When the words “peace” and “relaxation” come to mind, everyone has their own definition – some think of eating breakfast in Paris, and some think of sipping a cup of hot chocolate on a stormy winter’s day.

The “Shore”

A week ago, I’d say that I’m a Paris kind of person, and that I’d rather be in Paris than anywhere else.  But after my trip to Wisconsin during fall break, my views changed completely.

Our adventure started on Friday night when we drove one hour from campus to attend the Chris Tomlin concert at Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois.  As a frequent “concert attender”, my verdict after this concert is:  everyone needs to attend at least one Chris Tomlin concert in their lifetime.

One of my friends told me that they once dragged another friend who rejected God entirely to one of Tomlin’s concerts, and by the end of the concert they were completely transformed and started listening to what my friend had to say about the gospel.  That really goes to show how powerful God can be, working through Tomlin’s concerts.

Nonetheless, for me, it was truly one of the best times on “God’s great dance floor”.  It was a party!

On Saturday morning, bright and early, my friends and I hopped into the minivan, blaring and singing along to the Chris Tomlin concert DVD as we crossed the border of Illinois to Wisconsin.  As a group of people who love road trips, we made sure to pack the right things to stay happy on the road.  We couldn’t contain our excitement as we said goodbye to the Chicagoland suburbs and drove into the beautiful plains of countryside Wisconsin.  The car windows were filled with greens and blues as we occasionally passed by red barns with cows and horses–a rare sight for the modern urban millennial.

After two and a half hours on the bumpy ride, we finally reached Devil’s Lake State Park.  Before arriving we were a little skeptical about the venue.  Was it a lake, a park, or a lake and a park?

Looking around as we pulled into the parking lot, we saw a mountain and a lake – both ridiculously scenic and beautiful.  My Californian friends were going crazy because after months of being in “flat-land Illinois”, they finally get to see a shore and a mountain of some sort.

Beautiful scenery: 30 minutes of hiking

After taking about a million of pictures at the “shore,”we hiked up the mountain for about half an hour and came to this scene (picture on left).

Getting back down from the mountain took us twice as long to get back onto flat land than going up to the top.  We accidentally followed the group before us onto a difficult trail (by difficult I mean almost-rock-climbing-without-gear kind of difficult) and got lost in the middle of it all.

Better yet, it started pouring rain.

Thankfully we were prepared with appropriate apparel and happy hearts as we sang Chris Tomlin songs through the rain.  Two and a half hours later we finally got off the mountain, and since then I haven’t been more thankful for flat, walkable land.

Nature is where it all began.  It’s important to remind ourselves every now and then how simple life is supposed to be.

Since we’re so caught up with our lives in school and work, it’s easy to forget why we were here in the first place.  God placed us here for a reason, and being out in the wild, the original version of His creation, can help us refocus ourselves to our missions here on Earth.

Ever since God created the universe, everything on Earth has been changed from their original form by humankind except for nature.  Nature is in the same exact form it was created years and years ago, one of the only things that mankind has not (completely) destroyed.

The Chris Tomlin concert on Friday in addition to this hike made my Fall break a time of revitalization.  Coming back to the wilderness where everything is simply beautiful has cleared my mind and refreshed my soul before returning to the chaos of modern life.

By the end of our vacation I was re-focused to God, and I was reminded by Him that the purpose behind everything I’m currently doing today is for Him and to honor Him.  In the future, instead of nibbling away at scones and sipping tea in London, my kind of relaxation will be a time of peace with the nature God has provided us.

Meanwhile, enjoy the following pictures of God’s creation in Wisconsin. Who knew one could encounter the living God at Devil’s Lake?

Mirror Image at Devil’s Lake
My friend Kaley while hiking
My best friend Beth while hiking
My friend Beth while hiking
Beautiful Fall colors
Thankful for flat land!
How often do you get to see this?