Happy are those who are strong in the Lord, who set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping it will become a place of refreshing springs where pools of blessing collect after the rains.
Well, we did it. My family and I made it through a week of being unplugged. And, we survived.
This past week my family and I attended a Bible Camp in Colorado. We were WAY high up in the mountains--a place where no cell service was available. In some ways that didn't matter. It was beautiful there. Majestic, quiet, and tranquil. Well, mostly tranquil. The exception being when my ten and eight-year-old had a no-holds barred battle. Otherwise, though, camp was a restful, rejuvenating place to be.
While there, I did recall some important truths to share. These reminders weren't major. They were more like affirmation of things I already knew but needed a refresher course in.
#1 Towards the end of our stay, I got an itch to be back in the "civilized" world. I noticed though that the longer I was up there, the more I wondered if we were, in fact, living the civilized life on the mountaintop.
Up in the mountains we talked to each other, uninterrupted. We listened to one another. We were in the moment, enjoying it for all it was worth. It's amazing how well you can get to know one another when you listen, really listen to people's stories.
Yes, it was hard to not go to my phone every five minutes. But I definitely came back with a desire to stop letting my smart phone interrupt my beautiful life.
#2 While there, I read a book called 100 Days of Real Food by Lisa Leake. It was fascinating and intimidating all at the same time. I know some things need to change in my family's diet. Since I'm the chief cook and bottle washer, that responsibility falls to me. While I'm excited to learn to cook and enjoy real food again, I am well aware of the fact that I struggle to be consistent with a plan and stay with it for the long haul.
My son knows this all too well. When I discussed the changes I was going to make, he responded with an eye roll and commented that, "You always tell us you're changing our diet, and it never lasts." Ouch. He's right. I know he is. But rather than being discouraged, I remembered this truth. It's more important to try and fail than to never try at all.
#3 You don't have to be in the mountains to encounter God. It's just a bit more difficult to recognize him in the busy world we live in. But he's never far away if we would just take the time to acknowledge his presence. He's with us every step of the way, whether we're on the mountain top or stuck in what seems to be a deep never-ending valley.
While I was refreshed, encouraged, and enlightened this past week, it dawned on me that no one else would benefit from what I learned if I stayed put. The thing is, I'm supposed to be down here, in the valley, doing God's will--the work he planned for me to do even before I was born. Though the mountains were amazing, coming down was even more important.
Lastly, an encouragement and a challenge. Even if you don't get to experience a week of mountaintop living, find a way to slow down this summer, settle in, and do some of your own reflecting. Maybe you'll come back with your own list of all that you learned and remembered about this thing we call life.