I don't fly enough for it to feel "normal." Departing in the wee hours of the morning, worrying if everything will fit in my carry-on, going through security, not to mention leaving David behind still feels pretty stressful. So, last week, when I flew to Rapid City, South Dakota, I experienced my typical anxiety and dread in preparation for my trip.
And, as often is the case, once I arrived and began to meet the women and facilitate the retreat, I was reminded of why I get on airplanes, travel cross country and endure the stress. I had an incredibly rich, meaningful time and sensed God's blessing.
Sunday morning, as I sat in bed drinking a cup of coffee and preparing my heart for our last session together, I prayed about the ambivalence I feel toward traveling. As I did, an image came to mind--the picture of a plant being lifted from a pot where it had become "root bound." I know from my small amount of gardening experience that when plants are housed in too small a container, their roots have no where to expand, so they quit growing and even die.
It was obvious the message that God's Spirit was speaking to me. As much as I love and even prefer home, I could easily become root bound, living too small a life, cloistering myself in too cramped a container, stunting my own growth, starving my soul.
Invariably, when I travel and experience new people and new places, it expands my heart, mind and soul. The beautiful, interesting women I met in the Black Hills of South Dakota blessed my life and taught me much about the work of God in the terrain of their own hearts. I heard stories I won't forget. I saw landscapes of extraordinary beauty. I met women who are now friends.
Opportunities for growth often elicit conflicting emotions; resistance and attraction, dread and drawing can be indicators of an invitation from God to expand our lives and deepen our roots in Christ and the life we're called to live. It doesn't always feel good to grow.
As you think about this, are you aware of becoming "root bound?" Can you identify any opportunities on the horizon that create an emotional tension between desire and repulsion?
I can. I leave on Friday for Wichita, KS for the Aprentis Conference with James Bryan Smith and Richard Foster. I will probably board the plane with sweaty palms and a churning stomach--a challenge I must press through to keep the "pot" enlarging and my life expanding.