From The Darkness Into The Light
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Travel comes in all shapes and sizes. For some, travel can mean jumping in a car with a group of friends for a cross-country roadtrip. For others, travel is finding an all-inclusive resort with a loved one and getting pampered to the max. And for others still, travel can simply mean throwing a dart at a map and hopping on a plane as soon as possible.
Whatever it means to you, we’ve put together a list of can’t-miss trips to take in your lifetime. The specifics are up to you, but in your life as a traveler you should try to hit all these at least once.
For this one we’re referring to low-budget travel that takes you through multiple countries, and yes, involves carrying around a massive backpack. Whether you do this in the summer after you graduate college or in retirement, backpacking through a country or continent is an absolute must. Jumping on and off trains, exploring a new city every other day, and staying in group hostels is a truly invigorating experience. Set yourself a strict budget and get creative, making friends with public transportation and couchsurfing websites. Whether you choose to hop around Europe, South America, or Southeast Asia you really can’t go wrong with a backpacking trip – unless somebody loses their passport.
Whether you’re single and ready to mingle or just want to reconnect with me, myself, and I, it’s time for a solo trip. For many, the idea traveling alone paralyzes them with anxiety. But if you can overcome the fear of heading out on the road by yourself, the rewards are endless. Taking a solo trip allows you to break free of your comfort zone. Solo travel has been linked to increased self-confidence and self discovery. You’re forced to think creatively and make friends from different walks of life. If you’re ready to try a solo adventure, don’t feel like you have to plan a huge getaway abroad. If traveling alone scares you, try planning a small weekend trip somewhere nearby, easing into a larger solo adventure.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever fantasized about splurging on an extravagant luxury trip with only one goal: completely pamper yourself. Well, what are you waiting for? Go find that all-inclusive resort with the swim-up bar and get your leisure on! With platforms like Seeqr and Travel Zoo, you can find great deals on 5-star resorts to help you explore luxury destinations on a dime. So go ahead, save up some coin, and honey, treat yo’self!!
There’s nothing like getting out of your normal routine to spice up your love life. This trip will look different for everyone. What does romance mean to you? Now, we don’t mean you should go propose at the top of the Eiffel Tower (though let’s be real, we’ve all dreamt of that) but a romantic trip with your partner could be planning a weekend away to a Bed and Breakfast complete with wine and a little rest and relaxation. If you’ve always wanted to take that perfect trip to swoon your lover, we suggest skipping the obvious and taking the romantic road less traveled and customizing your trip to match the personality of you and your partner.
This one couldn’t be more straightforward – it’s time for a road trip, baby! Heading out on the open road alone or with a group of friends is a recipe for endless memories. Cruise along the PCH in California, explore the national parks of the Wild West, or hit America’s best roadside attractions on Route 66! There’s only one rule: driver picks the music. Beep, beep!
Cruises are making a comeback! And for good reason. Inexpensive, all-inclusive, with the ability to see several destinations without dealing with the hassle of travel? Not to mention some cruises allow you to experiences places that would otherwise be impossible to see. There are many types of cruises you can go on – in fact, there’s almost too many to choose from. From Caribbean cruises, to Mediterranean cruises, Alaskan cruises, party cruises, family cruises, drag queen cruises – the options are neverending. Whether you consider yoursel a “cruiser” or not, we suggest trying at least doing one cruise in your lifetime. What kind should you pick? Well, whatever floats your boat!
In a world engulfed in information and technology, you have to plan at least one trip that takes you away from it all. And we’re not talking about just setting a Vacation notice on your email. We mean leave the phones off, head out into the wild, and completely disconnect. Spend some time with Mother Nature, sleeping on the ground, or if you can’t live without hot water (we don’t blame you) escaping to an isolated retreat. This might even be trip you want to repeat once a year, let alone once in your life.
You probably fantasize about this kind of trip while working at your office. Just dropping everything and taking off, no set plan, no itinerary, just go. What a fantasy! But we say go make it a reality. Now, don’t go getting yourself fired from your job or skipping out on your last final of the semester in the name of wanderlust. But if the time is right and you’ve caught the bug – what is stopping you? Book that flight! Reserve that hotel room! Pack that bag! Post that Instagram to make your friends jealous! Make haste!
