shan

shan

Friday, February 19, 2016

Destination: Journey

 Are you comfortable with being alone? How about being alone for a long time? Resist the urge to answer immediately. 

Alone is a small word with mighty implications. It can be the best and worst thing to happen to you. It can be the ingredient that takes your life to another level, set you free, keep you stagnant, or set you back years. How many people put off life until they have the desired company? How many wait until they feel they will have the desired effect. Trips, ideas, businesses, obedience, charity, talents, feelings, dreams all placed on hold waiting for right time and the right person/people to come along. Even fitness goals are put off for lack of a workout partner, spousal or familial support. This baffles me. How does the mind allow us to take something individualistic in nature, and make it about having company? It does. Often.
I'd like to see that changed. Being alone is not exactly the same as being lonely. That could be part of it, but it's not the same thing. God created Eve because it wasn't good for man to be alone. Yet He, Jesus, often went alone to pray. What alone means and how it affects our lives depends largely on how it is used. 

Busy is in. We are surrounded by lots to see, do, and many "friends" to join us. I question the fullness of our schedules. How much of it is fluff? Are we trading great things for good things? Are we making time for what is truly important? Are we avoiding reality (assuming we know what that is) and escaping into foolishness? Are we trading "right now" waiting for the right people, time and circumstances?

For years, I was plagued by "right time" mentality. I wouldn't describe myself as patient ...yet I waited decades for the right moment to begin walking in my talents. For a long time I didn't even acknowledge them. Weird. I hate failure so I was waiting for the "right time" to try. I didn't really believe in my abilities so I waited on the right support. I didn't see how I could achieve the things I dreamed, so I waited  for the right connections. I was waiting doing nothing. Frozen. Life was passing. The right people weren't showing up. The timing was way off. In fact circumstances often produced a current that kept taking me further from my ideal scenarios. I was drifting away from the situations and people I felt I needed to make my life really happen. All around me, as far as I could see was open water. No life preservers of "right time," "right support," or right connections in sight. Recently, I got tired of the drift and determined I'd swim up stream- alone if I have to...for as long as I have to.  But I don't have to. I serve the God who walked on water. I believe He could have ran on it if He wanted to.That same power is still available to me.  Like Peter if I trust Him, I can walk on water too. 

Water. For years I had this reoccurring dream of standing on the rocks or shore, often overlooking cloudy, choppy waters, wondering if I should get in. I no longer wonder. They don't often, but  now when have those dreams, I'm in the water and venturing further from land.  I not sure where I'm going, but I'm purposely wading with God through life to what He's called me to in Him. I do not have the right circumstances. I pretty much have chaos. I do not have the right support.  Most people have no idea what I truly want to achieve. I'm sure they'd smile politely and cringe inwardly if they knew. No matter. However big or small, if God has led you to it, do it with all your might. Alone if you have to. 

So, do you feel alone? That has everything to do with how you live your life. Embedded in the belief that we are alone is power. It is the source of many lies, and can be the seed of defeat. The belief that we are alone is one of the greatest obstacles to trying anything. Actually, alone means no real reason to try. Alone means no accountability. Alone means no direction. Alone means little hope for a future. Alone means no one sees. No one cares. What does it matter? Why be faithful, persevere, walk in integrity? I could go on. 
The reason we do most things is to serve, impress, or hurt somebody. Admit it or not, we are motivated by others. Not always, but more often than we think. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. I rest my case. That is why you must hear this: You are not alone. You don't have to get comfortable with being alone at all! Never. Ever! It may appear no man genuinely stands with you, or near you for miles. God does. His company is better than armies of trillions. He stands with you and knows your potential in Him. Live what He has imagined for you. I'm not talking about something out of the realm of His will. I'm talking about God given ideas, the way you treat others, handle life's issues etc. In all of it, God has a will for you. This the seed of dreams, doing life God's way. Obedience to what God has already shown you, unmasks God's dreams for you. It brings life's mission into focus. Clarity.
It's tempting to think that the dream is the culmination of an idea or final a destination. Think again. Often the dream is the foul stuff that gets worked out of us on journey. It is the truth we come to know, and trust and the lies we lay aside along the way. I don't believe God's dream is the destination. I believe God's dream for us, is the fruit we produce on a well traveled journey. His dream is who we can become in Him as a result of the journey. The destination is the reward for that journey.  

When I was a kid there was a church a few miles from my house. The minister and his family, which for a while consisted of Him, his wife and the one child, would leave their house, drive to the church and worship. They did this every Sunday. During my early years my family would attend regularly.  As I got older, no one but the minster and his family went. That number could be as little as three, or as high as six. Still they went. From my house I could hear them over loud speakers praising God and preaching. I used to wonder "Why? Why go when no one attended but his family? Why not just have church at home?" It's wasn't until a few months ago I understood why. This man lived as unto the Lord. He was faithful to the one who sees all. No one in my settlement will ever be able to say to God, "we had no church. No one told us about you." This man gave everyone a chance, every Sunday to choose God. He even preached in the streets. By all appearances He was served alone. He continues to do so to this day. He has been faithful to the call, but equally as important, faithful to the journey. Truth is it is impossible to fulfill any call/mission unless you are devoted to the path that takes you there. So many of us want the prize, but despise the path to it. If I'm honest, that's where I spent most of my adult life wanting the end results, of a hard fought battle, but not the battle. All the spoils for none of the war is childish. I had to grow up, and make peace with the path. Like the preacher, I had to accept struggles, and be committed to obedience in them.  Faith does that.
I have a feeling that there are rewards untold for those who are faithful, especially when they appear alone in their faithfulness. I could tell you of a few others, who walked alone. There are not many, but in my life God has placed a few. I believe He did so for such a time as this. Their past example is a road map to my present state, and perhaps to you. Alone is never alone. What you do when you feel that way matters most. I've had examples of what it means to be faithful. I too can be faithful.  They have taught me that failure is not proof that we are alone. Failure is an opportunity to persist in faith. Perseverance isn't really tested until you must continue on alone.  Resistance isn't proof that you are alone. It is where you determine what you really believe and who trust. It's where you find your truest friend, God Himself. Get "alone" with and discover that it means to truly walk with him. He is the hope of hardness.

How many of you are standing on the shores of your talents and abilities?  Not sure you want to wade in the water of that, or go where it takes you? Do you love your comfortable shoreline? Is it your "sure thing?" So many people become observers of their own lives, watching the horizon, waiting for their ship to come in." Just remember "ships don't come in" unless they first leave the shores of somewhere. "Ships don't come in" unless someone has the tenacity to get on the water and drive, sail or steer that thing into harbor. An unmanned vessel is a wreck waiting happen. Don't be a wreck! In the words of the old spiritual, "wade in the water children. Wade in the water!"







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