So, I went to Bali...
“Traveling is a beautiful, twisted mystery. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all the familiar comforts of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things. -air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky. -all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.”
Hey fam! As you may have seen via my Instagram page I recently took an amazing trip to Bali, Indonesia. I traveled there with the Brave by Faith organization, founded by my dear friend Juliette Bush (check out these Instagram pages to see how you can travel the world with them! @julestheexplorer and @bravebyfaith.travel).
To say the trip was life-changing would be an understatement. Not only did I explore a different country, I was able to do so with other women of God with a similar end goal-
to draw closer to Jesus and experience Him in a different way, in a different place with new sisters in Christ.
As with everything, I always try and assess what I learned while traveling and how I can apply those lessons in my everyday life moving forward.
Yes, the trip was loads of fun. Yes, I tried new things and met new people.
No, I did not come back the same.
What sparked the change? ...I’m glad you asked :-)
Below I share the Top 3 things that I learned while in Bali that helped to grow and change me for the better!!
#1- There is BEAUTY IN EVERYTHING. You have to slow down and look up to catch it though.
In a world where most of us are attached to our phones (physically and emotionally) it can be easy to miss the beauty and stillness of a moment when we’re consumed with trying to capture it digitally. I am so guilty of this (as you can see I have TONS of photos/videos- lol) but there were times during this trip that I felt the urge to put my phone down, look up and just be...
On one of the days we visited an immaculate waterfall (pics attached!) and I’m not going to lie- the hike to get there had me questioning if what we were going to see was worth all of the walking and sweating (outdoorsy is not a word I’d ever use to describe myself).
But, honey! When I tell you it was more than I could’ve imagined!?!
In that moment I, of course, got a few photos but I quickly felt the urge to put my phone away.
When I did, it seemed as though my senses hightened. The awareness of what I was seeing in that moment gave me chills.
Here we were standing in a literal underground CAVE watching water race into the opening. The sounds, the breeze, the sun peeking in on us from above- magical and mystique are the words that come to mind when reflecting on that moment.
Being in the presence of a waterfall is an obvious way to “find the beauty” in your surroundings but even during the more simpler parts of the trip I was challenged to put my phone down sometimes and just take in what and who I was around.
I found beauty in just listening to my sisters talk and laugh at dinner (yes, sisters- we became family during that adventurous trip, lol).
I found beauty in watching the locals show us their native dances.
I found beauty (and joy) worshipping Jesus on Resurrection Day in a foreign country where I didn’t know the language.
It’s more than just putting your phone down for awhile- it’s positioning your heart and mind. It’s decluttering your mind from any to-do list. It’s freeing your heart from distractions of the past or worry over your future. It is being absolutely and wholeheartedly present and receiving whatever it is God wants you to have in that moment.
Even in the not so glamorous parts of traveling (and life), are you slowing down to even take in the beauty and good of what is happening?
#2- Breaking out of COMFORT ZONES.
Whenever it’s time to travel there’s a level of preparation that goes into it. Financially, of course, we have to plan; activities and events are planned, etc. But there is an element of spontaniety that always meets me wherever I go. And this trip was no different.
From meeting random, genuinely kind people in the airport, to petting monkeys and riding elephants, to trying new foods and having deep conversations with complete strangers- none of those things could’ve taken place if I wasn’t willing to get uncomfortable. If I had made up in my mind, I’m only going to do what makes me comfortable- I would have missed out on soooo many blessings during that trip.
Side note- It scares me to think about what we’re potentially rejecting in life because of comfortability.
It really boils down to- What did God tell me to do?
Rarely is there a time that I can recall in my own life that God has told me to do something that required me to remain in my comfort zone. In fact, it’s usually the complete opposite. Things He leads me to do feel like they’re wayyyy out of reach because it makes me so uncomfortable. But what if, obedience in stepping out of that little bubble of comfort is exactly what we need in order to go deeper in our relationship with Him and grow more in our calling?
During our trip, the lodging was super outdoorsy (literally) and one of the sleeping options was a treehouse. Yes, you read that correctly- there was a beautiful huge TREEHOUSE right smack dab in the middle of this, what seemed to be, rainforest we were staying in. One of the girls on the trip and now my dear friend, stayed there every night. When asked if she was afraid of being outside or why was she staying, she simply replied, “...God told me to stay out here, so I am.” She even went on to share about how keen she was to the Holy Spirit while being outdoors and how clearly she was able to hear His voice.
