Pack the armor

I learned many lessons on our recent camping trip. Isn’t it interesting how lessons are best learned when we are uncomfortable?

As I was packing for this camping trip, I made two mistakes that I immediately regretted upon arriving at the campsite.

Mistake #1: I didn’t make a list of needed supplies like I usually do. I know, I know, I’m a list maker. But I’ve been camping eleventy hundred times and since just two of us were camping for two nights, I felt like I could simply wing it. Well, winging it gave me problems from the get-go.

The minute I hopped out of the truck at the campsite, I knew I was in trouble. I felt the chill of the cooler mountain air on my bare arms. How could there be such a temperature change between home and this higher altitude?

My lack of list-making also affected our menu when a few forgotten ingredients made for some interesting meals combinations. We weren’t counting calories on this trip, so I had no problems eating caramel apple cookie-flavored french toast for breakfast.

Mistake #2: I packed my duffle bag at home when the temperature was 75 degrees and I was wearing short sleeves. Even though I knew we would be camping during the few first cold nights of the season, I underestimated how cold it would be and packed a little lighter than I should have. By lighter, I mean thinner. As I climbed into my sleeping bag that night wearing all of the clothes I brought, I had big regrets. I laid awake most of the night with the covers over my head, thinking about all of the clothes I had left behind in the 4th drawer of my dresser. Long johns, wool socks, thermal shirts and pants, and knit hats and mittens. I’ve got a whole wardrobe of warm hiking and camping clothes, but they didn’t do me any good left behind in the 4th drawer. Temperatures in the low 40s and gusting winds of 50 mph laughed in the face of my yoga pants and flannel shirts – all of them.

You know, I’m also guilty of leaving spiritual things behind. God has given me a whole wardrobe of spiritual armor to put on but I tend to want to face battles in my own thinly woven short-sleeved shirt. No wonder I find myself with battle fatigue and injuries.

Why do I scramble around in the dark and panic while trying to put on all of my insufficient items when I could be standing firmly in prayer with the helmet of salvation, the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace, and the sword of the spirit, I really have no excuse to be ill-prepared for the storms that wage around me. God has given me everything I need. (See chapter 6 in Ephesians)

Hopefully I’ve learned my lesson and I’ll never spend another night in a cold tent while shivering and regretting the things I left behind.  More importantly, I hope to make full use of the spiritual armor The Lord has provided for me.  It needs to be with me.  On me.  Protecting me.