In May of 2018, God allowed me to visit Greece! To be able to spend 7 days in Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini was such a blessing. Even more of a blessing were the reminders and revelations God gave me while traveling. Sit back and relax as I recount and share moments with #GodInGreece!
1. Beauty is all around us. Just look up and around. I was amazed at how much art there was in Greece. Not only in the ancient monuments but also the street art (the paintings, the flowers, and even the graffiti). If you walked too quickly or blinked too long, you might have missed some of it. That’s why after Day 1 in Greece, I was sure to keep my eyes wide open and experience all the beauty that was around me. This same principle can be applied to our everyday lives. How often do we miss out on beauty in our life because we are going too fast? Or because our head is down? Seeing the beauty in simple everyday things is a definitely a choice. The question is will we slow down, be alert, and have the kind of open minds and hearts required to experience all the beauty that is around us.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end” — Ecclesiastes 3:11
2. Help ya’ sister out. Let me be very clear and say that I only knew 1 and ½ of the women that I went to Greece with (yes, 1 and 1/2 lol) One of the ladies is a childhood friend who also happens to be my Sorority Sister and Dentist and one of them I went to high school with but we were only casual acquaintances. So, I repeat, I knew only 1 and ½ of the women I went half way around the world with for 10 days. YIKES!
I was so excited about the trip to Greece that this huge fact (that I was traveling with mostly strangers) didn’t even hit me until the week before departure when someone asked “ so who else is going?”. *insert blank stare* ……. I mean, I knew their names because we had all been in a group text/chat planning the trip for months but aside from first names and general facial features, I just knew they all knew my childhood friend somehow. *insert shrug*
However, any anxiety I had about traveling with complete strangers quickly subsided after Day 1 in Athens, Greece. There were specific moments that stood out to me within Day 1 of the trip that led me to conclude that these were not a group of ordinary women and that we indeed would be “sisters” who had each other’s back: 1. ) when we all did headcounts as we boarded and unboarded planes, vans, Ubers, and taxis 2.) when we made sure we all had our passports, money, and phone by yelling “passport check” at random times while on the move 3.) when we all risked life and limb at the top of Acropolis to ensure each of us had some of the most amazing pictures 4.) how we all held each other’s hands as we slipped and slid all across marble and rocks at the top of said Acropolis. Yes, it’s safe to say that although they began as strangers to me, they quickly became my sisters.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! —– Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
3. Speaking of Acropolis……the beauty is worth the climb. It felt as though it was 99 degrees. Sweat was dripping down my back and the sun was literally right in my face saying “heeeeey girl! What’s up?”. My only thought was “get to the top of this hill Dana! Just get to the top!”. And I did…… Correction, we did! And oh how beautiful it was at the top. Reminds me of the effort we put into endeavors day to day. When we have faith in something and work hard at it, God can reward us for our faithfulness, obedience, and effort. The beauty will definitely be worth the climb. Keep going!
“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” — Isaiah 40:31
4. There’s beauty down below too. Not only was there beauty at the top of a climb in Athens, there was actually beauty at the bottom of a climb in Santorini. (see pics below). We went to a beach in which you literally had to climb down a treacherous slope (I may be slightly exaggerating lol) to get to the actual water. But it was sooooo gorgeous once you caught your breath and took in all the landscape at the bottom. It was just another reminder that there can be beauty not only on the hills….but also in the valleys. It’s all about perspective.
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” — Psalm 23:4
5. Strangers can give you the sweetest smiles. We knew no one in Greece when we went. Yet, it felt as though we knew everybody. How is that even possible? I will tell you how…..by their smiles. There’s something so beautiful about a smile from a stranger, a “Hi, how are you?”, or a “Have a nice trip” from people who know they will never see you again. It’s in these moments that you know that we are all intimately connected. That we all are from the same source (our Heavenly Father) and since we all are from the same Father, we as His children are all capable of the same love between us as He gives to us.
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. — Hebrews 13:12
Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.— Romans 15:7
6. There’s creativity in me because the Creator (God) is in me. I was one of those kids who got straight A’s in school. I was the smart one, the teacher’s pet lol. I loved learning and I loved applying what I learned to any and everything. The formula was simple…. Study to learn and get rewarded with good grades. This was enough internal satisfaction throughout childhood and adolescence. It was even enough throughout college and grad school. I was working toward something. I was working to make good grades to get a good job to make money to pay bills, blah blah blah blah blah.
And even though, I love my career and I am so blessed to be able to help people for a living, I must say that there have been times when I have felt something was missing……a void, a creative void to be more specific. See, even though I was the straight A student who could read and study and learn very well in class, I never felt creative. I couldn’t dance or sing, draw or paint, I couldn’t even play a sport (I’m so non-athletic! Smh). “Where is my creativity?”, I would sometimes ask God. Had I been born without the creative gene? Was I only supposed to be the one who was just good at following the rules and coloring inside the lines? I wanted to be creative too.
But just when I thought that I was meant to always stand in line and color in the lines, God revealed to me that I was born to stand out….. that I was creative and that I had been all along.
You see, we all are creative because we come from the CREATOR. Our Father, the ultimate Creator, is inside each of us. That’s kinda how genetics, DNA, etc. works, right? lol. We have inherited traits of God. Not only that but even traits that lay dormant, can be awakened by Him. He is almighty and all powerful.
So thank you God for giving me clarity in Greece! Clarity to see that myself and all of Your children are indeed creative and that we can create beautiful things because You our Father, the greatest Creator of them all, has instilled that into us. We just have to find out exactly how we can be creative and put our gifts to use for Your glory.
7. God is a Promise Keeper. You may be asking “What’s the big deal about Greece? Why does this woman keep going on and on about this place?” Well, Greece is a beautiful place and it was indeed a trip of a lifetime. However, this trip was less about the actual trip location and more about the trip confirmation. You see, traveling to Greece had been on my radar as a dream trip for many years. I would tell people about the blue dome top buildings and volcanoes and about how I wanted to see the REAL Parthenon (not just the one down the street from my house in Nashville, TN—which is also lovely but ehhh, not quite the same lol). I literally used to talk to God about Greece. So the fact that everything lined up perfectly and I was able to go is just another example of God being a Promise Keeper. I was so undeserving of this wonderful trip. Yes, I work hard but plenty of people work hard every day and never get to experience a trip such as what we experienced. In my mind, God decided to reward me for my faithfulness and my obedience and reward me for delighting myself in Him. He gave me one of the desires of my heart— He gave me Greece.
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.” — Deuteronomy 7:9
“Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” —Psalm 37:4
8. We are not on a journey TO God, but on a journey WITH God. I’ve said this many times since I returned from my trip and I will say it here again formally….
I DIDN’T NEED TO GO ALL THE WAY TO GREECE TO EXPERIENCE GOD.
I really didn’t. God is with us everyday and everywhere. He’s with us when we wake up in the morning, when we take the trash out, when we drive to work, when we walk our dogs, when we clock in and clock out of work, even late at night when we’re scrolling through Netflix trying to decide which TV show or movie to watch lol. He’s with us then and there too. God is everywhere and we have a choice every day, every hour, and every minute whether or not to acknowledge Him, see Him, hear Him, feel Him, and overall, experience Him.
So if you want to experience God in Greece, by all means, GO TO GREECE! But if you want to experience God period, just be still and open your heart and your mind. He is right there with you. Always has been. Always will be.
May your eyes, your head, and your spirit always be LIFTED.
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