A recent diagnosis of "Travel Bug" has infested my husband and me. Both of us came down with it after traveling to England; suddenly the whole world became a possibility to see! Even if you're not heading somewhere far away, visiting new scenery can be a real adventure and even relaxing. Of course, for those of us who travel constantly (or whose husbands may travel constantly), we know there's an ugly side to it all, but for me it's still very romantic and lovely and not very negative at all. Except for one thing...the suitcase.
First, I don't like packing. Second, I don't like unpacking. My clothes belong in my dressers and hanging in my closet, not all smooshed together in a tiny polycarbonate box. The romance with traveling wanes quickly when the suitcase enters the picture. When I arrive at my destination, I like to place my clothes in the hotel dressers right away to feel like I'm 'home' and, once actually home again, it's always such an accomplishment to have everything out of the suitcases, washed and returned to their proper places.
And, that's pretty much how I like to live my life too: well-rooted, everything and everyone snuggled into their proper places and stayed put. I imagine we all have that same tendency, in fact, to settle down ourselves, get comfortable and feel right at home. Yet this:
Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims...
1 Peter 2: 11a
Sojourner, alien, pilgrim, traveler...the point to this is to remind us that we are not of this world. This is not our home. We are as extra-terrestrial as it gets! But, we forget this in the day to day of life here on earth. We settle in, unpack our bags and grow some roots instead of anticipating our next home, our real home, as children of our Heavenly Father, God.
This life can be wonderful, that's for sure. But, my concern is that I can find it so wonderful that it causes me to take my eyes off of the things above because of dwelling on these temporary things below. There are certainly very important things (people) here on earth, but my temptation is to forget all about my real home. As I become more comfortable here, I dwell less and less on my eternal home and then I end up knowing less and less about it, therefore creating a fear of going there one day and leaving all that I know here on earth.
I had a reality check over the weekend, though, that shook me out of my earthly comforts. My daughter and I looked through old scrapbooks. In doing this simple and sweet task together, I was quickly transported back twenty years ago when my oldest child was a baby. How speedy-quick has this infant become a young man! And in that time frame, this twenty-something blog author is now drawing nearer to the milestone of the Big 5-0! Not only that, but my parents are looking at 70 soon and how did that happen?!? As I sat on the whole concept of how fast twenty years can pass by, I was so humbled and found myself becoming very melancholy. It was then that I realized how much I loved my home here and how much I feared leaving it. The fact is, though, I have a very important promise, and so do you if you follow Jesus...
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Colossians 3: 2-4
My prayer is that I will love setting my mind on Christ and that I would hold loosely the beautiful things here on earth...that I will not fear the things that I cannot see with my earthly eyes... that I will trust my perfect Father as He prepares for the homecoming that we will attend one day...that I will be earnest to share about this glorious place that far surpasses all that we have here in this temporary land.
So, it may not be comfortable, it may be really messy, but be purposeful to 'live out of a suitcase' because we aren't here for the long-term. Prepare yourself, and prepare others, to set your hearts on heaven. How do we prepare? Consider the rest of the earlier verse from 1 Peter 2:
...abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. (vs. 11b-12)
We will be stronger to resist the lusts all around us if we aren't settling in and enjoying the party. We're just visiting, just traveling through, we see all that is happening, but this doesn't define us. The Holy Spirit defines us as He Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (Romans 8: 16-17)