That was just one of MANY examples during the trip of someone stepping outside of their comfort zone out of sheer obedience to Christ.
Praying for people (with others on the trip and total strangers), swinging over a jungle, tasting food we couldn’t pronounce, opening up to someone and sharing a testimony, getting dressed up and taking tons of photos, etc.
God speaks to everyone differently. Your comfort zone may look very different from my comfort zone. The comfortability He tells you to step out of may look very different from the comfortability He tells me to step out of. And that is OK! What matters is that whatever He is
Telling us to do- we’re obedient in that….no matter how uncomfortable it may make us feel.
Before coming on this trip, I had a few family members and coworkers look at me like I was crazy. Not only did their face disagree with me going, their words were just as telling.
“What if something happens to you?”, “What if you get sick?”, “What if the plane crashes?”, “What if Balinese people don’t like Americans?”
After they finished playing the What If game with themselves and stopped talking- I simply replied, “Exactly. What if...”
I had already consulted God and made up in my mind that I was going. I chose to flip the what ifs and remain positive- “What if I have an amazing time?”, “What if I love the food and end up with a Balinese recipe book to take home?”, “What if Bali and its people are absolutely beautiful inside and out and they open their homes to me?”, “What if I’m invited to a local’s home to dance and dress up as a princess for a day?”
Get comfortable being uncomfortable and do what God is telling you to do. Go where He is telling you to go!
“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31: 8
#3- SISTERHOOD will change your life.
One of the biggest takeaways from this entire trip was the new relationships I was able to form! It is so powerful and humbling to be around like-minded, strong women who are chasing after God while also traveling the world and being fabulous as they do it! I was immensely inspired and/or challenged by every woman that was on the trip.
I’ve always known it but I’m realizing now more than ever how important it is to assess the company you’re keeping.
Are your friends building you up in Christ? Are they pouring into and speaking well over your life and future? Are they challenging and correcting you with love when needed? Are they adding anything or just taking? Only you can honestly assess and answer those questions.
You may have been hurt in the past by women in your life. I have been there and I’m still sorting through some of those disappointments emotionally. But please don’t forsake the power of being in community with other women who are believers as well. Y’all may not have it all figured out but together you can edify one another and learn together as you go. You help each-other in blind spots. You cover and protect each-other. You correct each-other. You LOVE AND SUPPORT one another. It’s a beautiful thing. I’ve known this truth for awhile but this trip just reiterated the importance of being surrounded by godly community, especially sisters in Christ who can reach back and help pull me up when I need it- and vice versa.
Throughout the whole trip, we hyped each-other up while taking photos, encouraged one another to try a new food or juice during meals, pushed each-other to stay up a little later so we could have bible studies or just talk about life… all of it was needed and it was so refreshing to experience that with women.
Yes, the world will compliment you and sing your praises sometimes. Yes, the guy you’re dating probably dotes over how beautiful and kind you are, yes your parents love you and tell you how great of a job you’re doing- all of that is cool and needed, I am here for it. However, there’s just something about a sister in Christ complimenting and uplifting you that hits a little different. A sister in Christ that you’re walking through life with that can see the good and call you out on the ugly. There’s just something different about having her support and I felt so fortunate to receive that from all the lovely ladies that traveled to Bali that week.
So, I’ll leave you with a few questions to think about for your own life but before I go, I highlyyy recommend “Brave By Faith” trips. My friend Jules started these travel groups out of obedience to God and she has encouraged me ten fold to live by faith as well- not by her words but by the way she lives her life! I’ve attached her social media links and her website in this blog- she’s traveling a ton of places this year so check it out and register to reserve your spot!
Where is God telling you to go?
He may not be telling you to go to Bali or any physical place for that matter but what if He’s calling you to a place spiritually? Will you quiet your mind and heart long enough to hear what He has to say about what’s next for you?
Cheers to becoming more intentional about being present in whatever moment we’re in, stepping outside of our comfort zones and surrounding ourselves with godly community that will add to our lives and build us up.
Another cheers to traveling more and racking up skymiles and amazing experiences!