In retrospect, any of the trips we’ve listed above could be categorized as trips that scare us, but everyone is different. A solo trip might be a cake walk for some and paralyzing for others. A luxury trip might be the most anxiety-inducing thought for some and simply a credit card swipe for others. Don’t forget about destinations. Find a culture, a country, a lifestyle that is far removed from your own and go experience it for yourself. Whatever takes you out of your comfort zone – we say, go for it! Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is the most simple way to expand your horizons and broaden your perspective. And honestly, isn’t that why we love to travel in the first place?
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
Thus begins Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, one of the most famous novels in history. There has not been a time in my lifetime when his words were more appropriate than they are today.
Forbes headlines: “The Stock Market Just Had Its Best Quarter Since 1998.” Of course, this surge followed the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
Goldman Sachs reports that a national mask mandate could save the US economy $1 trillion. But “America has an individualistic culture,” as one expert on mask law notes, making mask-wearing requirements controversial.
Christians are expressing gratitude for the Supreme Court ruling that states cannot discriminate against religious schools. But a “blasphemous Hollywood film” in which Paris Jackson (Michael Jackson’s daughter) plays Jesus is sparking outrage. The group One Million Moms has started a petition to stop the film from reaching the public, saying it “mocks Christianity and ridicules people of faith.”
This quote by C. S. Lewis seems relevant: “The fact that our heart yearns for something Earth can’t supply is proof that Heaven must be our home.” However, in keeping with our “tale of two cities” theme, we should note that C. S. Lewis didn’t write these words. But he did write this: “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
I like what he actually wrote better than what he supposedly wrote.
Like you, I yearn for a world which is not “two cities” but one. I yearn for joy with no sorrow, light with no dark, peace with no pain.
This, of course, is not that world, showing that we were made for “another world.” But while we are here, we can join God in reframing our temporary challenges for the sake of our lasting character.
This week, we have focused on the consequences of character and the fact that the Holy Spirit must make us what we cannot make ourselves. Today, let’s consider our side of the process.
I still remember my visit to Colossae some twenty-five years ago. This ancient city (in the western part of modern-day Turkey) was destroyed by a major earthquake in the first century. It was rebuilt but abandoned centuries later and has never been excavated. I climbed to the top of the “tel” (the hill that has grown up over the ruins) and found pieces of marble just beneath the surface of the ground.
The city’s demise demonstrates the wisdom of Paul’s exhortation to Colossae’s Christians: “Seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).
What does it mean to “set your minds on things that are above”? The apostle was specific: “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. . . . you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (vv. 5, 8–10).
“Put to death” is an active imperative in the Greek, an ongoing command. This is not a religious suggestion but a divine order. God demands that we “stop completely” (a literal translation) the sins Paul lists. Today, and again tomorrow.
God would not ask us to do something we cannot do with his help. Paul explains God’s side of our sanctification: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts … Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly … Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (vv. 15–17).
When you and I seek to become godly and spend time in God’s word and worship, he will make us what we strive to be. Our desire to be obedient positions us to be empowered to be obedient. As we work, he works. And he redeems the challenges of our fallen world by using them to draw us to himself in dependent faith.
Oswald Chambers explained: “God is going to bring you out pure and spotless and undefiled; but he wants you to recognize the disposition you were showing—the disposition of your right to yourself. The moment you are willing that God should alter your disposition, his recreating forces will begin to work. The moment you realize God’s purpose, which is to get you rightly related to himself and then to your fellow men, he will tax the last limit of the universe to help you take the right road.”
Let’s see the fallen city in which we live today as God’s preparation for the glorious city in which we will live one day. Let’s ask of every temptation, setback, problem, and fear we face: How can I use this to trust more deeply in Jesus and to be made more like him?
John Keats was right: “Call the world, if you please, ‘the Vale of Soul Making.’ Then you will find out the use of the world.”
To what use will you put the world today?
Publication date: July 2, 2020
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
For more from the Denison Forum, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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