At any moment, I can be overwhelmingly in love with the moment I’m in and daydreaming about something different. Not an entirely different life, but a Mm, what would it be like to not have so many details and needs to meet today? or Where could we travel to in the next few years, are my kids too young for Hawaii? or What will I be like when the seasons change again?
Is this normal? Who knows.
What I do know for absolutely certain is that God calls us to our lives.
For over 10 years, my family traveled the same route with the same stops to the same island of Florida for a week at the beach. I can still tell you, years later, that at this hour of the trip we’d stop to fill up the gas tanks, how much time later we’d pull into Steak N Shake and how much time you had to finish that book before we stopped at Wal-Mart for groceries.
Similarly, it’s easy to operate in my life as if it’s plotted pins on a map and not only should I be familiar with the stops, but I ought to know my destination down to the 25 speed limit sign at the island limits.
But that is not real life. And it’s definitely not the faith-not-sight life Jesus invites me into.
I heard Dr. Alicia Britt Chole say recently that “reality is a friend (and denial is an enemy) of intimacy with God.”
Life, with its unrelenting, stark, remarkable way is not a map to master but a river to ride in, with God seated alongside. Or, another image that has stayed with me. Imagine sitting in the driver seat with Jesus in the passenger seat, throwing the map out the window and saying, “Just chat and listen to me, I’ll tell you when to turn.”
It’s tempting to measure our okayness with life on whether we know the plan. Comfort is a companion if we feel confident right now of decisions we’ll make 6 months or 2 years from now. If we know where we’re headed. If we know why we are where we are, and in my case, why my girls are where they are.
Living for the map is both easy and exhausting. Living with a Person takes effort and is more enduring.
Think about all the possible life routes to take (or not), all the possible voices to heed (or not), all the possible needs to meet (or not). By living for “the map,” I aim to do the impossible thing of trying to do all the things all the time in all the right ways. And it’s like relying on a 20 year old Garmin GPS.
But to prioritize a humble posture of staying before the Lord, no matter the clarity or clutter of the road, is to release the pressure of getting it perfect, surrender the approval of others and be as present as possible to the all-sufficiently beautiful love, care and presence of God.
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