I will be taking a camping trip soon, so I’m collecting and organizing the gear I plan to pack. I have bought new towels, swim suits, flip flops, and sunscreen; gathered sleeping bags, flashlights, backpacks, and bug spray; collected trail mix, granola bars, beef jerky, and water bottles. I am bringing everything I can possibly imagine to make this trip more comfortable and pleasant.

No trip is about the things we carry with us, but its purpose is to find something new. We venture out to enjoy time with our companions, discover new and memorable views, and explore how people and worlds are different yet similar. We return home with a renewed appreciation for the place where we are known and loved.

Our journey through life is not about the possessions we accumulate, but its goal is to appreciate the lessons we learn. We create a rich life by celebrating time with people we love, discovering new ideas and abilities, and expanding our perceptions of the world. We learn to express our trust and gratitude for the God who knows all and loves us always.

Soon I will be traveling a new and unpredictable road. I will take with me an open mind, an eagerness to explore, and a trust that I’ll return home with a new perspective. Throughout all my journeys I have learned that life is not constantly comfortable or pleasant, but we always have everything we need.

Where is your journey taking you this summer? What do you hope to learn along the way?

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One day last spring I discovered these two guests visiting my patio – young crows who rested from their flight lessons by perching on my air conditioner and outdoor loveseat. I studied the crows from my window and snapped a few photos while their parents squawked overhead, then I left the crows alone to complete their important work while I considered how we all learn to fly.

Leave the nest (or you will be pushed). To discover anything new, we have to move out of our comfort zones and explore dangerous, unknown areas. If we linger in one place too long, we outgrow our safe surroundings and find ourselves forced to change our perspective.

Let go. We can’t learn to fly while clinging to the past. We have to release those burdens that hold us back and make an effort to propel ourselves forward.

Expect to fall. Often we find ourselves moving downwards before we can rise. Sometimes we have to hit the ground before finding the way to lift ourselves up again.

Keep trying. Regular practice builds strength and power. We may have to make several attempts before we develop the stamina we need to succeed.

Encourage others. While baby birds struggle, their parents perch in the trees overhead, calling to their offspring on the ground. When we gain knowledge and understanding, it is important to offer encouragement to those who are still learning to pick themselves up.

These plaques hang on my office wall, reminders that to reach our dreams, we need courage to leave our safe spaces, commitment to do the hard work, and vision to reach heights we’ve only dreamed of before. This week I hope you take a leap and find yourself able to fly.

Where are your dreams leading you now? How can you step out and learn something new?

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This week the car needed new tires and wheel alignment, an oil change and a brake exam. Waiting for our car to undergo this necessary overhaul reminded me of all the time I have spent waiting in repair shops while guys in matching blue shirts installed a new battery, oil filter, water pump, timing belt, or brake pads. Here are a few things I learned while spending time in the auto shop waiting room.

Maintenance is important. Whether in relationships, roles, or reaching our goals, we have to pay attention to what is most important to us. Taking care of small problems early prevents larger problems from developing later.

Name the problem before planning the repair. In life, we can’t fix what we can’t identify. We have to understand what the real problems are before we can choose and apply the correct solutions.

Use waiting time to regroup and rest. We all have periods in life when we have to wait for the right circumstances before moving on, and impatiently pacing won’t make those happen any faster. Wise people use down time to relax and reflect on where they are headed before moving forward.

Make sure all the work is done before returning to the road. Sometimes we have to work on ourselves before we are ready to accept new challenges and assignments. Doing the necessary upgrades before moving on prevents future breakdowns so we don’t end up in the same place we started.

This week our car repairs took little time before we were on the road again. I am grateful for the many ways God reminds me of his presence and keeps me moving in the right direction.

What can you do the next time you find yourself waiting? How will you know when it’s time to move on?

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For those who need some extra inspiration today, I offer a few of my favorite Bible verses.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Remember that God knows all you need, and he will always act on behalf of your highest good.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

Have faith that God is always with you, and let his presence give you peace.

“I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:38-39).

Believe he cares for you and has a plan for your well-being.

“For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you’” (Isaiah 41:13).

Trust the Lord holds you in his mighty right hand.

God will wipe away every tear from their eyes . . . ; There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away . . . ‘Behold, I make all things new’” (Revelation 21:4-5).

Know that no matter what happens, God is always in control, and he always promises a new beginning.

Today I pray you know that a loving God cares for you. Be at peace and trust that God is aware, and he knows everything you need.

What is your prayer today? What verses remind you that God has you in his care?

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