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Why young Christians are searching for their pilgrimage

Stephanie Fisk, one our January ’07 World Racers recently did an interview with the online magazine Wrecked for the Ordinary. Below is an excerpt of the interview. In it, Stephanie points to something I’ve believed for awhile now – that Christ-followers need to go on an epic pilgrimage to discove…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Stephanie Fisk, one our January ’07 World Racers recently did an interview with the online magazine Wrecked for the Ordinary. Below is an excerpt of the interview. In it, Stephanie points to something I’ve believed for awhile now – that Christ-followers need to go on an epic pilgrimage to discover the substance of their faith and walk in their true identity.

Why did you feel like
you needed to embark on this year-long pilgrimage around the world?

To test the waters. To see if
missions is in my
future. To see where and to whom I felt called. To serve and share. To
grow in my relationship with God. Not necessarily bad reasons – quite
honorable
for most, but I now see how I was searching for milk, while the Lord
wanted to
give (and gave anyways) meat and wine.

I now see why my
reasons were just missing the mark – above all, this pilgrimage is needed
because Jesus is real and because my soul and millions of others are on the
line. My heart and spirit needed this
pilgrimage in order to save me from a life of complacency.

This pilgrimage is needed to instill
compassion and passion – fraternal twins that keeps my soul alive. This pilgrimage is needed to break me of
myself. To realize my true identity in
Christ. And, finally, what I went
searching for at the beginning – my role in the kingdom.

What did you hope to
gain?

Man, any answer I
give will reek of my self-interest… something I was hoping to lose! So, ironically, from the beginning I’ve been
hoping to lose myself – my worldly ambitions, perspectives, control – as I go
in search of a real, living Jesus. Leave it to God to have this all perfectly
planned out. The greater my intimacy
grew with Him, the more I was stripped.
It was in my nakedness that I saw the true Stephanie. And it wasn’t all
pretty.

I also wanted to gain a way of living that reflected the
simple love of Jesus. A mind, heart,
attitude – a lifestyle really – that would reflect that of one who has been
with Jesus. Passionate intimacy that
makes others question and seek.

I wanted simplicity -which is only gained through losing
(void of action on my part) or abandonment (ex – going on the World Race… this
requires action on my part). Losing
those things, wants, and needs that clutter my relationship with Christ.

How will this
experience impact your future ministry and walk with God?
My faith has evolved from a mind-set to a way of life. It is
intertwined with my DNA. I cannot be separated from it. It is who I am.
I am a child of God and I have a desire to
come to know my Father and inherit the promise land.Everybody is a
minister and everyone a mission
field. Ministry is who I am. Prayer is who I am. It is no longer about
the things I do, but
the Person I am reflecting and becoming.

This journey takes a
turn onto a path less trodden; a path called faith whose nickname is

“reckless abandon”; a path where innate
dreams, passions and desires are met by a loving, living, intimate
Creator. A Bridegroom who delights in
each step taken on this pilgrimage to “fully alive.”

Read the full article at Wrecked here.

Comments (5)

  • Seth,
    This posting is timely. Allison justposted a blog on this topic and I wrote her back posing the question for you about finding contentment, even when you are seeking something better. How should/can these pilgrims find conentment when they have been wrecked for the ordinary?
    We will love and support our pilgrim, of course, but wonder how to manage her expectations. Stress is causesd when there is a gap between reality and expectations, so you have to raise the reality and lower the expectation to keep stress at a manageable level.
    While the true pilgrim will not be held back from their journey, those of us who are supporters need to know how to help them along the way, and hope that their expectations can be met in some ways.

    Thanks for listening,

    Steve Johnston

  • Ok, Steve. I hear you and am on it. I have some conceptual answers, but am working to get some practical responses in place (and would love to solicit your help). Let’s see if some ideas are forthcoming soon from Racer alumni parents.

  • You know, I’ve been thinking a lot about this question and rather than get too complicated I would just say as a mom of a two-year world racer I can say that being excited for him and encouraging him throughout his journey would be my best advice. As much as I wanted him to come home, and as much as I was afraid for him, the best thing I could have done was to try to put myself in his place and just pray, encourage, love on, and let him go and grow. God put him their for a reason and I just had to let go and know that God would lead him where he was meant to be, wherever that might be. Blessings to all of you parents, friends and aunts and uncles of our World Racers. It has been quite a journey for my husband and I but our son has evolved into such a strong and awesome man. What a blessing to all of us. My mom has always said to me, “Hold close with open arms.” That quote has always stayed with me. Enjoy this journey for what seems like an eternity ends up being a blip in time.

    God Bless you all,

    Mom Skeeter

  • Steve,
    I am a parent to two WRs of last year. They each came home with different experiences and expectations. At first, I wondered if this trip was going to be a ‘glorified’ youth camp experience. They come home on the mountaintop, only to descend into their former way of life. I think that can happen to a certain extent. But, this trip has so many growing points: living with little material distractions, few comfortable living conditions, learning to live in community, seeing heartbreaking sights, watching real people hurting and overcoming impossible events to name a few. My racers came home rather numb at first – being jetlagged. Once they wake up and realize they need to ‘get back to life’, they will have a wide range of emotions. We must not underestimate the culture shocks they have been through and coming back to their own culture is still shocking. I encouraged them to keep the dream alive as to what they felt God had for them. We have been supportive of both our children as they have chosen different paths since coming back. Don’t forget they might just need some time to sift through it all. Remember to enjoy the process with them and join in the excitement. I do think God wants us to know him and live with Him moment by moment no matter where we are in the world. I think somehow living in America and having a ‘regular’ job is considered less spiritual than being a missionary or being on the World Race…but I have come to know that being a parent and living with the challenges we have here in America can be quite an adventure in itself. I also know that I need God just as much.

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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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