Are you ready for the hike?
The definition of the word adventure is a “bold and daring feat.” I believe that EC is a bold and daring feat. It isn’t normal for people age 18-24, to go after God like you do in EC. Many people lose sight of God in these years. EC is quite the adventure, but it’s unforgettable and worth it. But before you go on an adventure you need to know a few things. So here’s my Official EC Adventure Guide:
1. GET HYPE!
Build up an adventurous spirit, and get excited for what is ahead. The thing about adventures is that you never know exactly what to expect. Come expecting God to do great things and for your life to be changed. God has so much for you this year and I can’t wait to see Him fulfill that in each and every single one of your lives.
2. Pack Your Bags
When you go on an adventure, you have to pack and you want to pack right. You can’t take everything, don’t pack the kitchen sink and then some. It might be your first time moving or maybe you’ve moved out before. When packing for EC, start packing early and bring the essentials. The EC packing list is a great place to start! Start using this summer to think and see what you use, what you wear, etc. on a regular basis. You can bring more later come “Snowpocalypse 2015/2016.”
3. Start Training Now
Going on hikes when you’re out of shape is exhausting! I went hiking in Washington once and although I am a runner, I wasn’t prepared for all hikes. When you are out of shape, you’ll find yourself stopping and taking breaths quite often while everyone else in the group moves forward. You’ll still get to the final point, it just takes more time.
Don’t wait until August to get ready for EC. Don’t wait till August to grow with God. EC STARTS NOW! No matter what EC will be awesome, but I wish that I had spent more time before I began EC growing closer to God instead of waiting until I was actually in EC to start that growth. Looking back, I realize I could have grown so much more and could have already been chasing after what God had in store for me over the summer. Utilize this summer before EC and embrace it to the fullest. This is your summer to train and jumpstart your way into EC!
What can that look like? Start by getting into the Bible, praying, putting on some worship, getting to church, reading spiritual growth/development books, as well as listening to messages or devos. Fill yourself up spiritually. How much farther can you go and how much more can God work in your life if you start now? Training isn’t always easy, but trust me, like in any sport or on any hike, you’ll glad to be in shape when the season starts.
4. Don’t Forget Water
No one wants to be hiking with an empty water bottle much less no water bottle. Dehydration is dangerous, but the Word of God is living water. Begin a daily habit of reading and meditating on the Word by yourself. It takes 21 days to build a habit. Personally, I don’t always know where to begin when I read the Word, so if you aren’t sure, start 1 and 2 Timothy as well as John and James. Proverbs has a lot of nuggets of wisdom. I found the Bible app has good plans as well that get me into the Word, even when I don’t know what to read.
5. Bring a Map
I believe to go on an adventure you need a map. In Habakkuk 2:2 it says to “write the vision and make it plain...” Although at the start of EC, you’ll write your own vision for the year, there is no better time to have a vision than for the summer as well as the EC year! Talk to God, ask Him what he has on your map. Where does he want to give you victory in your life? What struggles are you trying to conquer? Where do you see yourself in a year? Where do you want to be? Write a vision for your summer and how you will get yourself into EC strong. When you have a map you know where you are going and you know how you will get there. If you don’t have a map, you might just be wandering hoping to be going in the right direction.
6. Bring A Journal
Can I get real for a second? I literally never wanted to journal, because I thought it was some weird “Dear Diary” thing where I had to share my feelings and all of that, but I’ve learned it’s not at all like that. Journaling is like taking a picture, but with words. Journaling captures where you are and you are able to look back at where you have been and write down where you want to go. Capture the moments and things you do throughout the journey. You’ll want to keep track of what happens in your life and what God does in and through you. Start it now before you even start EC. Journaling helped me release and work through the questions I had about what EC would be like, as well as my nerves, fears, and anxieties about the upcoming year. I know now, I enjoy looking back and reading my pre-EC journals, what I thought EC would be like, my own excitement, what I was nervous and anxious about, my fears, and just every little thing. Reflecting back on my first year and seeing those journals, I’ve found it’s amazing to see where I grew and where I am still growing. It’s awesome to see yourself be challenged and stretched, making it through things that really test you. But having that journal can also get you through times where you are stretched and can remember the reason why you are doing what you are, and remind yourself of the things God has done and is still doing. Keep a journal handy. There will be things you’ll want to write down.
7. Take in the View
There’s nothing wrong with taking in breathtaking views. Along the path of EC, you’ll find you are so often traveling with people that you don’t always get time alone. Make time that you get alone with God, it’s very beneficial to your spiritual growth to be in a non-corporate setting and to just get away and lean into God. Look at where you are, where you can go from here, and where you want to be. Reflect upon your life and what God is doing.
8. Jump In The Lake, Have a Snowball Fight, Penguin Slide on a Glacier
A few years ago I traveled out West to Washington and hiked. I went on a couple of hikes where the group I went with just got a chance to let loose and take a break from the hard work of the hike. One day we swam in a glacier fed lake that was ice cold, yet so refreshing. We had a snowball fight on another mountain. Later on in that hike, some people also penguin slid on a glacier. Why? I guess because YOLO. (Is that phrase dead yet?)
EC, is a discipleship program full of spiritual growth, but another huge piece of EC is building relationships within the EC family. You make lifelong friends that support you in all of life. Sometimes you need to take a break from the hike and let loose with the people you are hiking with. It is refreshing to get times to relax, spend time with people and just have fun. I could tell you stories of late night food runs, EC snowdays, glowstick soccer, and more. One specific time, some of the EC guys showed up to my condo and wanted to go a nearby park with my housemates. Although we had school, wanted sleep, and were tired, we went anyways and had a blast. The past couple years there’s been a phrase going around EC that I use to justify any of these moments, “You can sleep when you’re dead!” (soon, you’ll be saying that phrase too!) You might be a little tired, but you won’t regret the time you spent and memories made.
I am so excited that you bold and daring world changers are embarking on this adventure and I can’t wait to meet y’all, hit the trails, and climb mountains together!
Happy Adventuring! See y’all in August,
Incoming 2nd Year Student