Imagine a group of six high school seniors going on a three-week hiking trip through the Appalachian Mountains. No adults, no laptops, very scarce electricity, and a ton of miles between where you started and where you’re going. Imagine spending that kind of time with your closest friends, just exploring God’s masterpiece endlessly and forever, with the sunlight filtering through the trees, and the clouds lilting over golden wheat fields all around you–falling asleep beneath the Universe every night, nestled beside the people that mean everything to you, without a single worry in the world. Doesn’t that sound like perfection? What could be better than that?
Stories like that make me want to rethink my life. An acquaintance from school shared pictures of her summer vacation on Facebook last week, and although I don’t know her very well, I could see that she had the time of her life. She went on a hiking trip through the mountains with her friends, taking artistic and hi-res photographs, with nothing but a backpack and a walking cane. They lived alone, out in the wilderness, enjoying the crap out of living life. But I won’t dwell on her awesome summer, even though I am extremely jealous. I want to delve deeper into the metaphorical meanings behind such a vacation, and possibly gain some furthering knowledge that affects the way I live and love and learn in all that I do.
I think we become so enthralled in the stress and worry of modern life that we honestly forget about some of the most important things. I know that everyone says stuff like that, and most people agree that, yeah, we should take life back to basics sometimes–maybe I’ll cancel something and go outside for ten minutes today! But do we really and fully comprehend the concept of a simple life? No. We’ve all grown up being tricked into thinking that there are certain things we need to survive. We need a job, a car, a place to live, a good family, a solid faith, and we need to accomplish something. For many people, the biggest reason they keep going is because they have the conviction to do something, to be someone, to make a difference in the world. For some, that means becoming a parent and raising up the next generation of people. For others, they are convinced that we are the next generation, and are trying to change the world. Sadly, we spend much of our lives trying, and at the end, we find that our work didn’t amount to anything.
I’m learning that this is such a load of bull. The simple fact that we feel convicted to make our lives amount to something is a lie. The thought that we are nothing because we have done nothing (or our attempts to do something have never accomplished anything), is a terrible expectation that recent generations have placed upon themselves, and it’s honestly unfair. Why do we feel like we have to change the world? Why do we feel the urgent need to be a success? Why do we try so hard to do things? It’s more than just basic survival for most of us (because if you’re reading this, you’re probably on a computer or phone, and you’ve got survival mostly covered). It’s unfair because we don’t have to do anything. The world continues to turn around every day whether we exist or not, and since when does the Earth’s revolution rely on contribution from humanity? It never has. (I mean this metaphorically–I don’t actually think that humanity has been trying to spin the Earth). In other words, it’s unfair to think that we must do something–we must stay busy, continue to earn money, continue to expand and become better. We must continue learning and producing–that’s wrong. We don’t have to do to live.
So why do
we live? What is the point? If there’s nothing we have to do, then why do we exist? You already know the answer–it goes all the back to Eden. Adam and Eve were created to fellowship with God. They named the animals for Him, they took long walks and had extensive talks with Him. And just to get biblical:
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground. ” (Gen. 1:28 NIV)
We were originally designed to be caretakers of the Earth. We were given the authority to name the animals (a creative act, by the way). We were told to multiply, in order that we, as a species, would continue to survive. He gave us plants for food, and friends and spouses because we shouldn’t be alone. He gave us rules– don’t eat from the wrong tree.
It was so amazingly simple.
There was no job, no currency, no worry. God took care of food and water and anything else they needed. All they were expected to do was walk with God, and be creative beings. They were called to be.
Now I know what you’re thinking– everything is so much more complicated now because the human race has sinned and we all fall short of the Glory! Our eyes are now opened to good and evil, and we must continually attempt to make up for our mistake in the form of acts! We must be better! We must repent! We must evangelize to bring more glory to the Kingdom! We must save the lost as Jesus did! We must aid the broken and heal the wounded! We are called to be soldiers!
But that’s wrong. God never expected us to survive on our own accord. He sent His Son. We are forgiven of all of those things! Therefore, in the peace and confidence of being a Believer, we can return to our original purpose– Eden.
In Eden, God takes care of our survival, as He always has. Food, water, everything we need is taken care of. Worry and fear is the opposite of faith and trust. I will even go further and state that (in many cases) even acting of your own ambition without the guidance of God in an attempt to find security is a display of doubt.
Back to the question: why do we live? We live because we are called to be caretakers of the Earth. We are called to love, and have long talks with God. We are called to be creative. We are called to depend on the Lord, and follow His leading. He won’t leave us with nothing– he gave the Israelites manna everyday when they were doubtful and whiny. He will never let us down. There is nothing we have do. He loves us, He provides for us, and that’s all we have to know.
Finally, back to my friend’s summer vacation. I believe that life should be like that, with no expectations, no responsibilities, not even plans. Just becoming a leaf on the wind, allowing for God to do His thing. Hiking, enjoying nature, stretching out under the stars, and letting go. Releasing our pains, and living without thinking. Nestled under a tree, warm in the company of your closest Friend, enjoying the hell out of every moment. I want a life like that.