What God taught me during 5 weeks in an RV with my family...
God shows up in our weaknesses, right? That’s where His power is most evident. That’s when we can really feel Him.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. - 2 Corinthians 12:9
In that verse, Paul is telling us something the Lord told him – that the Lord’s power is made perfect in Paul’s weaknesses. So Paul decides to boast “gladly” of his weaknesses. That’s how he’ll feel the Lord’s power.
And boy did I learn the truth of that statement this summer.
My family moved from New Mexico to Alabama this summer. And along the way, we spent 5 weeks in our RV, stopping at various campgrounds across the country, exploring new areas, swimming in lakes, and just enjoying the ride.
And while I did enjoy a lot of it, I also struggled quite a bit, to be honest. My weaknesses were definitely showing up.
And God showed up in them. With that perfect power of His.
Here’s what God taught me during our summer road trip:
1. You don’t have to keep wishing you were a “go with the flow” kind of person. You can start being that kind of person whenever you want to.
I’ve never been “go with the flow”. I’m a girl who likes a schedule, preferably written down in a paper planner. I like a plan. A plan helps me feel like I’m in control, I guess. Like nothing will show up and surprise me and leave me feeling unprepared.
When it comes to traveling with 3 kids and spending lots of money on everything we do, I definitely like a plan. I want to know that we’re making the most of each location and spending our time and money wisely.
But God had a different plan for me this summer. It was time for me to learn the art of relaxing and letting each day unfold on its own. Sure, we had some concrete plans here and there. But we also did a lot of “we’ll figure it out when we wake up” kind of stuff… and you know what? It was great! We had so much fun exploring and being spontaneous!
It wasn’t easy for me at first, but I could tell God was calling me to surrender my “must have a plan” attitude. So I did. I took a lot of deep breaths and prayed for His help when I felt my anxiety creeping up. And I trusted God to take care of us. I also let my husband take the lead a lot more than usual and started trusting him to do what God designed him to do – lead our family!
2. Listen to your body or it will start screaming at you. There’s nothing wrong with taking care of yourself. It actually helps you better take care of others.
I’m an introvert. I crave alone time. And I’m also desperately craving rest this year. But how does one accommodate all those things in a small RV with 5 people for 5 weeks? YOU SPEAK UP.
I spent the first two weeks trying to “just keep swimming”. I ignored the inner Chrissie begging me to go spend an hour alone somewhere. I ignored the constant irritability that resulted from it. I ignored the exhaustion and headaches. Until the tears came and wouldn’t stop. Tears that seemed to have no explanation. That couldn’t be ignored. Because it kind of freaked me out.
My body was craving alone time to recharge. It was craving rest. And it just wasn’t going to be ignored any longer. So I finally decided to listen.
I started voicing my need to recharge alone. I got up early and sat by the lake with my Bible. I shut myself in the bedroom area of the RV and read a book. I volunteered to grocery shop alone or go do the laundry at a laundromat.
Those sneaky thoughts would show up sometimes, like You’re being selfish when you ask your husband to take care of the kids alone while you’re gone or You should be strong enough to get through these 5 weeks without breaking down because you haven’t had a break. But God would speak to me through various people and resources and remind me that He created us to need to rest. He modeled rest for us when He created the world. Jesus modeled rest AND alone time for us during His time on earth!
When I listened to God and to my body and took time to rest, I showed up so much better for my family afterwards. Rest is quickly becoming a nonnegotiable thing in my life.
3. The Romans 12:2 call to renew your mind is about more than just cleaning up your language and getting rid of ungodly habits.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. - Romans 12:2
I’ve heard this verse for years and always thought it meant - stop partying and lying and making poor choices and start living for the Lord. But that sounds a lot more like renewing your behaviors, not your mind, right?
God is teaching me a whole new perspective on mind renewal this year and the summer road trip really gave me an opportunity to dive deeper into it. I’m learning so much about my mind and body and how connected they are, about my childhood and adult traumas that still live inside me and affect my thoughts and actions every day, and about how to heal my mind and body from those traumas so I can show up better for myself and for others.
Love your neighbor as yourself, right? Well, if I’m not loving myself very well, I’m not loving my neighbor well by default. And when I keep ignoring how things from my past are affecting my present, those things from my past start screaming louder and louder. And affecting my ability to live out my purpose. So to love myself, to love the person God created me to be, I have to heal from those traumas.
This third section could honestly be its own blog post but I wanted to at least mention it here because it’s been a huge part of my summer. I’m devouring books on the mind-body connection and self-healing, I’m talking to my trauma-informed coach every two weeks, and I’m committing this season of life to a huge renewal of my mind.
Ok, those are three big lessons from the summer 2022 cross-country move! (I also learned I can coexist with Texas-sized spiders but I didn’t think that deserved its own section.)
Now summer is coming to a close, school starts in two weeks, and I am more than ready to get my peaceful house back! But these summer lessons are coming with me straight into pumpkin and scarf weather…
Chrissie Kenaston shares about her experiences as a wife, mother, friend, entrepreneur, etc., all filtered through the lens of God's grace.