Sometimes when I think about how much of my day is spent on social media, I’m embarrassed. Truly. Being a coach whose business happens to be 99% virtual means that I have to be fully available from every technological avenue pretty much all of the dang time. And while I love it, staying connected without any breaks can definitely take its toll.
So when the fam and I recently traveled to Phoenix, Arizona to cheer on Chad while he literally crushed the Mesa Phoenix Marathon – I took this as my opportunity to unplug. Not 100%, because honestly I can’t. I love Harper & Sky, as well as my blog and my writing jobs too much to just turn the other cheek and take an extended break.
So for the sake of loving my businesses so dang much, I kept half an earbud in for when I was needed, and let the other one dangle for awhile.
Phoenix proved to be the perfect opportunity to take a break from what stresses me out -you people (kidding), and focus on what really matters; my family, and my peace. This trip was equal parts relaxing, adventurous, and inspiring, and I love that I was able to share those experiences with some pretty amazing people.
On two separate occasions during our stay in AZ, we hopped in our rented Escalade (and yes, I did quote St. Lunatics each time we did), and just drove. We didn’t know where we would end up, and we didn’t really care. We just wanted to see what was out there.
What we found? A damn good time. We hiked through A Hole in the Rock, tempted fate with more than one cactus (Google “Jumping Cholla” when you have a sec), drove through the mountains, visited Tonto National Forest, hiked through more hills and mountains, found a biker town, got lost and ended up at the Cub’s Spring Training Facility, and we just spent time being.
We didn’t watch TV for five whole days.
We laughed, we walked, we loved, and we spent time out in the open air with the sun shining down on our faces seeing a part of our world that God created that we hadn’t yet seen in person until that very moment.
If you follow Melissa Urban Hartwig on social media, you may notice that she often talks about “going to church” – usually during her hikes or explorations in the wilderness. I never thought much about it until I found myself in a similar situation, and I felt at peace. The first thought that came to my mind, was this is my church.
My mom and I tried to find a church growing up that we could call our own. We would dip our toes in the holy water hoping to find one with just the right temperature. But even through our all our attempts, I never really felt like those places were my church.
The times in my life that I have felt the closest to God, or closest to finding peace within myself and what has been laid out in my life and all that is before me, is when I am alone with my thoughts in nature; or when I am sharing these experiences with my family. Seeing, and exploring, and experiencing the things that God has created for us in all of its natural beauty. Not being influenced by other peoples’ agendas. Not getting distracted by all of the action items that need to be addressed. Not waiting for the ding of a new alert telling me how many Likes my latest photo just received. But by putting all of that aside and simply being.
Maybe your church takes place every Sunday in a chapel full of people singing and worshipping. Maybe your church happens every morning before the kids are up, when you’re able to relish in the quiet with your Bible or your book and a hot cup of coffee while you watch the sunrise. Maybe your church is in volunteering your time and services to those who genuinely need some love and a gentle nudge in the right direction.
But for me, my church is the sound of my shoes hiking through trails. My church is the breeze that gently moves through my hair and the sunshine when it kisses my skin. My church is watching my husband and my son living each day seeking opportunities to do good for other people. And particularly, so far this year, my church that day was found on a mountainside in Arizona.