Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Are we there yet?

The other day, in an exchange of Myspace messages with a friend, Teresa ("His Joy"), I received the following message that included the following paragraph:
"I have figured out in my own life that just seems to be how it goes...waiting for what is next. I used to have some fairytale idea that life would reach a point where you just become settled and "arrive" to the place you are supposed to be...but at least for me, its just been a constant journey of wondering what is next. It is a challenge for me to "enjoy the now" but I am trying to do that more and more."

I asked Teresa if I could share this, because I think many people can probably relate. As I've come to find out as well, there is no "arrival" point in life. Whenever there have been times that I've thought "I'm there," I've quickly discovered that "there" is simply one part of a bigger picture, one part of a bigger journey.

For example, I'll just be honest and say that when the Lord whispered 'graceroots dot org' in my ear four years and four months ago (I'll never forget it), and I went ahead and registered the domain in obedience to what I had heard from Him, I thought at the time that perhaps "this is IT." I thought that maybe "this is what I've been waiting for." Only a few years earlier God had planted a desire in me to write a book, and I began thinking that this was what it was all about. Don't get me wrong, I had no delusions of grandeur, as if some huge "ministry" would suddenly pop up. Turns out that my lack of delusion was well founded. :) And that is A-OK with me.

My point here is that I did have some sort of a sense that I had "arrived" at some sort of definition of what the Lord wanted to do with my life, and He would build this "vision" in due time, even if the "vision" wasn't perfectly clear at the time. But over the months and years, I discovered that my life in Christ isn't about some ministry "brand." Even if/when I write a book, my life in Him is still not defined by it. I am in Him and He is in me, and I usually don't have a clue where I'm going! The wind blows where it wishes, and so it is with those who ride the wind of the Spirit. Sometimes the wind is calm, but you can be guaranteed that it doesn't stay that way for long!

That's not to say that He doesn't give us visions and dreams and desires and that He doesn't fulfill them! And that's not to say that we're never "planted" in a place for an extended period of time. But I think what I'm seeing these days is that even in the fulfillment of dreams, we've still not "arrived." And quite often, the fulfillment of a dream or desire is merely a "step" to something else. Or obedience to something He says isn't the be-all-end-all, but is simply part of a much larger picture.

I suppose I have a few more thoughts on this, but I'm eager to find out from you what you have discovered in all of this in your own journey. Does any of this relate to your job, family, ministry, pastimes, place of residence, understanding of God, way of looking at things, etc, etc?


  1. I guess I have a different experience. Typically by the time I "arrive" I am already wrapped up in the next goal. I have been trying to rejoice in the Lord more for the thing I have accomplished and where I am at.

    Pat O

  2. While I am eating breakfast I am already thinking about lunch! Most of the time during the day I am preoccupied with schedule and to be honest I hate that. I realize the "present" (which is a present) is slipping out of my hand due to my obsession with the unknown future. When we bought a home 2 years ago, I thought the American dream is fulfilled and now I can rest. It didn't take a long to realize that I was dead wrong. Now I am bombarded with maintenance, yard, painting, basement etc...
    My heart desires to slow down, but my brain is so programmed to run fast. I am impatient in the supermarket checkout line. I am impatient even on a 4 line freeway... I think this is psychologically a syndrome. But I believe God is at work in that area of my life and when I look back compare my restlessness I see hope...

  3. Hey guys,

    Thanks for your comments. Patrick, your last sentence really hits on part of what I'm thinking about here (along with a lot of what Bino said).

    Actually I think I was trying to say two things that are perhaps somewhat paradoxical, and I don't know how well it came across.

    One thing I've noticed in my life is that I've often 'arrived' at certain points, only to realize that the 'arrivals' are only part of a bigger picture. On the other hand, I've also noticed that very often it seems like I'm sitting here in life waiting, waiting, waiting for the next 'arrival' point, as I wait on God to see what He is doing.

    But as I look back, I see part of an overall painting and I see how various 'strokes' of the Painter's brush have added up to something that is simply amazing. I think I'll pick up on more of this in another post.

  4. Bino,

    I'm glad that as you look back to your past, you see hope in what the Lord has done and continues to do. It's bondage to have a brain running so fast and being preoccupied with things other than "now." I can relate to that, and along with you I'm thankful for what the Lord has done and what He continues to do to slow me down and live "today" and "now" and not be so preoccupied with the future.

  5. The subject of our "arrivals" being part of a bigger picture reminds me of a book by Bruce Wilkinson called "The Dream Giver" I think you would enjoy it if you haven’t already read it. From that book I learned that our desires and passions were put into us by God because they are a piece of the puzzle, a part of God's BIG DREAM for mankind, and only we can do our part in our unique way. Our personality and individuality designed by our Creator was exacted with purpose and plan.
    On the other side of the paradox, resting in the "now" is just as important, as Bino said, the present is a "present". Sometimes difficult to remember when we are focused on tomorrow. Learning to Rest on the moment is key.
    -Teresa "His Joy"

  6. Teresa... glad you stopped by!

    "our desires and passions were put into us by God because they are a piece of the puzzle, a part of God's BIG DREAM for mankind."

    I like the way that is said. That's what I've learned, as well, through people such as Steve McVey ("Live Your Dreams") and others... Our desires and passions are put into us by God Himself, for Him to fulfill.

    And I've come to see that they're all a part of His much bigger, wonderful plan for mankind.

    I just remembered that one of my friends, Carianne, who you "stole" as one of your own myspace friends... LOL... told me 2 or 3 years ago that her church was doing a series based upon that same Bruce Wilkinson book. My curiosity is peaked again and I'll have to put it on my list of books to read!

  7. yes, you should, it is an insightful book. Thanks for sharing your friends! You are so nice like that! :D