We went camping this weekend near the Arkansas river. Our campsite had an amazing view of the mountains, which I continue to picture in my head today. We also got to go rafting on Saturday, and I thoroughly enjoyed that. The water was ridiculously cold, but the whole experience was just so much fun. We even got to see a group of bighorn sheep as we rafted, and the beauty all around me was mesmerizing. The beauty of nature makes such powerful imprints on my mind. It makes me actually feel like part of a bigger picture. It creates space everywhere even inside of me, and with each exposure to such beauty, I gain even greater space and depth inside of myself.

I love thinking about how I am just a tiny part of huge forces that are so much bigger than me or my thoughts or my life. When I begin to lose site of that, I think I become so much more frustrated by everything and stressed out over life. I don’t want life to be about me. I don’t want my life to be about me. I want my life to have a depth and a purpose that is far beyond what I could ever come up with. I want my thoughts to be on things outside of me….on God, on relationship, on truth, on serving others, on love. I want me to decrease and Him to increase.

I’ve noticed a lot of frustration in me lately. Not stemming from anything specific but directed at every little thing. I haven’t been able to put my finger on what is going on in me except to acknowledge that I have a lot going on, am physically run down, and have every right to feel stressed about certain things like family issues, looking for a job, health issues, etc. I realize this is all true, but as I’ve been thinking about the beauty of God’s creation, and the space and depth it creates in me, and the size and scope of life and the world and being alive, I’ve found a deep hunger for that space, a deep hunger for freedom, a desire for me to decrease in the presence of the power and majesty and sheer size of God, who He is, and the grandeur of the gift called Life that He’s created…..not just for me, but for the entire universe! When I focus my mind on this, I can feel my frustration melting away. I am aware of myself, but aware that I am part of a bigger whole, that I am in the will and hands of the Lord, that everything exists far outside of me, and it is a gift to be alive in the midst of Life as God moves it and directs it and keeps it all running.

I started out this day feeling like a car with high mileage, oil leaking, belts cracking, parts needing to be replaced. I started out feeling worn down by the challenges of life. I started out feeling like I need a vacation, a place where I could go to escape details, and conflict, relationships and conversations, work and routine. Somewhere in the course of this day and the process of writing, I turned outward instead of inward, and I realized what was going on. I can’t escape the high “mileage” of life, of the process of being alive. I can’t check out for a while and come back to find my relationships are perfect, the dishes no longer require washing, everyone I care about magically agrees and gets along,  furniture no longer collects dust, and I never have to plan a meal or cook dinner again. When I focus outside of me on God’s bigger plans for my life and the reasons He has for sustaining it, I don’t feel so run down anymore. When I remember the beauty of the mountains and the feel of that ice cold water on my face, I remember that it’s not a chore to be alive, it’s an outstanding gift. When I think about the fact that I am created with purpose and that Life goes on and on because God is in control, I don’t feel like getting furious at rush hour traffic; I feel like opening the windows and hugging Lindsey and singing.

It’s just amazing how much difference perspective makes. Mileage in life doesn’t have to mean getting more and more run down, when it means you are experiencing the power, beauty, and joy of the journey!

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