Wide Eyed Traveler

Today, I write this by an open window as the mountain breeze blows my hair and tickles my face.

The mountains of Constanza are the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen. Stretching high around me on all sides, these mountains are green and rolling, ever changing with the light and often mysteriously clothed in an eerie fog. 

These mountains scream of the goodness of a God who calls us to crazy adventure and who created beautiful places for us to explore. 

So many moments of this adventure have been surreal. 

The moments when I have belly laughed with a child, swam in a waterfall, worshiped my God in a different language, traveled in a bus across a country, hung laundry as chickens hurried past, ran into the blue oceans of Sosua, shared my testimony in spanish, climbed a mountain here in Constanza, and had my heart broken by the poverty that exists in our world.

These are the moments which cause me to look back and marvel at the greatness of our God and the stories He invites us into…if we are willing to step into them. 

If you would have told me one year ago I would be sitting in the Dominican Republic writing an article for my own blog, I would have stared at you in disbelief. 

I recently came across a paragraph I had written in my journal a while back: 

I am worn down and worn out and tired of having to do things.
I want to live-not just strive and work my life away.
I’m bogged down with distractions and my own failings.

I just want to live. 
I want to live the life Christ describes for me - whole, fulfilling, attune to Him.”

I was a teen who was a born dreamer. 
I had dreamt of the life I wanted to live.

But I was living a life of striving, of doing, and of accomplishing.
I was crossing things off my to do list, but I wasn’t really living.

It wasn’t my job, or my family, or my responsibilities preventing me from living this life. 
It was me.

I wanted a life that was beautiful and full.
A life lived in freedom and whimsy. 
A life of laughter and working my butt off for the Kingdom of God. 
I didn’t know what this life looked like…but I knew I wasn’t living it.

One night, it hit me, as I yelled in frustration, “I only have one life to live, and I want to actually LIVE it!” 

That was it. 
That was the emptiness I felt. 

I was doing everything right. 

I had a perfect, safe, little routine. 
But my heart yearned for more. 

God had made me a dreamer AND a doer. 
But I was letting my dreams grow dusty in a corner as I convinced myself in the future, when I was older, I would be established enough to pursue the big dreams God had given me. 

One day, God drew me into His presence and helped me to be still long enough to hear His vision for my life. 

Only a month later from that first journal entry, I drove my stake in the ground. 

Looking back, I laugh at the tiny vision I had then and the huge dreams God has revealed to me since that moment. 

Here is what I wrote: 
“God-You don't say to carry a heavy yoke on my shoulders. Because You carry it for me! Hallelujah! What a Savior- I am free indeed! 
Because of You I can walk in freedom. 
You call us to abundant life.
And this is the only chance I get at a life on this earth. 
So you know what I’m going to do?
I’m going to live free.”

This was my declaration. 
This was the day I decided I was tired of just doing life.
I was ready to LIVE my life. 

At that moment, I had absolutely NO idea what this life would look like. 
I just knew I wanted it.

I had no idea the next chapter of my life would be full of so much risk, whimsy, challenge, discovery, exploration, travel and adventure. 
I had no idea I would start Generation Distinct. 
I had no idea I would quit my paying job to devote myself to my dream. 
I had no idea I would spend a month traveling around the beautiful country of the Dominican Republic.
And I have no idea what is next. 

Our God is so amazing. 

He is so good and merciful and fun and exciting and unsafe and loving. 
He is unpredictable, and yet He is unchanging. 
He calls us to a great adventure, but He doesn’t force us into it. 

We can stay safe, and cozy in our nominal lives.
But what if God has called us to something greater?

hen you say yes to this adventure, your life won’t change overnight. 
At least, mine didn’t.  

But as I sit here in the shadows of the beautiful mountains of the Dominican Republic and I reflect back, I am blown away with the story God has written in my life simply because I told Him I was willing. 

I have learned our God is a God of movement, not normality; of energy, not boredom; of relationship, not religion; of adventure, not mediocrity. 

God has made me a 20 year old, wide-eyed explorer who is pursuing her dreams and refuses to stop. 
This is not because I am great, but only because I serve a great God. 
Praise be to God. 

TravelAlex Heidner