Meaningful travel basics: Travel as an act of faith – Part 1

Travel is many things to many people, but have you ever thought of it as an act of faith?

On your salmon fishing trip, try to think about catching one of these bad boys rather than the work that you left behind.

I was reminded of this notion yesterday as my friend Mike (a different Mike from my seagull-loving college roommate) left on a trip to go salmon fishing in Alaska.

He’d planned this adventure with friends over a year ago and yet now that the departure date was upon him, he was having second thoughts. Projects at work this week had piled up like dirty dishes in the sink. Taking a week now to go relax and enjoy the grandeur of Alaska with friends seemed counter-productive. How can you relax when you know you have all this work waiting for you when you return?

I recalled a lecture I heard years ago by the philosophy professor and Christian theologian Dallas Willard where he asked this question: “Do you treat work as an act of faith?”

By that he meant, do you trust God with every moment and detail of your work and believe that he will accomplish what needs to be done on any given day?

His litmus test dealt with interruptions. If you’re working hard out of your own strength and determination, you’re likely to view a person walking into your office or cubicle as an irritation, a speed bump on your highway to productivity. If you are trusting God with your work, however, you might perceive that person as a divine appointment. You still have your other work to do so you won’t want to chat all day, but your attitude toward him or her will be quite different.

I’ve come to realize that this idea applies not only to work but to travel.

With work, most of us will always have more in our in-basket or on our to-do list than can ever be finished in a given day. With travel, there will always be more than we can see or do on a given trip.

We can worry about all that or we can learn to treat each trip as an act of faith, trusting God to complete what needs to be done, both on our trip and in our work, families and situations back home.

Trust God to take care of what needs to be completed and then relax and enjoy the scenery

On the surface this approach can seem overly simplistic, a Pollyanna-like denial of reality or responsibility. But a deeper truth lies behind this notion; the reality that God cares passionately about every detail of our lives. When we open ourselves, our work and our trips to him and trust that the omnipotent Creator of the universe might just know a bit more than we do about what really needs to get done, we learn to travel in a whole new way. We not only relax more, but we begin to share more of each moment on our trip with God and find that the relationship there becomes as special as anything we see along the way.

I pray that Mike has an awesome trip, a time of relaxation and also excitement, of fellowship and fishing. I pray that he is filled with wonder at the beauty of Alaska and the peace that comes from distance from work. And I pray that he experiences the awe of a God who takes care of us and completes what needs to be done wherever we may travel.

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