I posted this on my instagram account at the start of the summer after my trip to Vermont and I got so many questions about it, that I decided to dive a bit deeper here on the blog on the very night where I am completeing my goal of visiting all 50 states! I write this from Alaska with a grateful heart on all that I’ve expiereinced with what started as just a “fun little idea”. Keep reading to see how something kinda silly became serious and speacial and changed who I am as a person.
When I was about 16 years old I made this “big harry obdatious goal” to visit every single state by the completion of my 30th year. As a young boy, the traveling I did with my family was a good boost, but by the time I started taking the goal seriously, I knew I was going to have to go solo on a few of these trips. I would simply pick a place on the map, plan out a trip, and dive into the unknown. I slowly begin to pick up on the trend that when I wasn’t having fun or catching up with a friend in a specific city, these trips were a great time to pray, study, ask big life questions, and discover a bit more of what my destiny was really unfolding to be. Looking back now, some of the most special moments with Jesus and my Christian walk would take place on of these trips in the middle of no where, where the only person I knew was truly Jesus. I coined the phrase “Jesus Trip” as a way to put purpose to this silly goal of traveling the United States, but in the end the only thing it put purpose to was me.
Thankfully, I love to drive and the rules that I made for myself were that as long as I was physically in the state, it would count. I spent many a miles on the highway looking for the state line, only to celebrate, take a picture, and hit a u-turn at the next convienient store. One of my bigger trips took place in August of 2015, I called it the “6 State Sweep”. It included 6 states in 6 days and started in Omaha, Nebraska and ended in Casper, Wyoming with a few Dakotas’ and a Montana thrown in the middle of it all. Was it a lot of driving? Yes! Did I love every minute of it? Absolutely! When you get out of you crush your comfort zone, you have the opportunity to truly see who you are, ask yourself questions, wrestle with the Word to find the answers. I’ve had fun too and enjoyed so much of what different cities have to offer. From an impromptu concert with Sir Paul McCartney, to an exclusive behind the scenes 4 hour tour of CNN. I’ve seen wildlife at Yellow Stone National Park, and visited some of the top churches and major ministries of the nation (without all the ministry fan fare). I visited Mickey Mouse at Disney World for a day, and enjoyed some of the greatest coffee shops around putting a pen to my dreams. Some of the most significant moments of my life have taken place on these trips.
As a guy though, that can be kind of strange to just go on a trip and “be with Jesus.” At first, to be “all by myself” was something I wasn’t use to or prepared for, but when I started truly understanding that my relationship with Jesus wasn’t something I could ever do alone, things changed. I use to squirm my way through these trips, now I look forward to them and enjoy each step with solid confidence of who I am and who Christ is within me. Learning who you are in Christ is something that your Pastor can’t do for you, it takes discipline and the ability to be authentic with yourself.
My challenge is this, whether its frequently or a one time extravaganza, take a “Jesus Trip”. Ask Him where He would want you to go, and take the time to go on a trip by yourself for the purpose of knowing yourself and working on your relationship with Christ. It doesn’t have to be crazy and half way accross the country, but it could be. Take a weekend getaway to a city you don’t go to all the time. Find something thats within a 3-5 hour radius where you are from and enjoy a drive. Don’t have a car? Rent one. Don’t have a license? Bus ticket. At some point, your relationship with Jesus is either important to you or it’s not. Your Jesus Trip doesn’t have to look like mine, it needs to be whatever YOU need it to be. The main thing is that you get real and raw with yourself and ask the BIG questions about your life, your beliefs, your convictions, your future, and ultimately your destiny.