“So when do you leave for your survival trip?”

I looked back at her blankly, searching my brain for an upcoming “survival trip”.  I came up empty.  “What survival trip?  I’m not sure what you’re talking about I guess.”

“Well, that’s how the kids described it to me.”

And then the bell rang.  “Oh! My trip to Canada!”  I had to chuckle.  Even though it will be a lot about survival, no doubt, I hadn’t given it that title.  But I’ve been employing all kinds of antics to make sure I do just that, survive.

I was invited on the trip with just five weeks to get ready.  Plenty of time to pack two changes of clothes, but not much time to physically prepare for 65 miles of paddling and numerous portages in the wilderness of Quetico Provincial Park.  So I get up in the morning and strap a pack on my back.  I come home at night and strap a pack on my back.  I do Wii with my pack.  I do my stairs with my pack.  I eat breakfast with my pack.  I really don’t like that pack a whole lot.  It’s filled with metal and water making it much heavier than I care to lift.  But as a friend told me, “You’d better get that thing on your back and get used to it, because once you get out there- you’re stuck with it!”

Then there’s the paddling part.  The 65 miles of paddling with little current to help.  That’s a lot of paddling.  I have an office job.  I’m not on a construction crew.  My arms are not conditioned for 65 miles of paddling….but I’m working on it.  Push ups, Wii activities with free weights, and kayaking on a tiny pond are a part of the routine.  I’ve been spending about an hour a day trying to make my muscles sore in hopes of decreasing the amount of soreness I have on the trip.

My favorite preparation activity so far is probably the time I spend with my personal trainer.  Yep, I’ve got a trainer.  We work together in the pool.  I hold a weight on my back in the waist-deep pool and walk/ jog around the perimeter.  She counts my laps in the circular pool and cheers me on.  I go one direction for five laps, then turn and try to push against the current as fast as I can.  Within five laps a new current has been established and it’s time to turn again. My trainer is with me every step. She’s my seven-year old niece and is just the right weight to play the part of backpack.  The only payment she requires for doing me the favor is that I spend a few minutes observing her “Look-what-I-can-do” routine.  Pretty nice trade.

I know this trip is probably going to be the most physically challenging thing I’ve ever done.  I’m taking it seriously.  I want to be ready.

What about the battle for my soul?  What about the spiritual challenge of my life?  Am I taking that seriously?  Am I preparing for that as if my survival depended on it?

“Deal truly with your own soul. Be as earnest, as persistent, as you would be if your mortal life were at stake. This is a matter to be settled between God and your own soul, settled for eternity.”  Steps to Christ, Chapter 3, EGW.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  Ephesians 6:12 NIV

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