Finding Joy in a Mobile Home – Caleb Mays
While others might spend their 19th birthday celebrating with dinner or a party, I spent mine packing suitcases. Whittling my belongings to what would fit in two suitcases wasn’t a simple task, but by 6am the next day I was at Brisbane International Airport, ready to move to Auckland, New Zealand for a new job. Now, in just a few months, I will have been in New Zealand for 10 years. In that time, I’ve had the members of my immediate family live in Brisbane, Sydney, Auckland, Nashville and London, spreading far across the globe before consolidating back to just two of those cities.
Over this time, my use of the word ‘home’ has always been unique. Once I’ve finished work, I head home, a flat I share with four others. If I’m heading to Brisbane for Christmas, I’m going home for the holidays, staying with my parents. Once I fly back to Auckland, I’m greeted with ‘welcome home’ from friends. The reality is my home is no longer defined by one property I dwell in at all times, nor is it narrowed down to one geographical location.
It’s in light of this that I think of Psalm 84:5, which says “Blessed are those whose strength is in You, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.”
There is a reason you hear so many journey metaphors in Christendom – we’re designed to be on the move, beckoned to walk towards God and deeper into His Will throughout our lives. Ultimately, by accepting Christ I am now a citizen of Heaven, yes. But I am currently a resident here on earth, and it is my opportunity and responsibility to make the most of my current season, and bring heaven to earth in how we live now.
Travel lightly, even though the journey is large
By no means am I saying you shouldn’t ever own anything, I know I’m greatly looking forward to owning a house at some point. The problem is that all too easily we carry more than we should, and the weight of these burdens can slow us down to the point where we are immobilised.
Resentment and bitterness are subtle weights in our lives, only rearing their heads when provoked or challenged. Fear and a lack of faith bind our feet to the ground we stand on, preventing us to take a step of faith. I encourage you to take a moment to consider what might be weighing you down on your journey, when has a burden stopped you in your tracks? Ultimately, dealing with these areas and casting your cares to God will help you to travel lighter and with more joy than ever before.
Be hospitable, even if it’s just a quick stop on the way
Travelling doesn’t negate the need for community. The reality is we can never be absolutely certain how long a ‘stop on the way’ or a season in our life may be. From the very start God made it clear that people shouldn’t live in isolation – “it is not good for man to be alone” – and so we must live open and hospitable lives, whether the season is short or long.
Matthew 5 in the Message version encourages us:
Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
I have that verse up on a banner in my flat, serving a reminder that whether figuratively or literally at some points, we need to keep open house. You need to employ wisdom in how that works for you in your current season, but it must always remain a value core to who we are as Christians.
Enjoy the scenery, even though the vehicle is small
I remember driving through Karangahake Gorge (New Zealand) for the first time. I was a little stressed, didn’t really know where I was driving or when the road would suddenly turn. I have since done that drive many times, and now being more confident in both my driving and the road, I’ve come to appreciate how beautiful that area is. While reality tells us we should definitely pay attention to the road while driving, I’ve grown to realise in a metaphoric sense how much stress and doubt can blind me from the beauty that surrounds me as I pass through life.
Don’t let the size of your vehicle—your life as it is currently—detract from the journey. We all have areas in life that aren’t what we would want them to be right now, whether career, income, relationship status, lifestyle or a range of other things. I encourage you to prayerfully take steps to improve these areas, but ensure that disappointment and comparison never tarnish the landscape for too long.
An author named Donald Miller once wrote: “I am early in my story, but I believe I will stretch out into eternity, and in heaven I will reflect upon these early days, these days when it seemed God was down a dirt road, walking toward me. Years ago He was a swinging speck in the distance; now He is close enough I can hear His singing. Soon I will see the lines on His face.”
Learn to lean in and love the journey, to appreciate the opportunity that comes with each step of our travel. Most of all, never lose sight of what we’re heading towards, Jesus, who is our rest, our salvation and ultimately our destination, both now and in eternity. Oh how I look forward to seeing the lines of His face.