What do you think of when you think about becoming the best version of yourself?
Maybe you consider the goals you want to accomplish or the hurdles you want to overcome. Or maybe you think about the relationships in your life, whether it’s at work or at home.
It might sound odd at first, but you might also think about the experiences and encounters outside of yourself. The ones that change the way you live and think and give you a new perspective on who you are. One of those ways that can have a startling impact on your life and who you are is pilgrimage.
Getting Outside of Yourself
There’s an interesting paradox at work whenever we grow. As we lose ourselves in God’s bigger picture, we find that we actually become more fully who we really are (the best version of ourselves). We find that we see more clearly how we fit into the life God has given us and the people around us. We see that we have a specific role in the story God himself is narrating.
Pilgrimage is not the only way to gain this perspective, but it is a unique and powerful journey that has a special ability to bring us into the bigger picture of God’s work in the world.
Part of the reason you are pulled into the larger story on a pilgrimage is that you have the opportunity to literally stand in the spaces where God has impacted humanity the most. You can touch the rock where Jesus died at Calvary. You can walk the same dirt path in Spain that pilgrims have walked for centuries. You can take part in the perpetual adoration that has been happening at the Sacré-Cœur in Paris since 1885. These are powerful, physical reminders of God’s great story.
Another part of this perspective shift is that pilgrimage is a special opportunity to be removed from your own microcosm, even if just for a few days. It’s a chance to pray, build fellowship, and worship in a space designed to heighten your awareness of the spiritual. It’s why many pilgrims discover that they gain a new sense of what God is calling them to do, whether it’s a relationship, a career, or difficulty they’re facing.
One Pilgrim’s Experience
This is just one pilgrim’s experience of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with Verso. But it beautifully illustrates the profound change a pilgrimage can have. In Shannon’s own words:
Before coming on this trip, I knew I needed to be rejuvenated — to be made new. I had hoped that visiting the place where the infant Jesus came to life would do that for me and it absolutely did. Going [to the Church of the Nativity], praying, and hearing all the different people sing their traditional songs in their own language was just so beautiful. It gave me new life that I can take back home with me.
One of the ways that God spoke to me the most was eating the food that he ate, walking the roads that he walked, and being in the places he has been. It has reminded me of how simple ministry can be. It’s reminding me that I don’t need to overthink it, and that Christianity is simply, sometimes just eating with people, and being with them and walking with them.
I came on this trip unprepared, broken and in need of being rejuvenated. I arrived here not knowing what to expect but hoping God would do something big in my life. I feel like I have just been rejuvenated. I have been made aware of how real Christ is.
As a ministry leader I know Christ is alive. I know that. I teach people that. But being able to walk where he has walked, and pray where he has prayed, has just totally rejuvenated my faith life, which has made it new, and has given me a new awareness. And it’s also taught me a new way to teach others about Christ and who he was and how he did every day, and how he loved people well.
See For Yourself
Every pilgrimage offers a different glimpse into God’s world and who he is. And each one will offer you a new perspective on who you are, too. If you’re interested in exploring Verso’s pilgrimages, discover our many departures. Our pilgrimages are holistic, well-paced, and with plenty of room for contemplation, all so you can discover what God has in store for you. Whatever that is, can only move you towards becoming the best version of yourself.