Traveling The Trail Takes Its Toll

That might sound a little more dramatic than it is, but the alliteration was irresistible.

This isn’t a travelog or a photo-featuring post. I need to share and process a bit about the mental/emotional/spiritual experiences of the travels so far.

The trip has been amazing. And God is really good. I’ve been easily losing track of both those things, for a lot of reasons.

There have been moments where something has gone not quite as planned; where I’ve been anxious, or frustrated, or disappointed; where sleep completely escapes me. But in spite of these things, nothing has really gone wrong, and things have worked out continually for the best.

But yesterday, during the loooooong drive between Casper, WY, and Pocatello, ID, I realized that I’m not having as much fun on this trip as I could be, and it’s because I’ve been so anxious about everything: about being robbed, murdered, getting into an accident or breaking down, losing stuff, and so on. That anxiety, I’m sure, is the primary reason why I have been sleeping very badly, which has perpetuated the less-fun-ness.

In spite of my anxieties, I have been safe. I have gotten to see just about everything I’ve wanted to, and some extras besides. I’ve been on time for everything.

Chimney Rock, better known to the American Indians as “Elk Penis”

The one hotel didn’t have my reservation–it worked out. Later, another hotel was creepier and more gross than I was expecting, but even though I spent the night in fear for my safety, I was okay. My car and I came through across vast, isolated, cell-phone-service-free areas of Wyoming completely unscathed. I was missing a small bag of earrings at one point last night, which had me freaking out (most of my jewelry is irreplaceable due to sentimental rather than monetary value) and making phone calls and texts and asking for prayers on Facebook and digging through every inch of my car, but I finally found it. I’ve been waking up in time to meet my work deadlines, even with time-zone differences. Heck, sleeping in my car for the first time wasn’t too bad, and was even kind of cozy. (I paid $10 for a tent site in a city campground, and between the campground hosts, the families in their RVs, and the local police making patrols, I swear that was the safest I’ve felt this whole trip.)

Yet every time I avoid one disaster, I go, “Phew!” and then freak out about something else.

I feel like God is saying, “I’ve given you every reason to think that things are going to be okay. When are you finally going to relax and trust Me?”

I mean, I *guess* this is nice…

This finally occurred to me big time yesterday, during the long drive, when I was wondering if I’d get a flat tire miles from nowhere (I didn’t), or if the hotel in Pocatello would be even worse than the one in Casper (it wasn’t). And I realized that I was not only dishonoring and disobeying God with my anxieties, but I was wasting energy, wasting myself, wasting so much of this trip that I’ve been wanting for years and planning for months.

I’ve still done and seen everything I wanted to so far (mostly–there were a few museums that were closed and a couple scenic spots that I didn’t quite get a good look at). Still, it makes me sad to think of what I’ve allowed my anxieties to steal from me. But I shall mourn that lost time and energy, learn from it, and move on.

So I resolved to be better about it from here on out. It’s a long, arduous process–a journey with as many spiritual joys and dangers as the Oregon Trail had in physical form. Maybe I, too, will emerge as a victorious pioneer.

Actual rainbow from Shoshone Falls in Idaho

1 thought on “Traveling The Trail Takes Its Toll

  1. So this strikes me as more apt than ever, since God’s faithfulness doesn’t change but our lives keep startling us with new challenges and uncertainties.

    I guess the hard part is the relaxing-and-trusting-God. What’s the mechanism for it? I can’t figure out if it’s somehow a thing we *do,* or if rest from anxiety is just a gift He gives us sometimes.

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