By Beth Demme
I don’t know if you have experienced this, but one of the places I go regularly has a terrible parking lot. The asphalt is smooth, there aren’t any potholes, the lines are freshly striped, and the size of the parking spaces is adequate.
Sounds nice enough, so what’s the problem? It’s the layout. The layout is all wrong. It was much better until “they” renovated the shopping center and improved the parking lot a few years ago.
If you enter from the South side, a median blocks your entrance to the parking spots to your left and 100% of the spaces to the right are, rightly, reserved for disabled drivers. If you can manage a U-Turn and maneuver around the median at the South entrance, you find yourself at a row of parking spaces angled for cars coming from the other direction.
If you come in from the North entrance (or whatever it’s called, I have no concept of direction), you find that some rows are longer than others and many of the spaces are reserved for specific businesses – undoubtedly not the one you are visiting.
I was in this particular parking lot the other day, struggling to get my minivan situated, and I heard myself say, out loud, “I just want to be pointed in the right direction!”
I was alone in the van, so I wasn’t really speaking to anyone. Except I was. I was speaking to myself.
Sometimes I don’t know what I’m feeling or what’s weighing me down until I hear myself express it in words.
When I heard myself say, “I just want to be pointed in the right direction,” I felt the idea resonate within me.
This wasn’t just a statement about positioning my vehicle in a parking lot. This was a statement about my life and my faith.
My desire to point in the right direction reflects the reality that I am on a journey. If I were already at my destination, I wouldn’t need to point in the right direction.
Sometimes I forget I am on a journey. Sometimes I think I should have arrived by now.
My walk with God is the journey of a lifetime. “Reaching Christian maturity is not a singular event, but a life-long process.” (EfM Reading and Reflection Guide)
In her most recent book, Searching for Sunday, Rachel Held Evans opened up about her journey. Rachel grew up as an evangelical Christian. She was the kind of girl I knew well—and liked—growing up.
She was 100% certain about her faith, her church, her God, and her Biblical worldview. Growing up, I was 100% certain I did not have all the answers. For a long time I found it comforting that some people did. Now I know better. I don’t mind if other people need/have certainty, but it isn’t a requirement in my relationship with God.
When Rachel’s certainty started to decay, she no longer fit in at church. Her community was comprised of people who were either 100% certain, or pretended to be. Her questions troubled them. Ultimately, she began to search for a different kind of Christian faith community.
Along the way, Rachel’s focus shifted. Instead of focusing on the destination, she thought more about the journey: “It has become cliché to talk about faith as a journey, and yet the metaphor holds. Scripture doesn’t speak of people who found God. Scripture speaks of people who walked with God. This is a keep-moving, one-foot-in-front-of-the-other, who-knows-what’s-next deal, and you never exactly arrive.”
Instead of committing to a specific/certain view of God, Rachel committed to making the journey with, and to, God.
I’m also on a journey and you probably are, too. I think Rachel has it right: “No step taken in faith is wasted, not by a God who makes all things new.”
Maybe being pointed in the right direction is as simple as recognizing that life is about the journey, not the destination.
What about you? What does it mean for you to be pointed in the right direction? Does the idea of a journey comfort you or is it better for you to think about the destination? Tell me about it in the comments, in an e-mail, on Facebook, or Twitter.
Post script: Please don’t misunderstand me. I think about Heaven and eternity often. Since the death of my Dad, I’ve thought about it a lot. But friend, if God is with me now, why would God abandon me later?
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