Last week I had a wonderful week of learning and connecting with friends in Houston, TX, and as I was waiting at airport I observed something: the Southwest Phenomenon. 10 minutes before any directions were given to pre-board the plane, people were staking out spots near the boarding area. As soon as the directions were given for the first few people to board, many rushed to the boarding area, pushing, shoving, and hurrying, to….well…wait. No matter how hard they pushed or shoved, if they were boarding Group C45, they were not going to board till after C44. I found myself judging those who so anxious to get in line, but I know if I get honest, I see some of that in me too.
I find myself too often living today but looking ahead to tomorrow, or a number of tomorrow’s ahead. If I can just get to ____ date, or finish that project, or make it past this busy stretch, life would be better. Or I believe that “good” and “success” is getting to “there” soon, and the longer it takes to get “there” the less successful the process (or I) am. And when I approach life from this posture, I miss so much.
In Genesis 39-40 we journey with Joseph, the favorite child of his father Jesse, sold to be a slave, then prisoner in Egypt. Early in his life God gave Joseph a dream where he ruled over his brothers, and yet in Genesis 39-40 we find the same man in prison, for a crime he did not commit. Now Joseph could have easily said, if I can just get through my prison time, then God will get me “there.” And yet God had deep work of transformation going in Joseph’s life as he worked as a slave, and then in prison. In fact, it is the hard work of formation as a slave and prisoner readied Joseph for the moment that would catapult him into the position of leadership God had given him the dream of years ago. In this time between, Joseph embraced and expected that God would lead, guide, and sustain Joseph on the road to where God is leading him towards, and that the road itself was a Holy journey that God would grow Joseph on.
I am working hard to take on this posture of both hope and joy. Of embracing the present, trusting, believe that God is forming, shaping, leading me right now, right where I am at this moment. That the goal is not to rush to get “there” (wherever there is), but instead to embrace “here,” and humbly following God’s leading to “there.” Part of that for me is taking time to intentionally recognize God at work today, in the here and now, and looking forward to excitement to what He has in store next. It means that I seek God’s vision for my family, my life, my church, AND embrace the here and now God has placed me in.
So if you slowed down long enough to reflect, where are your eyes fixed right now? Are you here in the present, or are you already looking ahead to “there?” Are you waiting for “there” to arrive so you can start living, or do something differently? How is God already in your “here” doing the hard work of formation in your life?