Boarding pass on phone – check
Driver’s license in pouch and secured to phone – check
Pre-assembled, ready to go toiletry kit with TSA recommended sized bottles – check
Pair of socks to throw on while going through security line barefoot – check
Computer bag with laptop, iPad, purse (jam it in), travel pillow, make-up and all chargers – check
Over-stuffed, overhead compartment-sized suitcase – check
Advil for the pain of lifting the suitcase up and down from the overhead compartment – check
Pray they don’t make me check my bag – check
My trip to the west coast last week made me think about the art of packing and of my issues with it. Personally, it’s hard enough deciding what to wear on a daily basis with my closet in front of me. When assembling outfits for my events, I went through a bit too much contemplation. Is this appropriate, comfortable, not too hot, not too cold, do I need a sweater? Should I pack running shoes because they take up way too much space? If I don’t pack them…I’ll need them for sure.
Then I think, “Just be done with it, you won’t die if you are cold, hot or dressed differently than others. And for heaven sakes, there are people who only have one set of clothes to wear every day. Shame on me.”
I decided to pack lightly so as to prove to myself that I could be wise in my decision making and curtail my need for excess. Since my white pants match several nice tops, I decided I would only pack those. Upon waking at 3:45am to catch my early flight I thought… “throw in another pair of pants, your risking it with one pair.” I forgot.
During my layover, I settled in with my fellow groggy travelers with a large cup of coffee and proceeded to non-gracefully spill it on my white pants. (Yes, I was traveling in those pants too. Not too savvy!) So on this trip, I would have clean hair, clean teeth, and no pants. Just great! You know what they say…“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” No matter how thoughtfully we craft our plans they are sure to encounter blunders, crisis’ and surprises.
On his trip from Jerusalem to Damascus, The apostle Paul, (Saul at the time) had his packing list. My guess is it entailed the following:
Burlap bag with small rocks for stoning Jesus followers – check
Copy of the Torah – check
List of towns steeped in blasphemers – check
An extra pair of Birkenstocks – check
This upstanding Hebrew, Pharisee-minded man who was known for his brilliance was also known for being the greatest persecutor of Jesus followers. On his layover, Paul was literally struck blind for three days after coming face to face with the resurrected Jesus. (More intense than a coffee spill) And what did he go on to do after that? Only bring Jesus to the entire Gentile world! Some trip huh? This ‘killer of believers’ became the greatest missionary there was. Only through God’s amazing grace do we see such a thing!
On your daily travels be alert to the beauty of God’s grace that surrounds you. Be prepared for and pray about your relationship with the Jesus who deeply wants to be part of your plans. He doesn’t care what you are wearing or where you are coming from. But He does care about where you are going. He wants you to go with Him.
“And the word became flesh and dwelt among us and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
“Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” Hebrews 2:1
“We never grow closer to God when we just live life. It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.” Francis Chan
Amazing Grace by Chris Tomlin: