What Our Family Road Trip Taught Me About Spiritual Ruts
Posted on Monday, May 16, 2022 by Air1 Pastors
“Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.” - Psalm 143:8 (NLT)
In 1967, my parents planned a 3,000-mile, six-week road trip from San Francisco to Washington D.C. It was June, and school was out. Across a month-and-a-half, we visited five different sets of relatives who lived in five different states; and we had lots of fun stops planned in between. It was exciting, in the beginning.
Then, as we left our first destination and crossed into Nevada, it hit me: This is going to be a long, boring trip in between stops. The desert stretched outside of the car window for miles. I was sitting between my brothers in the backseat. It was 110 degrees, and our AC blew only slightly cooler air into the car. The “in between” was monotonous at best, if not downright miserable at times.
Our spiritual lives can feel like that, can’t they? Life with Jesus seems like an exciting adventure at first, but then the daily grind sets in, and we settle for monotonous and boring. We find ourselves hoping for the next big thing. The reality is that we live a great deal of our lives in the “in between.”
Early on in my commitment to Christ, I spent a lot of time in the evenings with friends studying the Bible. We spurred one another on in our spiritual lives. As I got older, that changed. Even though I was still committed to Jesus, I had other responsibilities. As my life season changed; my schedule changed, and so did my spiritual life. Frankly, I began to change. What once worked for me just didn’t work anymore.
I decided in order to keep my spiritual life healthy, I needed to do some things differently. I started a new routine of getting up early and spending time alone in prayer. I also began to open God’s Word and read it daily in my backyard, under the trees. It’s under those trees that I sometimes think back on that family road trip.
The point of the trip wasn’t seeing America or visiting family (although we enjoyed all of that). The point of our road trip was to be together. And that’s the whole point of the Christian journey—to cultivate a real, lasting relationship with the Creator of the universe.
Switch up the place where you spend time with God. Take to the outdoors, and spend time praying while you enjoy God’s creation, or take your Bible to your favorite local coffee shop.
How can you mix up your routine with your family so that you all can keep your spiritual lives healthy and exciting?
Family Camp Activities Pack
Gratitude Jar. Every day this month, have each member of your family write down one thing they’re thankful for and put them in a jar. At the end of the month, pull out all the items. Read them together as a family and spend a few minutes in prayer, thanking God for the blessing he gave you over the month.
Family Walk. After dinner each night, go on a short walk around your neighborhood. Have everyone in your family share one high, one low, and one lesson from the day.
Verse of The Day. Read the K-LOVE verse of the day together and pray it over the family as you start your day.
Family devotional. Pick up an age-appropriate devotional for your family and spend a few minutes reading it together at the start or end of your day.
Game night. Have each member of the family take turns picking a favorite board/card game one night a week. Turn off your devices and spend time together playing that game as a family.
Movie night. Have each member of the family pick their favorite family-friendly movie and schedule one night a week to watch each movie.
Act of Kindness. Pick one person or family to do an act of kindness for. Put together a small gift (i.e. plate of cookies, encouraging notes, meal, etc.) and drop it off to them as a way of encouraging them.
Cook a meal together. Make a list of everyone’s favorite meals and rotate making each other’s favorite meals together.
Read a book together. Go to your local library and pick a book to read each night together.
Visit a new place in your area. Look up some activities/places in your community that you’ve never been to/done and schedule time to give them a try.
Prayer walk around your neighborhood. Go for a walk around your neighborhood and take turns praying for your neighbors.
Make a time capsule. Grab a box and fill it with pictures, notes, and other items from this season in your life. Bury it in your backyard and put a reminder in your calendar to dig it up and go through the contents 1-10 years from now.
Build something together. Buy a model, puzzle, Lego set, etc. and spend time putting it together as a family.
Start a family notebook. Print up pictures and make a family notebook of highlights from the last few years. You could also make a slideshow or a digital scrapbook.
Go on a picnic. Find a park in your area. Make a simple meal and have it at the park. Bring a ball and some other sports equipment to play together after you eat.
Painted Rock Adventure.Gather enough palm sized, flat rocks for everyone to have 3 of their own. Paint them bright colors, write encouraging verses on them, then go on a walk and distribute them for others to find.
Thank You Notes for Church Leaders. Write a family Thank You note for your pastor/staff at church. Take some time as a family and think about what services, events, or programs have made the deepest impact on you all individually and as a family. Let everyone have an opportunity to write something about it on the card.
Family Service Coupon Jar.Take turns writing on slips of paper things you like to do for each other. Fold them in half and put them in a jar or bowl. Once a day, take turns removing a slip, and then enjoy serving each other. Pray that God would grow that family member in this gifting.
Shut in Birthday Cards.Write up several birthday cards (leaving the name blank) for every month of the year for a local nursing home. Include drawings from the kids of a cake, your family, or even let the kids draw their favorite animals. Bring them to the nursing home and ask them to distribute them to residents who have little to no family on their birthday.
Waiting Room Treats. Put together a basket of treats to place in the ICU, Labor & Delivery, or Oncology waiting rooms in a local hospital. Write on printer labels letting people know you’re praying for them. Put KLOVE/AIR1’s phone number on there as an invitation if they need to talk to someone.
Family Legacy Night. Take 1-2 nights each month to tell stories of where your family came from, share stories about relatives who came before you, and think about what you want to be remembered for by those who come after you.
Local Ministry Thank You. Find a local ministry (Food Bank, Right to Life Center, Clothes Closet, etc.) and bring them a card, with a selection of treats. Thank them for loving people well in Jesus’ name, and offer to pray for them, too.
Meet Your Neighbors. Make a drawing of your street, building, or surrounding dwellings. As a family make a point of learning who lives in 2 homes, apartments, or residences per month, and ask if you can pray for them in person, or if there’s a specific need that your family can pray over from home. Consider taking treats for these encounters.
Help an elderly neighbor. If there’s an elderly neighbor who could use some help in their yard, make a plan for offering that help. Go pray for them and do an act of service for them as a family.
Family Sabbath Day. Choose a day where no one makes any plans. Make sure all chores are done, prepare meals in advance, and lay out a day for just enjoying each other’s company at home. Take naps, share a fun movie, play a board game, and make memories. End the day in praise to God for His saving work in Jesus Christ, your appreciation for one another, and share how you see God working in each person.