As you know, I love to travel. This year I will be staying domestic. Some of my friends, however, are off to Israel and I have to say I’m a bit envious. I love the planning and anticipation of a trip abroad. My friends have also had lots of fun discussing the details but they are now at the packing stage. One by one the items required for the trip will need to find their way into a suitcase. They are probably finding there is much debate about how much is necessary to make this the trip successful. Traveling light is always a good option, but for some this will be a daunting task. How much clothing is needed to get by and still smell good is usually a huge concern among traveling companions. (And for good reason. Close quarters on a tour bus come to mind.)
- What size suitcase?
- How much weight can we get away with?
- What are the right adapters for hair driers and electronics?
- What are TSA regulations on liquids?
- What will the weather be?
- Do I need to bring a coat or will a sweater do?
Lots to consider. So for past trips, I have looked to the experience of an expert traveler to help me navigate the process. Rick Steves, author of Europe Through the Back Door, teaches people how to experience travel to its fullest, and he says that a measure of a good traveler is how light he or she travels. In his book he states, “After you enjoy the sweet mobility and freedom, you’ll never go any other way.”
He breaks down what is necessary for travel, as he urges his readers to bring only the essentials. For instance, when considering what to wear, don’t pack anything you won’t use multiple times on the trip and include only items that can build on each other to create your wardrobe. Keep it simple.
Good advice. Travel is supposed to move us to a new level of understanding of the world around us by bringing new insight and perspective on life. By keeping it simple and bringing only the essentials, it frees up our attention and energy to engage in the journey.
Life in general has a similar plan. After all, it too is a journey, so we need to be careful not to restrict our movements by being burdened down by the non-essentials. In 2 Peter 1 there is actually a packing list that can be applied to our ‘spiritual suitcase’ so that we can get the most out of traveling with God—
“His [God’s] divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” 2 Peter 1:4-7
This step-by-step guide revealed in this portion of Scripture teaches us how to pack for a successful trek through life. God has kept it simple. Each idea builds on the last as we move through the list. And if these things, the first being faith, make it into the ‘suitcase’ . . .they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . 2 Peter 1:8
Packing the ‘travel’ essentials makes us more effective, productive, selfless, and balanced. To top it all off, when we practice these things our vision increases allowing us to experience much more. [2 Peter 1:9]
So when you hit the road of life remember to pack just the essentials. It will leave your head, hands and heart free to embrace the adventure. You will not want to miss a thing God has planned on your itinerary. And don’t worry. God’s packing plan will leave you smelling sweet as well.
“Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord,
and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit.
All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.”
Colossians 2:10 New Living Translation