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Today I gave myself space to do the one thing in Cambodia that I’ve wanted to do since I got here a week and a half ago: I walked around alone.
(Clearly I’m still alive, since I posted this, so breathe– this is not a story of how I got mugged; I PROMISE you, I am alone in actually dangerous places in Chicago, and this doesn’t begin to compare. Comforting, right? Great. Let’s carry, on then. ) 

 As I was saying, I walked around alone. 

Remembering Twain’s quote I have never let my schooling get in the way of my education, i wrote up a similar “quote” from Jesus: I have never let my destination get in the way of my journey. 

I can’t get away from that with the way Jesus lived his life– yes, he lived intentionally and had places to go, but he never forsook the people and opportunities along the way. Even keeping it small (yes, we could look at the destination of his life and the journey it entailed), his destinations were always littered with the joy of the journey. When he was on his way to a place, he let himself love and minister and live on the way.  We see how he had to go through Samaria and stopped to talk with the woman at the well…  how he stopped to explain things to his short-sighted and forgetful disciples… how he stopped to engage with a lonely, desperate woman on his way to heal a desperate man’s daughter who was dying.  Yes, Jesus went places… but more importantly, he stopped along the way.  

Life is full of desperate situations. 
Education must be accomplished, rent must be paid, the story must be told, the office must be built and the project must be completed. Desperate and imperative and impossibly urgent, first this thing and then that knock at our door, at our scheduling books, and even when they are very, very good things, we let them take over our lives until soon we become slaves to all that is urgent.  And then, slowly and before we know it, we’ve forsaken the simple joy of the journey for the desperation for the destination.

 What are the things in your journey that you’re missing because of your destinations? Even because of your good destinations?  

Here’s some of mine I’ve missed: hanging out with my homeless friends downtown– because i’m too busy with getting to work on time… talking to the guy who’s definitely lost– because i really don’t want to be bothered… engaging with the kid on the bus whose mother is clearly exhuasted– because he’s kinda annoying and i want to be in my own little world. 

Funny how i had to travel across the world and go on a walk all alone in a country where I don’t speak the language, in order to experience again the release of being on the journey. 

I smiled at some people, bartered with some shop owners, sang and prayed over this city, and engaged my soul by making myself available. I didn’t have any profound interactions, but I let myself be available so that I could be
I’d begun the afternoon with a plan, but God pushed it to the side so he could make today about the journey instead of the destination. 

It’s got me thinking about the destinations I have currently… and about how I can make sure i’m allowing myself to be interrupted so that i don’t miss the journey along the way. 
Convicting, this following Jesus thing. 
But incredibly fulfilling– this is what it means to be alive… I’m journeying, and I’m loving it.

7 responses to “Oh the Tyranny of Destinations”

  1. Love that quote you wrote. good to see you and thanks for all you did. looking forward to the spring GA trip!

  2. Funny how He never has us do the “expected thing.” Every time I launch out on what I would label ministry, it ends up being more about discovery. Seeing things through His eyes and with His heart. Maybe that’s what ministry should be? Good thoughts, Mel!

  3. Love this! I often think about the things I am missing because I am letting myself get in the way. More of Jesus, less of me please.

  4. thanks for reading and identifying… A, for sure- oh the things we miss when we let ourselves get in the way. G- learning to see with his eyes and do ministry that aligns with his heart SHOULD be our ministry guidelines.
    S- thanks for reading, and K– it was so good to spend time with you, too and i am also QUITE looking forward to a Georgia trip when it isn’t so darn hot.

    oh… and Elise… i am looking forward to my gold star when i get home. Thanks for making my dreams come true.