The BEMA Podcast

Love God. Love others. Become people of the Text.

Welcome Disorientation

I’ve just returned from Turkey and my thoughts are in a bit of a jet-lagged haze. It may be a horrible time to process thoughts in a journal entry, but it also might be the best!

Similar to when I spoke of these study tours giving me an opportunity to reset my mental computer, I find the two-and-a-half weeks of disconnection creates just enough disorientation to see things with a fresh set of eyes. There’s something that happens when we approach life from the same center of gravity over and over again, day after day, week after week. We begin to see things in the exact same light. We notice the same things and make the same observations. It’s almost as though we are training ourselves what to see and perceive.

In some respects, I enjoy the focus this centeredness can bring. I can catch a rhythm and process my progress effectively. I can work on my own development as I sharpen my skills and efforts.

But this also creates a world where I don’t see anything new. And that’s a bad thing.

This is one of those push-and-pull, in-and-out rhythms. Which one of these postures is the right one? Do you want to see things with fresh eyes, or do you want to find a centered place to work from? Obviously the answer is both of them. You don’t pick between the two. But if you’re like me, you certainly gravitate toward one of them over the other. Shaking things up is not a part of my natural tendencies.

This is one of the things we love about personal retreat days (PRD) at Impact Campus Ministries. One of our organizational non-negotiables is a monthly paid workday where we have to step out of our normal routine and put ourselves in a space to listen and watch for something we aren’t seeing when we’re caught up in “normal.” My PRD happened to be on Friday, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I got to step aside and process the things I was experiencing after stepping aside and leading a bunch of students through Turkey.

What is at the forefront of my mind?

What are my greatest concerns?

Rather than trying to get back to where I was three weeks ago, where does God have me right now — and how do I steward that well?

History only moves in one direction: forward. And these moments provide me with an opportunity to stay caught up with what is going on around me. If you have the opportunity this summer, seize the moment provided by a vacation or the changing of seasons to create a jolt in your perspective. Listen to what it is that God could be telling you in those moments with a unique perspective that you don’t usually have.