Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Embrace the Journey

The nature of my personality is extremely "goal-oriented." I like to set a specific goal and accomplish it, whatever task is at hand, whatever job needs to be done, I like to see the beginning and the end. It's the reason chores like laundry drive me crazy. There is no satisfaction in a "job well done," simply because it's never "done." There is always more to do.

This personality trait is one that I struggle with greatly, because if I am honest with myself and look honestly at my life, I have very few life goals that I have both set and accomplished for myself. I can't look, like many can, and say "See, I earned this degree," or "I rose to this level in my career," or "I have created this ministry." Truth be told, I have a job, not a career, because at an age when I thought life would unfold differently, I never set a clear enough goal, and those I loosely defined, I never worked hard enough to attain. No college education, no degree, no career-- I just let life happen. My ministry aspirations have always been elusive, because those are not goals that you can set, for me at least I have found them to be just dreams.

Now let me clarify, I do not regret my life. I am happily married, maybe more than most, to my best friend. I have three children who drive me crazy, but who I love more than words can express. So when I look back at the goals I didn't set and the things I did not accomplish, I don't suffer much regret because I know the reality is, if I had, my other life choices would probably have been far different, and I wouldn't likely have the husband and kids I do. So though I am neither secure in my job or my future because of the choices I made, I am content in my family and the relationships with Neal and my kids. If I weight it on a "scale" it tips in a better direction.

And yet...

I find myself often still feeling like there is much to be accomplished-- at least something to be accomplished. I feel certain, I was made for "more than this." And yet, it seems, this is all there is. I struggle often to line up the storm of conflicting emotions these two... ideas? thoughts? realities? create.

I often find myself longing to be "somewhere." I don't know exactly where this "somewhere" is, I just know it is somewhere else. I don't necessarily mean geographically, though perhaps that's the case. I do not mean in a relational sense, but something, somewhere seems undone, and long to figure the what, where and how of it. But I find myself at a loss.

"Embrace the journey." That's the thought floating through my mind. Even the title of this blog occurs to me "My Walk of Faith," it is ongoing, unending, lifelong.

In the Bible it talks about how all our works will be tested by fire, and in the end, much will burn, and only some will remain. That which is done in His name, for His glory, that will remain. The problem is, how can we ever be certain in this life which of those things it will be? I have invested, in people, in God's purposes, and to my eyes, so much of it seems to have only burned. Years of relationships, support, words spoken, time listening, prayers said, but as I look around, I do not even see a remnant of their effect. I wonder, did I? Did I touch life? Did I make an impact? Did I make a difference? I honestly do not know.

I confess a morbid streak that sometimes leads me to wonder, if I died tomorrow, who would mourn? Who would stand beside my grave and remember that I had somehow touched their life? Somehow made a difference? Would anyone? In the end even the relationships that I consider successful, is that only my perspective? Would Neal think of me a good wife? My children, would they lovingly remember a mother who made a difference? Or would my faults and failures overshadow them?

What of the other relationships in my life? This I do not know. So many who I thought I would walk alongside for a lifetime have disappeared from my life. Would they even come? Would they regret we'd lost touch or would they not even know I was gone? Did I impact these lives at all? If I did, then why do we no longer walk together?

"Embrace the journey." A journey is an act of travel, motion that means nothing is static or steady, everything and everyone, when they walk alongside it is for but a season-- granted the length of the season is different for each one, but no two will ever walk an entire journey together, not two at all. All we can do is make the best of the time that we travel with another, whether it be as a spouse, a child, a parent or friend. The relationship is limited to earthly restraints. And sometimes their ends come with no warning, and are never undone.

I know the Bible says that God "created good works in advance" that I should walk in them. But I honestly do not know what they are. I do not know where they are either. There was a time when I thought I knew, that I had caught a glimpse, but now as I get older I'm just not so sure. Then I wonder if perhaps I missed them, if I took a misstep somewhere along the way and wandered away from the path He had laid out. I can never know, and this sense of not being where I belong weighs heavy.

To in fact embrace the journey is all I can do. I think I have been so focused on some destination, but it's one I cannot recognize unless I am there, so I honestly don't know if I will ever get there at all. It causes me to wonder, in God's eyes, is the journey itself the destination He has in mind? Maybe it's not at all about accomplishing some great task, or having some profound impact, or committing some great act. What if in His eyes, it's just about walking with Him? Wherever I go, whatever I may do... or not do, maybe the only real accomplishment is walking it out with Him.

Embrace the journey, and embrace the only One who will walk it all out with you, because truthfully, it is the only thing any one of us can recognize along the way.

I must embrace the journey, but more importantly, I must embrace the one Who created both the journey an the traveler upon it.