Lost. Dead-ending. Not how you imagine spending vacation time.
We’re grateful for these ridiculous phones that double as maps and concierge and travel agent. Still, there are times the GPS hops on the struggle bus, sends us right into parking lots, goes a little crazy on the U-turns. And that’s almost the only stressful thing about our most recent vacation, but we sure do get huffy for a few minutes when we’re on a detour we did not plan for, trying to navigate back to the main road.
I sit in the car, staring out the window, just waiting to magically arrive where we want to go. And I wonder how much stress we would have avoided if we’d just planned on turning around a lot. Why not come into a new place with the expectation that we would get a bit disoriented and let ourselves rest a little in our lack of knowledge?
Why not come into a new place with the expectation that we would get a bit disoriented and let ourselves rest a little in our lack of knowledge?
I realize as soon as I think it. I don’t treat any part of life this way.
It does not come naturally to expect myself to fail or to humbly realize I won’t get things right the first time. How often have I entered a new season of life thinking, “Okay, I’ll probably be wrong about most of the things I think I already know.”
I definitely didn’t do that when I started dating. I thought I had all the answers. If the number of dating books I had already read was any indication, I would be the perfect dater. From day one. But I wasn’t.
And I definitely did not anticipate failure of any sort in college. But I sure did fail! And fail and fail and fail. In all my relationships, in the part where you’re supposed to learn things in your classes, in my physical fitness, in my attitude toward my parents. I had always thought I was super good. I wasn’t.
Then there was the get-a-job thing. And the Lord was patient, gently guiding all along.
And marriage? Ha! Once again, we read a lot of books and talked to any married people we came close to. But once again, the head knowledge could not inform the heart knowledge, and those first few months were rough. We thought we were ready. We weren’t.
And maybe that’s one thing I would tell my 16-year-old self. Maybe I can just tell you? Maybe we could just both start to live it today?
Let’s plan on turning around a LOT. Let’s admit that each new day is just that. A new day. One we’ve never known, cannot predict, could never perfect. Every morning we wake up is a chance to start over, and it comes with mercy, not a road map. We get daily grace, not a detailed guideline.
Every morning we wake up is a chance to start over,
and it comes with mercy, not a road map.
We get daily grace, not a detailed guideline.
And it really makes a lot of sense when I think about it. Because this life with Jesus is not one giant U-turn we made at the end of a sanctuary aisle or in tears because of a fiery camp speaker. It might start with those big turns. But then this life is a million daily turn-arounds. It’s a heart that ventures forward in confidence and humbly backs it up at the first sign of waywardness.
Life with Jesus is repentance. Turning around.
“Repent [turn around], for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
-John the baptist (Matthew 3:2)
“I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance [turn around].”
-Jesus (Luke 5:32)
These words bring good news, Beloved. Jesus did not come for the ones who were good at following the map. He did not come for the ones who perfected the art of getting from point A to point B in life.
He came for those of us who regularly find ourselves stuck in the parking lots of life, frustrated and frantic and furious at everyone who gets in the way of our progress. He came for the ones who unexpectedly blow it on that first boyfriend, job, semester.
But how much comfort would we find if our hearts were humbled enough to depend on the grace we will undoubtedly need for the future? How much could we rest if we knew we would blow it and Jesus would still be there?
So these are words of love for you today.
You will mess up big time in the years to come.
And Jesus will still love you.
But I pray your heart will be teachable in ways that might has not. I pray you’ll claim the grace to expect failure. I pray your heart is so sensitive to the first wanderings that you make the small turns every day. There’s freedom here, in the humble pressing forward, in the swiftness of our little returns, in the dependence on new mercies for each new day.
The load is light, Beloved.
Let’s just plan on turning around a LOT.