Thoughts of Mine

by: AJ Abshire

I recently moved to Seattle, Washington, from Lafayette, Louisiana. Before the move, I had multiple opportunities to travel to other areas of the country and world.

I’ve been moving around for some time now and I can’t help but write about a few things I’ve learned thus far.

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Movement is intelligence.

While there are a multitude of areas in the world that I have still not visited, I’ve noticed that the more I travel and drown myself in the overwhelming culture shock, the more I truly understand about those particular cultures and areas of the world.

There are some things a person can never learn through textbooks: language terms, personality types and interactions, common cuisine preferences, etc. The more I travel the more I understand that the world is so much bigger than I am. In the vastness, I realize it doesn’t need me; I can’t do anything for this world. It needs Jesus.

In the future, I’d like to share things that I’ve learned about life through my movements on this earth. I like to think I gain a lot of valuable perspective while on the road so much.

Building community is really hard for most people.

There are multitudes of relocated people out there who have come from another social position or culture, like myself, and all of it changes in an instant. In a post-college setting, there are no longer events that bring strangers together, at least not really the kinds that I would want to go to.

So there are other ways, like social media, but the issue is that people tend to use it as a wall, hiding who they truly are and preventing anyone from developing an actual vulnerable relationship – the kind where people share their passions and desires about life. And love. And everything else brothers talk about. I don’t know about you, but I need brothers – people to hold me accountable with standards and values similar to mine. Specifically? Christians – the “weird ones” who live it out.

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If things make you happy, that’s really sad.

Brussels. When I went to Brussels this past summer I experienced something that I never thought I would – an airline strike. The goal was to go to Brussels on behalf of a ministry here in the U.S., while encouraging and interacting with college students at the local university campuses. What none of us expected was that our luggage would be stuck in the airport the entire two weeks of the trip. With just our carry-on bags, we roughed the streets of Brussels and Paris as best we could. Initially, it was hard: one change of clothes, one pair of shoes, toothbrush/paste and a phone. We all thought our lives were over – as most Americans would. Funny thing is, by the end of our journey, none of us needed or even noticed that we were without. The necessary items to fulfill our daily tasks were always minimal and our value was much greater for those things in which we actually possessed.

Naturally, like most things, this got me thinking.

Shortly before I moved, I gave away close to 90% of my possessions. When I left for Washington I had: my vehicle, my guitar, a couple bags (clothes and electronics) and a bicycle. The downsizing of quantity is absolutely what cleared the room for me to see a bigger picture of what should be valued in life. We should value people, our relationships – necessities like food, water, shelter, etc (considering many people in the world still don’t have some of these).

The things people hold as value are normally things we could all live without. The world needs to step away from consumerism and realize that there’s something so much greater than that fashion statement or social status. There are people who want to be loved – inspired – shown that there is something so much greater than all of us. False hope in product and glam lifestyle is not how to reach them. It’s Jesus.