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Debriefing Your Life

On Saturday I’m headed out to hike the Camino – The Way of St. James. I’ll be hiking with a four friends in northern Spain for a week. We’ll start in Pamplona, the city Hemingway made famous for the “running of the bulls.” As we walk, we’ll transform into peregrinos (pilgrims). We’ll join hund…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

On Saturday I’m headed out to hike the Camino – The Way of St. James. I’ll be hiking with a four friends in northern Spain for a week. We’ll start in Pamplona, the city Hemingway made famous for the “running of the bulls.”

As we walk, we’ll transform into peregrinos (pilgrims). We’ll join hundreds of others who are on a spiritual journey. And as we walk, we will think and talk and pray. We’ll enter a liminal space where anything is possible.

For me it will be a time of debriefing and celebration. Each evening, we’ll gather sobre la mesa – around the table – with other pilgrims to eat a three course meal and to talk about life.

I’ve found that it’s important periodically to unplug enough to think about life from an ultimate perspective. Though we’d rather not admit it, often, death is all around us and life is short. This past week, for example, a couple of our racers in Malawi witnessed a man die in front of them. And back here in America, a friend lost his granddaughter to a sudden illness. 

What does God think about such tragedy? In light of the brevity of life, how should we live? Do our priorities line up with our values?

In America, our paradigm of life involves stacking up a boat-load of debt and then scrambling to make money to pay it off. We may have dreams, but we postpone them to try and get out from under the debt.

And while we defer living the life of our dreams, we live our lives in virtual space, tracking our virtual friends and posting selfies.

That’s what my friends and I want to unplug from. It’s what we’ll walk away from. It’s what our souls need. It’s what all of us caught in a cycle of distracted living hunger for. We need a season of debriefing, of making sense of what is happening all around us.

As we walk, we’ll fill each day with questions that will guide our thoughts. Yesterday I asked some young men I mentor to give me questions that we should ask. I offer them to you. 

Debriefing Life

1. Think through your last year – list all its highs and lows. What did you learn?

2. Jesus offers us abundant life. What is “the more” that God is offering you and how are you seeking it? 

3. You have much to give those younger than you. How can you mentor others? Who needs your mentorship?

4. Who do you need to thank who has helped you get here?

5. How can you better love the people whom you love?

6. What do you want from the upcoming year?

7. What fruit would you like to see from the rest of your life?

*      *      *      *

Why not plan to go somewhere quiet in the next month to debrief your life? Enjoy the change of seasons around you and consider the change of seasons in your own life.

Comments (10)

  • Seth, thanks for this reminder along with the questions which ironically enough I ask often…sometimes during the “night watches” where insomnia becomes a magic carpet taking me to that place where a thousand late night confessionals happen again. In recent days I’ve been pondering what I call the “weeping Jesus” with a resolute eye on those people and circumstances which caused the God-Man to cry. As the founder of World Vision once implored God “Let my heart be broken by the things that break yours.” We can never go wrong when we follow the tear stained dusty path of a misunderstood Savior. Blessings for you and your small tribe as you walk a well trod path in Spain. I pray God meets you there in a special way. In the meantime, love from your pilgrim friend…and always…

    PS: I did call Tim G. and left a message for him some days ago. He was in CA. I’ll try
    again to discuss the project.

  • Seth;
    Great blog and lots of good things to think about. Grant and I are going to attempt to walk the entire 560 Kilometers next September. I have a friend who did most of it with a few other pilgrims earlier this summer. He really liked his experience. grant is already preparing me with what I will need to pack. His Race experience should be most beneficial. We are planning on about a month maybe a little less.

    Thanks for sharing this, it is a very small world.

  • Seth, great word, and because you live it, great integrity and authority. I love it!

    Here in New Zealand this week, we have been teaching on how the Holy Spirit, (Spirit of truth, who will bring us into truth, and amazing counsellor/therapist) is also a great debriefer. Underrated. Free to access. Costly to our ego and pride.

    We are grateful to friends, who challenge us, ask us great questions, and exhort us to move into more significance and greater friendship with God, and others.

    We met a man this week who is leading a ‘pilgrimages’ DTS, taking young people on treks like you describe, including extreme rock climbing, etc. What a great thing you guys are doing.

    Kudos to you, and to the living God who keeps bringing you higher and further!


    • Jim, good to hear from you. Thanks for the encouragement and the wisdom – “the Holy Spirit is underrated and free” – that will preach! I love how you go to cool places and do cool stuff all the time. I need to get to New Zealand one day!

  • Good stuff. It’s great to slow down and think about questions like these from time to time.

    Wish I could be there with you guys! Enjoy the time together.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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