Sunday, April 20, 2008

Get Where You're Going

Wisteria Lane: Picture Perfect?

Take a look around. Do you want to be just like those you see around you? Do you want to have what they have? What are you willing to give, or spend, to look and be like them?

We have had a vacant house for sale in a different state, for nine months. Believe me, I have considered long and hard what I am willing to do to not be stuck with useless real estate in this faltering economy. I am really done with rummaging through boxes in a garage to find a few bits and pieces of my former life. I want what I see around me, a house of our own. But there is a big barrier in my way. I cannot do anything until that house sells. Can't get out of debt, can't decorate.

But there is something that must be considered as I live through this in-between time. There is a deep-seated philosophy at work, one promoted by the media-driven American culture around me. It comes down to this: I am not happy with where I am, and I want to get to the other side of whatever roadblock is barring me from being happy. If I can just HAVE what I want (the house sold), then I will have opportunities to DO what I want (buy what I want); and then I will really BE happy (set my own rules, clean when I want to, let the kids eat in front of the TV). Sound familiar? It does sound tempting.

What do you want to HAVE, so you can DO what you want, to BE happy?

Now, how much are you willing to give to get to the first step, the HAVE? I could have our family move into an apartment right now, or we could lower the price on our house further for a quick sale; then we could move out and I could seize that happiness I'm craving.

Trouble is, there's a lie in there somewhere, and it does not come to light until you've put your soul in debt to HAVE the dream. We tend to believe that the HAVE is the key to removing the barrier, and unlocking access to our dreams. We find first of all, that there is a price to pay. An apartment would bring our monthly expenses higher than our monthly income, putting us further into financial bondage. Lowering our bottom line by thousands would leave us with that much in continuing debt.

Second, assuming the thing we wanted is even worth the expense, we also find that there is another thing to want. If I were to rent an apartment, I would fret about not being able to paint, or unpack fully. If we willingly gave ourselves further debt to make the sale, I would feel the weight and disappointment of having been so close to debt free, only to have given it away.

The cycle continues, and soon we realize, we are no closer to BE-ing than when we began. Only now, we also have debt, whether financial or emotional. That is not God's way. His plan is for us to BE first, then we can DO something meaningful, which will result in HAVE-ing all he intended for us to have. So how does one just BE?

We find some answers in Joshua 1:5-9. God says to Joshua, “I will BE with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Many years later, Jesus himself echoes this promise in his final words before ascending into heaven: “Surely I AM with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

So first and foremost, God promises to BE, and that is a very powerful reminder of whose action is more important. But does God have more to say about our own course of action? Let's read more in Joshua 1. In verses 6-8, we read:

BE strong and courageous....BE strong and very courageous. BE careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may BE successful wherever you go. Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may BE careful to do everything written in it. Then you will BE prosperous and successful.

Maybe it's just me being desperate for some kind of action to move me forward through my limbo, but I see an obvious course of action for me here Do you see it? Here it is: Just BE. That's it, BE. BE strong and courageous. BE careful to obey God's laws. Then you will BE successful.

Once I rest and BE, then I begin to DO. Back to Joshua 1, verse 9: “Have I not commanded you? BE strong and courageous. DO not be terrified; DO not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Fear and discouragement are two of my biggest enemies. But here I see it is a command from God on high, to intentionally disallow those feelings to dominate me, because I have no need for them.

It doesn't make worldly sense to let go of the need to HAVE. But here it is, I can go straight to the BE. BE strong, BE careful to obey God's written word, and BE successful. I can BE those things regardless of the sale status of my house.

Another really wonderful thing Jesus said while on this earth: “Seek first [God's] kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). DO not be afraid, DO not be discouraged. I can let go of those feelings because of one final great truth: There is no need to focus on what I do not HAVE, because what I do HAVE is the greatest thing of all: I HAVE God. And as I pursue him above all, I can have what is really important.

So, the world's way of success reads HAVE-DO-BE. God's intended way reads BE-DO-HAVE, and is a much more healthy way to live my life. God's way, it doesn't really matter if my house has sold or not. It's God's problem, because worrying about it is not on the short list of tasks he has given me.

In your own search for meaning in life, may you find rest and renewal in this truth. BE strong and courageous. DO not allow fear or discouragement to overcome you. The Lord your God will BE with you wherever you go. The rest will fall into place at the appointed time, and you will always HAVE just what you need.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! I love hearing from you.