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Why do we need a pilgrimage?

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We are forever in process, wrestling to narrow the gap between our ideal self and the humdrum self who is stuck checking off today’s To-Do List. Many of us feel trapped by the status quo – some of us are moms changing diapers, working a job on the side and not feeling good about the way they’ve b…
By Seth Barnes

We are forever in process, wrestling to narrow the gap between our ideal self and the humdrum self who is stuck checking off today’s To-Do List. Many of us feel trapped by the status quo – some of us are moms changing diapers, working a job on the side and not feeling good about the way they’ve been forced to fragment themselves. Others of us are men dreaming of being Indiana Jones, but stuck in a Walter Mitty job.

backpackSomething inside us longs for a pilgrimage – a journey into the mystery of who we could become if only we weren’t trapped by so many expectations. A pilgrimage is as much about leaving as it is about becoming.

The status quo may not be killing us, but the gap between it and the person we imagine ourselves to be forces us to walk the plank and jump.

People go on a pilgrimage as a way of putting the humdrum self up for foreclosure and putting a down payment on their ideal self. 

Lance Morrow calls the process of going “the imperialism of the imagination” whereby you collect new ideas and experiences as you challenge established norms and forge new neural pathways. You feel your mind and spirit come alive as “meanings and dangers flow by like colors, like smells, the fluid nuances of place.”

And as you dive into the process of going, as you commit to the wonder of perpetual discovery, though it comes in the form of a parade of new and occasionally exotic or even dazzling experiences and people, discovery becomes normal. And of course the most poignant encounter along the pilgrim’s road is when you catch glimpses of the self you are becoming.

If you’ve never given this a shot before, why not go for it? Try the World Race (www.theworldrace.org), an eleven-month journey in world missions, where you get initiated into kingdom life and find your true identity.

Jeff Goins wrote about this in Relevant Magazine the other week. You can read the article here; it’s called “Why we all must go on a pilgrimage.”

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