By Josh Kerby
The first backpacking trip I went on was to the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado. I was sitting there with so much stuff in front of me with no idea how to pack for a backpacking trip. I remember thinking it was impossible to fit everything I thought I needed into one backpack. I packed and repacked for quite some time. Each time I repacked, I left something out. I started to realize that I didn’t need as much stuff as I thought I did. I still ended up with a heavy pack and no idea what I was doing.
After that first backpacking trip, I learned I needed less than what I thought I needed. When I go backpacking now, I have a lot less in my pack than I did back then. In life, we start to think we need certain things. We need all this “stuff” to survive or make ourselves happy. In Luke chapter nine, Jesus sends His disciples out and tells them to take nothing with them. He told them this because He wanted their reliance to be placed entirely in God. When I go backpacking, it reminds me how little I need. It also reminds me to put my reliance in God continually. With fewer things and distractions in life, it is easier to focus on God.
Another lesson I learned from that trip is to slow down. I set the pace for our first day. I started hiking way too fast and stopped every couple minutes to catch my breath. The following day, one of the other guys set a slower pace, and we hardly had to stop. We got to our campsite filled with energy and in great time. I wasn’t focused on how exhausted I was that day, and I could enjoy the hike. When it comes to life, there is so much going on around us. Advertisements, school, work, entertainment, and social media are contently grabbing our attention. It seems like our lives are being overrun by ourselves. Despite the fact we are exhausted we continue to charge forward. What if we were to pace ourselves and enjoy what we are doing? What if we were to slow down a little?
I think backpacking is one of my favorite things to do because it reminds me to slow down and rely less on things and more on God. I love getting away from all the distractions of life and live simpler. When you slow down, you learn to enjoy all the little things in life, the things that subtly slip by in the hectic commotion of life. The little things like that joke you heard at breakfast, the blue bird outside your window, or the amazing glass of water you had that one blazing hot afternoon. We hardly ever notice these moments in life, but if we slow down and look around, we would see how precious they are. When I sit quietly in the wilderness and take in the beauty of God’s handy work, I realize how precious my life is. I start to see where I fit in. Are you going too fast? Do you need to slow down a little? Take some time this week to set some things aside, slow down, and rely on God. You might be surprised by what you see!
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