I read a fascinating article the other day entitled ‘The Dangers of Church Lingo’. As a recovering polyglot, I am always intrigued by the intricacies of language, and church, like any other social group, has definitely got its own lingo to make those on the inside smile/wince but leave A N Other somewhat befuddled.
There is, however, one such phrase which I have come to love, namely ‘on a journey’.
The Christian walk is just that, a ‘walk’. A process lined with decision and revelation all pointing towards relationship with Christ and with each other. When we say someone is on a journey it is, in its best form, a grace filled expression to point to the fact that someone is ‘walking through’ a challenge or issue. In its worst form it is a euphemism used for when we want to say ‘he is in a freaking hot mess right now’ or ‘he is driving me stir crazy’. I’m also sure that both of these forms have been used to describe my merry little dance of a journey too.
The fact of the matter is that we are indeed on a journey. For a Type A, Goal-Driven, Over-Achieving, Pioneer Minded, First Born, Extremist Type (aka me) this can be an immense source of frustration. I can be so focussed on achieving my goals that I will do whatever it takes to get there, often to the detriment of whatever sits outside of my blinkered focus – be it relationships, hobbies, money or just time. The fact of the matter though is that it IS true. It’s not about the end point at all.
The Bible says that ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick’ (Proverbs 13:13 NIV) which I take to mean that when you are intensely focussed on a goal or future promise the arrival of which seeming to take forever, you can end up disillusioned and sad sad sad. Does that mean you shouldn’t dream? Does it mean that getting your SMART goals mapped out is a fool’s errand ? Heck no! It just means that if you focus only on where you want to be, and not where you’re at right now – you short change your self of what is sitting right in front of your face.
To illustrate my point: One of my passions in life is CrossFit (did I mention I like intense stuff?) and I have been a member of a phenomenal box for over a year now. I even moved right next door to it so I could go more often.
That said, when I first got into it, I found it so hard that I would try my best to sprint through the workout just to check off my programme and float out the door on a roller coaster of endorphins. I did lose body fat and started to gain muscle definition. It was short lived however. I wasn’t focussed on developing any skills or habits so when life got complicated it was an easy opt-out. Before long I was falling head first into a comfort eating frenzy that put me on the ‘333 None Stop Express to Fat Bap City: first stop Moobs-arama.
‘I’m back at the box now though and have asked for a programme that allows me to focus on function, form and building solid foundations. It flys straight in the face of my intense personality but if I want to build for the long term then I have to focus on the process.
Talking to people about their Life Goals gets me so fired up! Let me encourage you to dream big, get focussed and make your self accountable. But if all you ever see is the end point, how sustainable will your marker of success be? What lessons are there to be learnt in the process? What gold could you be missing out in the here and now? What will you forget to enjoy in the day to day?
Pain too is an important part of the process – waiting can hurt but that same pain can shape your character. When the day comes that you smash that goal then its your character that will sustain it so don’t skimp on putting in the hard yards.
After all, cliche though it may sound, life is not a destination. As much I can sometimes cringe or whince when it’s said – when it boils down to it, it’s true. I’m on a journey.
Wanna come with?