The Bear Necessities – Alisha Ostby

You may be familiar with the Disney children’s movie based on the classic novel ” The Jungle Book”. Written by Kipling in 1894, the whimsical songs and care-free characters made this story one of my childhood favorites. I was surprised when I heard someone singing a song from it the other day on a campout with a group summer INNterns. 

As we were walking though underbrush, carrying on our backs just enough for the three-day trek, I heard the familiar lyrics “look for the bear necessities, the simple bear necessities”. A thought came to mind: Could there be a relevant message behind this song? What are the real necessities of life? 

I moved to North Carolina about a year ago, and since living here I was surprised and exited to discover that The Inn is located in the epicenter of outdoor activity and fun!  In fact we are located only 15 minutes away from the closest intersection to the famous Appalachian Trail! I have had outdoor adventures of all kinds since moving here including backing packing, rappelling, rafting, high ropes, creek walks, cliff diving and camping. Universally, camping is the most popular activity. I have begun to wonder what it is about the camping experience that is so appealing to us.  What motivates a family to pack up everything and disappear for a week, or month, and leave civilization and responsibilities behind? Could it be the mystery of the vast wilderness? Is it the craving so many of us share for adventure? 

I have come to the conclusion that deep down, everyone longs for simplicity – for a place to remember what we’re made of, what we’re capable of. We want the truth exposed about what we really need to survive. Apart from food and shelter there is really not much else we physically need to live, even though typical societal values would like for us to think otherwise. 

Corrie ten Boom’s story has always fascinated me. What I have found so intriguing about her is not only the love she had for the Jewish people, but her willingness to praise God during extreme trials. Her security was so deeply rooted in the Lord that when World War II hit and Nazi Germany stripped her of everything she had, she still remained faithful to God. She invested all she had in the kingdom where, “moth and rust cannot destroy” (Matt. 6:19).  She had built her house upon the rock. He was all she had.

Corey was spiritually secure. She was prepared in her situation, but for some of us it takes God brining us “camping” before we understand our need for Him. Sometimes the Lord will carry us to a place of scarcity in our lives, and eventually, out of desperation, we hear ourselves crying out, “Abba, Father”. This is not out of cruelty. He wants us to need Him, to reach out for Him. I believe it is time that we begin to pursue His presence like it is the air we breathe, the food we eat, our only “bear necessity”. It is in this pursuit that we will find total fulfillment.  The spirit of independence only leads to death. We must turn back to the Creator of life and accept His satisfying, everlasting bread. His presence is truly all we need.

-Alisha Ostby

Alisha has been a part of CTCI for several years, formerly as a participant in the Heroes INNcounter weeks, and also as an INNsight Semester participant. She is currently a part of year-long INNsight phase 2 program. A gifted writer and artist, she enjoys drawing photography, videography, collaging, and many other art forms. She also thoroughly enjoys experiencing other cultures, in part due to her upbringing on the Indonesian mission field.

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