Enjoy The Journey
It’s been almost a decade since we started our first church, Redemption. I was 27 at the time and I’m still amazed by all God did and continues to do there. It was hard, terrifying and stressful, but rarely boring.
While I’m amazed by and grateful for all God did, if I’m honest, I didn’t enjoy very much of it. Here’s why:
I was so consumed by surviving the current phase and getting on to the next, I never did a good job of slowing down and soaking in how special it all was.
Rather than intentionally enjoy the amazing relationships, the health, and all the ways in which God moved, my eyes were far too often fixed down the road on the horizon.
This is a mistake I’m bent I’m never repeating.
Now it’s ten years later and we’ve started another church in a new city. It’s hard, terrifying, stressful and still not boring. But I’m enjoying life and ministry so much more than I did the first time around because I’m prayerfully fighting to live in the present. I’ve even gone so far as to write this into what we call The Ridgeline Cultural Canon (I’ll write more on that later). One of the foundational parts of our culture is this:
We enjoy the journey
We have a vision for the future, but we find joy in the present.
Do we have specific goals that we want to attain? Yes.
Do we have a vision for Ridgeline beyond the survival phase? Absolutely.
Do we want to see more people meet and mature in Jesus? Obviously.
The difference is, we refuse to buy into the lie that it is only after we attain those things that we will be happy.
God is good right now!
There is much in life that is great at this very moment!
Fruitful ministry is happening every day!
Here’s the truth: There is nothing in the future that will make God any more good than He is right now. This means I can be fully satisfied with life and ministry right now...and so can you.
This isn’t just an issue for pastors, planters and ministry leaders. You may be a parent who is missing the beauty of your current life stage longing for the next. You may be planning a wedding, missing all the great things God is doing now, because you’re so distracted with “the big day.” You may be climbing some corporate ladder believing the next promotion will make all your dreams come true. You may be a student fixated on graduation to the neglect of all God wants to teach you right now.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not easy. It’s a daily battle to enjoy where we are, rather than obsess about where we want to be, so here are a few diagnostic questions to help.
3 Questions To Help You Enjoy The Journey
Am I trusting that God is at work?
If I’m filled with anxiety, fear or dread, the obvious answer is “no.” It’s so easy to be consumed by everything that needs to happen, or could happen and forget that God is at work and going to get me where He wants me. When I start to freak out about where the people, facilities or money are going to come from, I have to stop and remind myself that God is at work and going to accomplish what He wants. My job is to faithfully ride His wave. Which leads to the second question...
Am I putting forth my full effort?
We should never baptize laziness, or apathy in the misguided belief that God is at work so we don’t need to do anything. One reason we get anxious about the future is that we’re not doing the things that are necessary now to get us where God is leading us. I shouldn’t expect to have a healthy church if I’m not leading faithfully, praying with and for people regularly and teaching Biblically. But when I trust that God is at work and put forth my full effort, I can enjoy the day, pace myself and sleep great at night.
Am I living present in today?
This boils down to a mental discipline for me. It’s easy to be so consumed with the future that I don’t focus on today. I can forget that doing the right things today is what actually gets me where I need to be tomorrow. Remembering all this frees me to enjoy today. When we first moved to Salt Lake I would have weeks filled with fruitful meetings and networking. Other weeks I would have nothing. So on those weeks I fought hard to simply enjoy the new city God had put us in. It didn’t produce more connections for me to freak about not having any in that moment, so what was the point?
Spend some time today with these questions. What’s keeping you from enjoying where you are? Things may not be perfect. You may have major obstacles to overcome. You may have an immense amount of work you need to accomplish, or things that are simply outside your control. Even still, don’t make the mistake I have in the past and miss the beauty of all God’s doing right where you are at this very moment.
Don’t start 2019 pining for what you hope will be different in 2020.
Right where you…
In the midst of the good, the bad and the ugly…
CHOOSE to enjoy the journey you’re on.