A book I’m reading about the Camino de Santiago quoted a pilgrim telling another pilgrim that if it isn’t fun, he shouldn’t be doing it. I’ve heard this philosophy of life before. Kind of reminds me of the 1970s where some were living life for love, pleasure, and happiness. I can’t imagine how self-centered and lonely this lifestyle would be. Work generally isn’t much fun – at least not all the time. Growth generally requires challenges and stretching areas of our lives that can be painful. We can certainly try to incorporate “fun” into much of what we do, but to me the fun factor shouldn’t be my main motivation for why I choose or don’t choose to do one thing or another.
My “training” (laugh here!) hasn’t been all that fun. In fact it has been rather long and torturous. To the point of my questioning my sanity and my purpose. This has made persevering on this journey much harder as my purpose is difficult to articulate clearly – as it is for most pilgrims. I simply feel called by God to go walk it. He has confirmed to me over and over again that this is what I am to do. So most days that I am able, I strap on some shoes or boots and start walking. 5 to 8 miles per day 4 or 5 days per week or more.
One step at a time, one minute at a time, one mile at a time. Since the beginning of September, I’ve walked over 430 miles. I’ll be walking close to 500 miles in Spain. And there I’ll be going up and down mountains carrying a loaded backpack. I’ll have gained additional strength and fitness before I start the Camino. I’ll need every ounce of it. This will require hard, physical, disciplined work this year. This is not “fun” for me. I can think of 1,000 things I’d rather be doing than “working out”. But I realize that it must be done to accomplish that to which God has called me.
When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. John 16:21-22
Jesus warned his disciples about all that they would face in this life as they followed after Him. He never said, “This will be great fun, you ought to do this”. On the contrary, He told them that the world would hate them, that they would have trouble, that they would be persecuted and even martyred. He did say that He would be with them and that they would have the helper – God’s Holy Spirit with them. God never forsake them. They walked in obedience to His commands and they walked in His love, peace, and joy.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. Matthew 24:9
..someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Luke 9:57-58
He also spoke of the treasure that they would lay up in heaven as each would be rewarded according to what he had done. It seems to me that Jesus wasn’t all that interested in our comfort, our “happiness”, or our level of “fun”. He was more concerned with our obedience, our understanding of who He is, and of our submission to His will. He desired that we followed Him. That we repented of our sins and confessed that He is Lord.
So today, I hope that you are seeking to follow after Jesus wherever He may lead you. I hope that you are walking in His love, peace and joy. I pray that if your journey is difficult, painful, and trying that you will rest in Him and rely on His strength to renew your spirit.
Be encouraged. Press on.