I like maps. I like to know where I’m going. I’ve always craved clear cut directions. I don’t want to waste time, I want to be efficient, and I want to be doing what I’m meant to do.
Sometimes we can feel like we’re in the wilderness of life – scrambling for directions. We become desperate for a map so we don’t lose time. We try to get to the destination as quickly as possible. Perhaps we even are subconsciously craving the treasure chest at the end – the reward.
But when we do this, we forget about the journey.
Lent is upon us. It’s a season in the church of 40 days (not including Sundays) where we attempt to reduce the distractions in our lives and remember our need for God. It’s 40 days long, modeled after Jesus’ own 40 days of wandering in the wilderness. Lent brings us solace that Jesus knew this feeling of being in the wilderness. He knew what it was like to be distracted and tempted by things that we believe will bring us wholeness, happiness, and success.
Why does the wilderness of life feel so scary? We want to be successful and living our “best lives.” We want confirmation that we’re using our gifts and talents well. We don’t want to disappoint God; disappoint others; disappoint ourselves.
The wilderness feels like I’m not achieving my goals. Fear and self-doubt begin to kick in.
Am I going the right way?
I’ll never figure this out.
I must be on the wrong path if I don’t have a clear answer.
This season of wilderness reminds us we can’t do this on our own. We can’t save ourselves, no matter how hard we try. It forces us to sit in the journey rather than focus only on the destination? We aren’t ONLY successful when we finish something. And if we haven’t achieved or completed something and are still on the path to get there, it doesn’t make us failures. It makes us human.
What would it be like for us to embrace the wilderness? For us to take in the scenery along the journey rather than focusing only on the destination. Would it reduce our anxiety, decrease our competitive natures, and bring more confidence? For a society that celebrates accomplishments, this can feel counter cultural.
So today I encourage you… Embrace the wilderness. Relish the journey. And if you need someone to walk with you in the wilderness, reach out. We all could use the company in our wandering.