Towards the end of last year, I put together a life plan. I had done one before on a smaller scale, but this one was put together with a trained facilitator and over the course of two days, mapping out what I’d like to accomplish and how to get there. It really helped me to gain some incredible insight into my life —where I was going, where God had taken me.
One important part of this plan is called the “replenishment cycle” —it helped me to find the things in my life that not only bring me joy but help to replenish me. Often you can work and work and work and feel drained. The replenishment cycle helps to fill up your proverbial gas tank. These are things that help you feel both renewed and refreshed. For me, that includes going to shows or going for a run. Another thing that helps we called “exploring,” which is basically just that—exploring a new place.
Before I came on board at Hoboken Grace, I traveled extensively with my old job. One of the things I loved about it was going to a place I had never been before. When I arrived, if I didn’t have to go straight to work, I used to love to go to the hotel and check in. Then I’d drop my bags off and explore the neighborhood. I would look for good restaurants, fun stores, maybe even some not-to-miss sights in the area. I loved it and I still love doing that today. Why? Well for one, it’s fun for me to see and experience new things. But the other reason, I believe, is because it helps me to build a relationship with the place I’m getting to know. If I’m going to be there for a few days, I want to get to know it. I want to learn about it. I want to see what it can teach me all the while getting to enjoy it.
It’s a lot like our relationship with God. Before I became a believer, I thought of God as just this Guy-in-the-Sky. Unknowable and always watching. But since walking into this relationship with Him, I realize He’s completely knowable. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, prays that we, “may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” All too often we want to comprehend something without taking the time to experience it. Much like when I was traveling to a new town or place, I was never able to fully appreciate it until I experienced it.
All too often, we want to comprehend the inner workings of something before we experience it. Yet, when we meet someone during our day, we begin immediately engaging them in conversation, even though we don’t know the intricacies of their motivations. We begin finding these things out when we get to know the individual better, but only after a relationship has started. In the same way, we must explore and engage God relationally before we can truly begin to appreciate the depths of His character.
I spent several years trying to comprehend God without knowing Him, and what did it lead to? Never being able to fully enjoy Him. It wasn’t until I began exploring with Him, spending time with Him and engaging with Him that I was able to build a deeper relationship with Him. If I wanted to comprehend and experience a new place when I was traveling, I had to spend time there. Now, was it possible for me to see everything a town has to offer? Well, I’ve been living in the New York/New Jersey area for 14 years now and I still haven’t seen everything it has to offer. Does that mean I should just stop exploring? Of course not. It’s the same thing with God. Paul would continue to say, “May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.” Just because you’ll never understand it fully doesn’t mean you can’t continue to grow to love it and peel away the layers to experience Him more and more.
There’s a reason exploring is part of my replenishment cycle. It does replenish and refresh me. I would venture to say that if you’re feeling like your tank is running on empty, maybe you could spend a little more time today exploring and engaging with Him to allow it to be filled once again.