road trips teach marshaling

I’m on my 15th multi-state, college ministry-exploring road trip! (Details here.) So this week’s blogs are providing a little bit of an “under the hood” look at what I learn and experience on these trips, both for the world of college ministry and otherwise. Enjoy!

Road trips taught me to balance my diet. At home, “enough” fruits and such would enter my system, and I’d simply “eat what I was hungry for” a good portion of the time. So my body would balance things out fairly well. On the road trips, negligence in balance soon enough brings headaches, lethargy, or general grossness. And tighter-fitting college T-shirts.

At home, intentional time with the Lord finds its way into my schedule; on road trips, it has to be planned, purposed, guarded.

When the weeks stretch before me in unending semi-pattern at home, procrastination never stings me too deeply. Little diversions and distractions don’t seem to matter much. On a road trip, the seconds don’t really matter more – but they seem to; I’m reminded that they do; I’m taught to “number my days” out here in a special way.

Road trips always remind me about the value of time spent on people. The joy from one dinner with one longtime friend last night… the beauty of getting to encourage college ministers (who just about always need encouragement!)… doing in-person what I get to do – what I’m supposed to do – from a distance every day: support these men and women who labor among the collegians. Each is worth the time spent (in Dallas or in Las Vegas), but road trips have to remind me.

Road trips demand marshaling.

By even taking this trip, I’m marshaling my funds to the causes that matter most to me. On the trip, I marshal my time towards the most necessary, whether that be accomplishment or relationship or administration or rest or, yes, definitely sometimes play. So I marshal wisdom and prayer to determine what is most needed at this point, caring far more about “I should do this now” than “I should do this soon.” On road trips, I’m far better about going to sleep when I need to, finding odd half-hours to tweak my upcoming seminar, spending real time with real people, turning the TV off, and also begging God to show me how to proceed – knowing (in my heart and not only my head) that unless He builds this trip, I labor in vain who build it.

Road trips remind me how to live like a sojourner. Because I should be living much more like this all the time.

Some have said I’m supposed to live like it’s wartime, a phenomenal (and biblical) metaphor. But since I’ve never been in a war but have taken a few extensive road trips, I’ll put this metaphor alongside that one.

Written from Henderson, Nevada

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