I spent the new year doing one of the things I love most: traveling. As I boarded a plane on New Year’s Day, I felt this sense of adventure marking the new year. I’d spent my morning dreaming with God into a new year of my life, and I couldn’t stop thinking all day long about this idea of being on a never-ending journey with Him.
I found it kind of ironic, as I sat waiting for a plane in Dallas, that I’d been thinking all day about all the destinations I wanted to reach in my life this year. We all do it, we set goals and expectations of how we’ll keep on track with our five-year plan.
And don’t get me wrong — this is so important. We should absolutely be keeping before us the things we desire to accomplish. But I think I’m so quick when I dream to just keep my eyes on the final destination and miss the journey that gets me there. Or, perhaps worse, get completely lost because I’ve never actually looked right in front of me to see the path that’s leading me in the direction of that destination.
So we sit down on January 1 and we look back at the last 365 days of our lives, and we get frustrated that we didn’t magically appear at that place we’d been dreaming of going. But we didn’t submit to the journey and find the stops along the way that would ultimately take us there, so here we are, still daydreaming in terminal D when 50 planes have come and gone that we could have boarded, but we didn’t think that was the route we wanted to take.
Am I the only one who does this?
I’ll be honest, I have dealt with some disappointment with God in my heart this week. Dreams that haven’t quite come to life as much as I’d hoped they would have by now. Dreams I’ve had to completely die to and lay down, not knowing if or when I’ll ever pick them back up again. Relationships that have changed, and I’ve grieved, as new seasons of life and growing up force us to narrow our lives.
All week while I was in Charlotte (which was rife with revelation I’m sure I’ll be sharing in posts to come), I just could feel things shifting, and it made me uncomfortable. So I started asking myself hard questions.
Why am I so afraid of taking the necessary risks to get where I want to go? And not just where I want to go, but where I feel like God has clearly spoken He wants to take me. What am I afraid of having to leave behind in order to get there?
In the decisions I’m making in my life, am I partnering with God to advance the kingdom and His purposes for my life, or am I partnering with the enemy in his schemes of fear and uncertainty to hold me back from those things?
I started thinking about all the stories I love to read in the Bible. I wonder how short God’s word would be if we only were given the starting point and the final destination of all those people. Isn’t the story that develops along the journey the point? I started thinking about how maybe I’m not all that different from all of them.
Adam and Eve, the wanderers first sent out from the garden, because otherwise they’d live forever in misery. A necessary journey for the eventual redemption of God’s people.
Abraham and Sarah, obedient in God’s call and promise to bless their offspring forever, all the way down to the Savior himself. A promise they received well into their older years, still submitted to the journey. Obedient wanderers.
Moses, willingly wandering through the desert for years and years, leading God’s people even when they despised him for it. He never even got to see the promised land himself, but his journey set up generations to come to inherit the promises of God.
Esther, a stranger made Queen, wandering right into royalty and courageously standing up to a king she had no business being in the same room as. The result? A free people.
David, shepherd boy made king. Wanderer of wanderers — his adventures are some of my favorite to read of. Heart set on a pilgrimage, wavering at times but knowing deeply the value of praising and glorifying the King along the way.
Jesus, born in a manger by two kids who had themselves been wandering. Scripture says that even the Son of man did not have a place to lay his head. And I get the feeling he didn’t care. He was on a journey, and His was the greatest of all — the one that will ultimately take us all home.
Paul, traveling as he planted churches, thrown in and out of prison, and facing adversity knowing that his mission was his destination, not any physical place he’d ever settle in.
This list is only the beginning of so many others. Since the beginning of time, we’ve all just been on a journey. Hearts on a pilgrimage, willingly going through the valley of weeping, and in to the places of springs, until the day we kneel before God in Zion. (Psalm 84)
So yesterday, as I sat in the airport all day at the end of a two-day flight cancellation adventure, I thought, “Yep, this seems about right.” There I sat on a stand-by list, hoping they’d finally call my name and take me home.
And this is how I want to live my life this year. Completely out of my control. Boarding to the next destination when He calls my name, and finding rest in the journey when He doesn’t. Responding only to His voice: the passport to a most extraordinary excursion.