Ever feel like you've got to get out of here? I do.
Often I've suffered from what I call "window pains," where I'm only content to be staring out a window and dreaming of what exists outside these metaphorical walls...which are usually only enhanced by real walls. Not that the particular walls of my life are that bad. (They used to be, when window pains started. Now, I just can't shake them.) Some days, I still wonder what it would be like to be entirely other. It's itchy. It's angsty. It's restlessness at its finest.
Is it a gift?
That's what Seth Barnes argues in his new book, Kingdom Journeys. Kingdom Journeys is about one of the lost arts of discipleship - that we have to go. Jesus sent each of His disciples on journeys. They traveled throughout the region in His name, taking nothing along with them and learning a great deal in the process. Learning discipline. Faith. Freedom. Priorities. Perspective. Blessing. Opportunity. Chance. Connection. And an answer to restlessness.
Before we get too far into such things, none of this is about running away. We are a world full of people who are too busy already running away, trying to escape whatever this is that isn't working for us, whatever these walls are that we're trapped inside. And we know the truth that when you're running away....whenever you get where you're going...there you are.
Nor is this about running into God somewhere. I have to admit, I think about journeys like those the disciples took and those Seth recounts in the book, and hindsight is always clear. When you're telling the story, it's easy to use just the right details to show that obviously when these people decided to go, they ran straight into God like He was just waiting for them along the road. Like the best place to find God is obviously Swaziland. I mean, they don't have television; they must have God.
What I love about this book is the way it won't settle for those cop-outs. It's about going, but it's not about running away or running into God. It's about running out.
Running out of everything you thought you needed. Like the young woman who packed one bag for a year's mission around the world and ran out of brow powder in the middle of Africa.
Running out of resources. Like the woman in southeast Asia whose debit card went missing, leaving her with just enough cash for bus fare to the city and not so much else as even a tube of toothpaste.
Running out of back-up plans. Like the same woman, who couldn't just call her bank and explain the situation. Like another woman serving in Africa who had to find alternatives for a glue-sniffing street kid.
Running out of time. Because the kids are sniffing glue and the women are being trafficked and disease is taking over and these things are terminal.
Mostly, though...running out of yourself. Running out of your absolute everything. Running not on empty but into it. Brokenness. An invitation to surrender. A spark of perspective. New eyes. New faith. New love.
Kingdom Journeys tells the stories of people who have traveled the world as missionaries through Seth's program, World Race, which is associated with Adventures in Missions. Both are great programs for getting young people gifted with restlessness into the heart of this hungry world. But you don't have to go to Africa or Thailand or Bolivia to have a journey. Not even a Kingdom one.
A Kingdom journey is really only about one thing: a deliberate 'go.' It is choosing to set your feet to a path your mind has only dreamt about...or maybe been too scared to dream. It is choosing to take the long road instead of the comfortable seat and put yourself out there. It is giving yourself fully over to the moment, to wherever you find yourself, and knowing that wherever you are, that place is part of your journey. It's just about taking off and running right out of yourself.
I'm a girl who feels like I've spent a lot of my life running. Running away, mostly, and I've kept that no secret. My personal Kingdom journey isn't as exotic as malaria in Zimbabwe or typhoid in Thailand. God has simply asked me - for this season, at least - to take all of those running energies and turn them into a deliberate go. To step into where He's sending me...which in my case has ironically been the quiet places. It has been these tender places, these delicate times, where I have most found that I have run out of myself and I'm sitting there broken, empty, and eventually, surrendered. Because when you're emptied, the next logical step is surrender to something that can fill you. Or Someone.
Kingdom Journeys by Seth Barnes launched this week. I've been excited and honored over the past few weeks to be part of the team previewing, reviewing, and promoting this book. This means yes, I received a copy of the book for free (which I am disclosing per federal regulations) in exchange for my efforts as a part of this team. But don't be jealous. This week, you can own this book for free, too! Kingdom Journeys is FREE in the Kindle store and the best part? You don't even need a Kindle to read it! Because Amazon provides a Kindle app free of charge, as well, for your computer, smart phone or tablet.
If you're hoping for a hard copy, hang on. Next week, there will be some incredible bonuses for those who invest in Kingdom Journeys. I will post a small update letting you know about those.
You've got to read this book, particularly if you're like me and you suffer from occasional restlessness or window pains. Awaiting each of us is a deliberate go...and even though my particular commission is not (today) the heart of Africa, there is something in my heart. And there's something in yours. To find it, we just have to push into our gift of restlessness a little, find that invitation to the cycle of abandonment, brokenness, and surrender, then further into empowerment, call, and confirmation. Until we run right out of ourselves and full into God.
Ever feel like you've gotta get out of here? Grab Kingdom Journeys and go.