Before I Begin…

…let’s get one thing straight.

I HATE camping.

The cramped quarters. The temperature drop that always seems to fall 20 degrees cooler than expected. The tent whose only purpose in life is to wreak havoc on the spatially challenged. The sudden loss of daylight that invariably occurs when trying to set up said tent. The constant infestation of dirt in everything from food to clothes to the inside of my sleeping bag. (Heck, even my toothbrush feels gritty.) And, of course, the backache that turns me into Quasimodo for three days after the camping trip is over. Yeah. That’s fun.

But here’s the weird thing. I do like exploring, such as whitewater rafting, hiking, horseback riding, ziplining, traveling to new countries, etc. And many of these activities include being in touch with nature, appreciating God’s handiwork in creation, allowing myself to be detoxed from my digitized 21st century lifestyle, and recalibrating my ego to a size that is more appropriate to my abilities and temporal contributions to others. I think, in many ways, this is what “living in the tent” is all about.

It is a lifestyle of humility, submission, suffering, learning, challenge, and resizing that cannot be accomplished within the digital biodomes of information that we live.

Living in the tent is about following God with all your heart, regardless of the sacrifice or the service you are called to perform. It is about an intentional selflessness that magnifies the greatness of God through the lack of who you are.

Living in the tent is about:

Embracing suffering

Resolving conflict

Healing brokenness

Confessing hypocrisy

Repenting of behaviors

Willingness to stay, if necessary, for years

Readiness to move, if necessary, on a moment’s notice.

It is about all of these things and so much more. It covers our spirituality, our relationships, our work, and our legacy. It is, in summary, about our extravagant love towards God, as well as our extravagant dependence upon Him.

So, pull up your tent beside my own. The accommodations may not be five star, and the raccoons may have raided our ice chest; but we can learn together how to brave the wilderness in which God has placed us. I won’t be hard to find. I’ll be the guy shaking out my sleeping bag and looking for Advil.

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