After nearly a year of not traveling solo, I decided to dip my toe back into those waters. The first day of my travels didn’t go well, to put it lightly. Almost everything that could go wrong, did. On multiple occasions I found myself asking, “How in the world did I ever do this for months and months, no less in countries with cultures completely foreign to my own where they spoke no English?!”
It would be fantastic if when we came out of the womb God handed each one of us an individualized life plan. A time table would be helpeful. I can see it now: the charts, the graphs, the timelines: you’ll be in college for seven years, then you’ll work at this job for six years, then it’ll be time for you to travel around the world by yourself, then that stage is done and you’ll do x, y, z, and so on. That life plan sure would clarify things a lot, right? What I realized in my exasperation that day was that what works in one season doesn’t work in another.
When I was backpacking the world by myself I have never felt more free, more alive, and more myself. It was a time when I was truly living out what God had called me to do in that moment. I was journeying with Him, and it was one of the most fruitful times of my life. It’s easy for us if a certain stage of our life was successful to think that is who we are and what we are called to forever. We want to continue to live out what worked for us. We want to re-create that feeling, that aliveness, that absolute assurance of walking with God and His purposes for your life.
The problem with that comes when we continue in a stage that God is no longer breathing on or calling you to. What has worked in the past and what God called you to in a specific season may not be what He calls you to forever. How many times do we hold onto something past the time when we should? Perhaps this is why we often return to things, trying to recreate the original feeling we had, but it is not to be found. The time for that is done in your life, but you refuse to move on.
Our lives don’t come with a pre-printed individualized life plan so we can know when to move on from one season and into the next. Thankfully it does come with the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you, if you choose to accept His guidance in your life. God wants us to live every step of the way dependent on Him and His guidance. He wants us to step in whatever direction He is telling us, even if it’s different from what worked for us in the past. He wants us to journey with Him into the unknown future trusting a known God.
As much as I have loved traveling solo in the past and will treasure the memories made on those adventures forever, it feels like that season has come to a close for the moment. I’m learning to live in the season He has me in and accept it for whatever it may be and however long it may stay. Allowing the seasons to come and go with open hands is a new, freeing way to live. Perhaps admitting I need help and I prefer company at this point in my life isn’t me becoming less free, less myself, but more myself. Each passing year and season we shed the layers that no longer work for us anymore and become more of who God made us to be.