Monday, December 21, 2009

Which Direction Should I Go?

Okay so that really wasn't my question, but God seems to keep giving me the answer "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction" (Eugene Peterson). It was kind of like Jeopardy where you are given the answer and then you have to come up with the right question. God keeps telling me "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction". So if He keeps saying it, apparently I needed to get the book off the shelf and actually read it. Last week I kept hearing those words over and over again in my spirit. I didn't bother to look for the book because I was certain I was to find another book that Beth Moore had referenced in her Psalms of Ascent bible study and read it. Dug through the closet, found my workbook, flipped to the back where the end notes and references are so that I could find the name of the book I wanted to read. God has a sense of humor - repeatedly referenced was "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction", by Eugene Peterson. Not one mention of the book I was thinking of. I get the hint. Got the book.

I haven't made it past page 22. But there were some things that immediately stood out.

1. "One aspect of world that I have been able to identify as harmful to Christians is the assumption that anything worthwhile can be acquired at once."

Ouch! - Way too often I expect quick results and quick fixes in my personal life and in my faith walk. I want what is worthwhile and if that means waiting, then so be it.

2. Between the Times. "Paul Tournier, in A Place for You, describes the experience of being in between - between the time we leave home and arrive at our destination; between the time we leave adolescence and arrive at adulthood; between the time we leave doubt and arrive at faith. It is like the time when a trapeze artist lets go the bars and hangs in midair, ready to catch another support; it is a time of danger, of expectation, of uncertainty, of excitement, of extraordinary aliveness."

I think I am 'in between'. I'm just not sure between what?! But I find myself knowing that I am not where I was and I have not yet arrived at where God is taking me. I am somewhere hanging midair and waiting on God to release the trapeze bar for me to grab and swing safely to the next destination.

3. "For those who choose to live no longer as tourists, but as pilgrims . . . "

I want to be a pilgrim on the journey of faith. I do not want to merely be a tourist visiting Christianity and picking up all the Christian bobbles and souveniers to display for others to see. I want to be one with Christ. Walking with Him, following Him, climbing the mountains and descending into the valleys if that is what it takes. I want more than the postcard.

I will never profess to have the answers or to understand all that God is trying to teach me. But this I know, he keeps telling me (and I believe others) to keep going in the same direction. Don't quit. Don't change course. Don't give up. Don't become a tourist. Stick with it. There is more than we can see or know or imagine. Hold out for what is up ahead. If God has placed you on a course, stay on it until He tells you otherwise. Difficulty, boredom, inactivity, opposition are not reasons to switch the direction we were headed.

A long obedience in the same direction. I think that is the way I will choose. Perservering as long as God calls me, in whatever he calls me to do. I have no doubt that I will not be disappointed by God.


Jenilee said...

Wow! Great post! Thank you! I love that picture of being a pilgrim and not a tourist.

patriciaisjustwondering said...

Wonderful post. I like the imagery of the trapeze artist between where he left and his destination. Made me realize that just as the man on the trapeze has a net for safety we have the arms of Jesus.

And I now have another book on my list of must reads.

Gigi said...

I am very much in the "in between". I am praying and waiting on the Lord to reveal His purpose for this next chapter of my life...

Jennifer said...

When I originally read this post, I had just heard a sermon by Andy Stanley about "direction" and how our direction determines our destination. I also am in the "in between" right now in a lot of ways... In the middle of some life changing decisions... at a crossroads of sorts... and in desperate need of direction! I started the Ruth study by Kelly Minter a couple of weeks ago, and lo and behold if right there in the first week was a whole lesson on "A Long Obedience,"
and the quote "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction!!!" Blew me away. Just wanted to let you know how timely this post was in my life.