for all who are exploring and growing in the journey of faith.
Her passions for education and global issues led her from being a high school teacher
to a middle east analyst and then to serving in the church.
Through writing and speaking, she encourages women as they seek God
in life, in play, in family, and in work.
Sharon is also an inspiring regular contributor (LifeWriter) here at LifeLetter Café
and is today’s featured contributor to “Find It Only Here On Friday.”
Her Café exclusive “Vision of the Awkward Traveler” can be found below . . BUT FIRST . .
the Café thought you just might want to know how an Encouragement Leader like Sharon Hoover
has herself been encouraged in her own faith recently.
In her own words…
Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to visit three continents to serve with mission partners.
The new cultures and peoples and languages highlighted the spiritual journey
that we as Christ-followers also experience.When traveling I am more attentive to my surroundings than when I am in the comfort of my own home.
I am more at peace in the unknowns of God’s plans,
more open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and more reliant on His guidance.
Cultivating a traveler’s mindset in my everyday life is guiding me to becoming more Christ-like
in the ordinary to-do’s of each day.
Today’s Find It Only Here On Friday
“Vision of the Awkward Traveler”
by Sharon R. Hoover
When was the last time …
you walked into a room where you did not know anyone? Truly, genuinely, a room full of strangers?
Forever seared into my brain is the information meeting for the preschool where my son would eventually attend. Laughter and conversation filled my ears as I stepped into the room. Shelves with colorful blocks, puzzle boxes, and books lined the walls. Children’s paintings of dinosaurs, stick people, and houses hung above the shelves. Most of the parents already knew one another. I felt like the new, awkward student in middle school.
I was pregnant with my second child. I remember being ravenous and so delighted to find a spread of little sandwiches, butter cookies, and veggie trays. While attempting to chat with other moms, I made my way down finger food heaven. Then my purse slid off my shoulder, down my arm, and slammed into the food table. I jerked. My plate tipped. I remember every carrot and the chunky brownie that rolled to the floor before I recovered enough to level my plate. Fifteen years later, every detail remains fixed in my memory.
When I am a stranger in a new place …
I am particularly attentive to my surroundings. The décor, the people, the aromas, all impact me. I find that new experiences and the awkwardness heighten my senses.
It’s a different story at home. Days tend to merge together. In my comfort, I observe surroundings so little that I lose my glasses and my keys and my shoes with shocking regularity. At home I don’t need to investigate where the bathroom is or who the people are. I like being home.
I recently made a disturbing discovery …
Comfort-seeking had eased into a decision-making role for my day’s actions.
It’s not that comfort is bad. The problem arises, though, when comfort beckons louder than the needs around me. I had become too accustomed to a full pantry, soft couch, and familiar surroundings. The comfort had heightened a risk-averse nature within me. It was a far cry from the hand-to-the-plow and don’t-look-back life of a Christ-follower.
I fear that I am not alone. I hear comfort-seeking language all around me. It becomes an excuse for inaction. If inconvenience or awkwardness materialize, comfort causes us to shy away. A neighbor told me, “Their children always misbehave. It’s not worth the effort to help.” Yesterday I overheard a woman in the grocery store tell her friend, “She’s always got a cold or something. I don’t really listen anymore.” Comfort resists God’s calling to respond to those who are hurting or lost.
We need a change in mindset …
I found the path out of my comfort-seeking life. But it required a new framework for thinking: Travel each day as a stranger in this world.
As disciples of Christ, we are already strangers in a foreign land. The Bible reminds us repeatedly that our citizenship is not of this world. Our true home is heaven (Philippians 3:20). Jesus taught that His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). We likewise, as sons and daughters of the King, are not of this world. We ought not settle in with comfort as our goal.
When I travel to foreign lands, the customs and language are new to me. I am a stranger. I step out in eagerness to catch and interpret every detail around me. When I live my everyday life in the mindset of a traveler, I too live life more attentive to the ordinary details. Each morning brings adventure as I seek the Lord’s guidance for the itinerary. It opens critical space for the Holy Spirit to move. His promptings to invite a friend for coffee or to help an elderly neighbor are no longer an intrusion nor awkward. They are part of the journey.
I am learning to rest in the unknowns. Some days are more challenging than others. But I do want to live the wonder and curiosity of a traveler’s life instead of the comfort-seeker’s life.
How about you?
Could a traveler’s mindset impact the newness of your day?
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