“Are we there yet?” These are 4 small words that can cause anxiety in the calmest of parents. We’ve all either heard these words spoken from the back seat as parents or we’ve said these 4 words from the backseat as kids.
I remember saying those 4 words many times. When I was in grade school, every summer my family would load into our 2-door Chevy Spectrum and drive to my Aunt Cathy and Uncle Dan’s house. We lived in Indianapolis, Indiana, and they lived in Springfield, Illinois. This was a LONG 4 hour trip… very LONG when you’re 10 years old and excited to get there. However, I knew I could always make the time go by faster simply by getting in the backseat, closing my eyes, and going to sleep.
The time always seemed to fly by when I would fall asleep.
Falling asleep in the back of the Spectrum had its perks. Sleeping made the destination seem to arrive quicker, but there was one big disadvantage. I always seemed to miss the best stuff on the journey while I was asleep. I would wake up at my aunt and uncle’s house, and my parents would tell me all the interesting stuff I missed while I was sleeping.
Mom: Shaun, you missed ice cream at Dairy Queen.
Me: What? You all got ice cream at Dairy Queen? When did you do that?
Mom: While you were sleeping.
Me: Why didn’t you wake me up?
Mom: Because you were just sleeping so soundly.
So after a couple “sleeping trips,” I decided that I wasn’t going to sleep on the journey simply to arrive at the destination faster. I was going to stay awake on the journey, because I hated missing the cool stuff (re: ICE-CREAM) along the way.
I have found myself making the same mistake in life – being so intent upon arriving at my destination quickly, that I’ve missed exciting, impactful stuff along the way.
- I missed learning because I wanted to lead.
- I missed the process because I wanted a position.
- I missed enjoying who I was with because I wanted to be with someone else.
- I missed being discipled in college because I wanted my degree.
You can probably relate to some, if not all of these. You probably can even create your own list of things you’ve missed out on during the journey of life just because you wanted to get to your destination faster.
I have had to make an intentional effort to keep my eyes open in life so that I don’t miss out on what God wants to teach me along the journey.
4 Things I’ve learned to help me not miss the journey of life
- Talk it out
Typically, when most of us experience oppostion in life, we just want to hurry up and get through it. I don’t want to stay in conflict with anyone. I want to hug, make up, and get things back to normal as quickly as I can. But I have had several times in my life when I had conflict with someone and the relationship actually got better because we met, talked, prayed and allowed the Holy Spirit to move.
There are people that I have been in conflict with who are now some of my best friends. We are in relationship now because I didn’t just rush through the conflict but moved through the journey of resolution and I’m better today because of it.
- Breathe it in
We live in a fast-paced world. We are always, texting, calling, checking Instagram, updating Facebook, or running kids around, and it just never seems to stop. If we aren’t careful, we can just move on to the next email and push ourselves into exhaustion. When we are exhausted, we are no good to anyone…our spouse, our kids, our co-workers, and even ourselves.
If you don’t have a hobby…find one. Find something that you love to do that gives you a breath a fresh air. Maybe it’s working out, painting, pottery, watching football, playing golf, singing, drawing, driving, or just sitting on the beach. Whatever it is, learn how to take a breath. Don’t let life pass you by. Breathe it in.
- Work it out
I am a hard worker. I’m a very driven person. I have the potential to be a “workaholic.” There was a time in my life when I was burning the candle at both ends just to get a higher position.
I asked an older, mature, businessman to join me for lunch one day. I wanted to pick his brain and find out how to get the most out of every day. I wanted to know the “secret of success.” This wise man said, “Pastor Shaun, in all my years of working I have learned only one secret of success. You and I are replaceable as workers in a company, but we only get one shot at being a husband and a father. There will always be another note to write, email to reply to and phone call to return. But at the end of the day, go home and be a dad and a husband.”
- Let it go
Remember that in every situation you go through, God will work his plan in you. When I turned my life over to God, I put Him in control of my life. I trust Him to know what is best, because He actually does know what is best. It has taken me a long time to understand that God’s will for my life is better than my own. God is our heavenly father and he wants what is best for us.
When I fight against God’s path for my life, because I feel like my path is better, I always end up 10 paces off of where I need to be. When I trust Him on the journey and follow His lead to the destination, then I never miss out on anything. I have his purpose, his plan and his presence with me every step of the way.
Don’t get so caught up in the destination you have for yourself that you miss the journey God has for you. He is teaching us on the journey. He is helping us to be better friends, parents, spouses, leaders and better Christians.