Gosh darn it … don’t you wish you could just see into your future? It would eliminate so much stress from our lives; but then again, depending on what that future brings, it might just lead to even more stress and uncertainty.
Years ago, while I was in the midst of a period of significant change in my life, changes in my career and in my family, and feeling an uncomfortable and unfamiliar tug from God about my life’s vocation, I met an interesting man who gifted me with a perspective I sorely needed at that moment. Ironically I met this man at a graduation party. I just happened to sit down next to him with a plate of food, since the place was crowded and it was the only seat available. He was an older man, and I got the sense that he was very settled in his life. He was a teacher, and although he had long retired from his district, he was still teaching, only now in a very different environment with higher-risk kids. Curious, I began to ask lots of questions, mostly about how he arrived at the place he was in life. He sensed my curiosity, smiled a genuine smile said, “You seem very focused on destinations, young man … and might I just say, a bit over-focused. You see, in truth, life is about the journey, not the destination. The destination is just where you end up. The destination offers you nothing but a temporary stop. But most of life happens between stops, and it’s there that we learn and grow. You’d be much more content in life if you’d stop trying to get to a place that’s really only the next end-game. But it isn’t THE end-game because you’ll never be content with staying there.” I’ve never forgotten the man’s sage advice, since it hit me with a dose of perspective I sorely needed at that moment.
It’s been a number of years since the chance encounter with that man, but I can honestly say that his wisdom proved entirely true. Nevertheless, despite his advice, I seemed always focused on an end-game I thought to be THE end-game, only to realize when I arrived there that the journey to that place was really the destination. It has been in the journeys of life that God has helped me grow and learn; to fall down and to pick myself back up; and to eventually realize that in this life, there’s really one destination that matters, and the road to getting there is what happens every day of my life, and with God’s gentle direction.
Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money—not even an extra tunic. Luke 9:3