself in one of these times”, but “How do I find my spiritual inspiration when this happens?”
“We exist to inspire people through adventure so that their faith may grow.”
We have been working hard to let as many people as possible know what we do here at Wilderness Trek. Many people think we are an outdoor company, some think we just take people backpacking. A few people even say we are just “those people who love the outdoors”. While all of these things somewhat describe what kinds of things we spend our time on, they don’t describe our passion. Put simply, our passion is that we exist to inspire people through adventure so that their faith may grow.
Passion. Inspiration. Love. Relationships. These things seem to be in short supply at times. We don’t take people on trips so they will have great pictures, we give them the opportunity to be inspired by God, through nature so that their faith grows. Have you ever stood on a mountain? It has a funny way of putting you in your place. Have you ever seen a roaring river? You suddenly understand what “living water” truly means. Have you ever sat by a babbling brook, or seen water spring out of the ground in a mountain spring? You instinctively are reminded of the Psalms and long forgotten verses speak to you like Psalms 42:1 “As the deer pants for water, so my soul longs after you O Lord.”
Are you tired? Are you angry? Have you lost a step, misplaced your inspiration? Do you feel disconnected to what Gods plan is for your life? Go outside. Go camping. Go for a hike. Grab some friends and experience fellowship around a campfire. Live, love, and experience God in nature. God wants to connect with you and will be waiting for you when you go outside. Step outside. Breathe deeply. Feel the sun on your skin and ask God to speak. I promise God will indeed show up because, with God, inspiration is free with admission.
See you on the trail!