The Thing of All Things

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What is this thing we do with the journey we are on in life; that expectation we place upon the fact that it is only meant to be walked in a completely straight line? This idea that curves in the road, even moving backwards, is always a step in the wrong direction.

You know…it’s that thing.

It’s that idea that we are always supposed to move in one direction (only “forward”) and never, ever look back. That deal where we either move up, move out, or move on, because that’s how it’s supposed to be. I agree we need to keep moving at times, but at other times we are called to stay put.

I have figured something out although sometimes I forget to remember: It’s not always just going to come down to “A” or “B”.

That only A or B mentality? It’s that thing again.

The thing where if we change something, we never, EVER go back.But what if “going back” is sometimes a different experience that yields a new set of excellent results? We fall into the trap of thinking that it would be wrong to come back around full circle. That somehow that means we are just spinning our wheels.

Maybe it does mean that sometimes. But maybe it doesn’t.

We act like it means we are somehow degenerating, second guessing, doubting, or not walking in faith to return to a familiar place. But we forget we might have fresh eyes. So might others.

Know what I think? No matter where we step – forward, sideways, on top of our own feet in the same place (jumping up and down right where we’re at, even) – as long as we do it with Jesus and where He guides us, we are gonna be okay.

This thing is something I don’t get or fully understand even though I do it myself at times. It’s kinda like that other dealie-muh-bob I always talk about that happens to us when we are older as a result of something that was ingrained in us as children. You know. The illusion that we will return to that childhood schedule, for example, because we were able to pull it off for 18 years, weren’t we? So it absolutely MUST still be possible!

You know what this one looks like: As a child you always get the weekend off (pretty much). You know that once Saturday morning comes, you get to watch cartoons. Whoo Hoo! Bugs Bunny! You know you get to have time off to play and really enjoy your friends. You live for the next break, summer vacation, two weeks off in the middle of the school year, and you can pretty much count on it coming around every single year. Then, you become an adult and somehow you think that’s supposed to continue. It always did, so why shouldn’t it still keep on going now? You reach middle age, and you are still standing there – in AWE – at the fact that the weekend never really comes. Neither does the “summer break.” Heck, maybe not even a real vacation for many of us. At least, not the kind you used to have – the carefree kind.

Hmmmm. Maybe we should return to that kind of childhood schedule. Just sayin’.

But….we can’t????? Anyway, I digress. Guess that’s another topic we could expand upon some day.

So the expectations just never get adjusted. We don’t want to adjust them. We all just remain in the collective illusion. The collective false hope. The collective “it can’t be done” mentality. Yes, we keep hoping – dreaming – wishing we could make it real just because of the memory of it and again, because it worked for 18 years! We keep on living in la-la land even though we are about half a century OLD, yo! We keep on thinking it is going to magically change on it’s own one day and the childhood schedule will return – all by it’s little old self.

It’s that thing that’s ingrained but doesn’t make sense. False hope? I don’t know. See why I have to call it a “thing” now?

Well this particular thing I have been thinking a lot about lately is not exactly like that childhood/vacation/break analogy, but it is similar in that it’s this crazy thought or idea that we just continue (stubbornly) not to adjust our mindset, even though years and years have gone by and the polar opposite of it has been proven true.

Over and over again – we just keep thinking this weird way. Kinda like the definition of insanity isn’t it? Continuing to do or think the same thing or act the same way over and over with no different result.

We know better than this, but we keep on clinging. I just don’t know why we do it.

Here’s the thing on my mind right about now that I see us doing all too often: We tend to act like if we leave something behind, we never should go back to it. Not EVER.

That it somehow means we made a mistake to leave it and do something differently for a while, only to return to it. Like it means we are gluttons for punishment or we don’t learn our lessons if we do so. Guess what? That’s just plain stupid.

That it must mean if we go back to something we have done before that we regret ever doing the other stuff, or we’re running scared from change.

That somehow, this “returning to something” means we failed…we either failed by moving out of it in the first place, or we are failing to come back to it and leave the new or different thing behind. Stupid again.

We especially do this in Christian circles. I think that might be because the enemy likes to fake us out in this way. I think it’s one of his favorite tricks.

  • “Oh, well it must not have been meant to be” (means, move on and never go back to it or you were wrong in the first place to have made the change).
  • “You are meant to be right here right now” (is true, but that doesn’t mean we never go back to a place we have been before under completely different circumstances).
  • “God opened another door for you” (doesn’t mean He won’t allow you or even ask you to go back through that old door again one day).

I think about Jesus in regard to this notion a lot. Didn’t He frequent new places but return to the old places too? Didn’t he return to Galilee, go to the desert a LOT, and spend more than one occassion in the Garden of Gethsemane?

Doesn’t Jesus draw lines in the sand sometimes, but turn around and then break down the boundaries in bigger and even better ways?

Doesn’t He show us that He will always be there for us if we only seek Him in forgiveness and love? In fact, He’s always standing at the door – knocking. Even after we’ve slammed it in His face more than once.

Isn’t that what happened with one of the criminals alongside of Jesus on the cross? Isn’t that what Jesus did for every single one of us there? The cross and the resurrection display Jesus in all His glory being willing to do what must have looked to the world as “one step back” for a King if we’d ever seen one!

Am I wrong?

He came down to earth to rescue us. He came for us to save us from our sin and offer us eternal life with Him. He didn’t say “I’m sorry, I’m the God of the universe for all eternity and coming down to earth to spend time with you, give my life up for you, save the WORLD is a step back for me, so I can’t do that, you see.”

He lingered here…He lived and breathed among us. He still lives IN US.

He loves us THAT much.

Now that’s a THING.

So to me, being willing to follow after Jesus and His example – willing to go anywhere He leads us, is the biggest step forward we can ever take!  As long as we are moving where Jesus wants us to move, with HIM right by our side, it doesn’t matter if it’s to new places, or to some of the places that we’ve been before. We are always moving forward with Christ toward our real home where we will reign with Him forever! How awesome!

The difference is this: Wherever we go, if it’s hand in hand with Jesus, He will make all things new. He does that you know – He makes ALL things new. We are new creations in Christ Jesus. All we need to do is follow Him.

And that – that kind of stuff? Well, that is what I simply cannot adequately express in words, friends.

It’s just what I’m gonna have to simply call…..

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