God Is Not A Destination
As part of my work with my life/business coach, I'm reading a fascinating book entitled Atomic Habits by James Clear.
Clear asserts that by adopting numerous tiny positive habits that enable us to become more efficient, resourceful, punctual, dependable, etc., we eventually will fashion systems that will allow us to transform our lives and accomplish our goals.
According to Clear, what sets us up for long-term success is when we create sustainable systems that enable us to achieve our goals consistently-- without the peaks and valleys we experience with a goal-oriented approach.
In short, the surest way to achieve the things you want is to focus on the journey, not the destination.
I have a hard time with that notion, to be honest. I think most of us do. We've been trained in our American culture to be goal-oriented and to doggedly pursue our goals, putting our noses to the grindstone and keeping our eye on the prize.
But for many of us, achieving our goals becomes an anti-climactic experience. We reach the top of the mountain we've been climbing and realize that there's nothing but more mountaintops once we get there.
Or worse yet, we give up on our goals because we realize there's a better-than-average chance we might not achieve them, so we try to spare ourselves the pain of it.
There's also a phenomenon that many of us experience after attaining a goal we reached through sacrifice and discipline: We slowly abandon the habits and discipline it took to achieve it because we didn't have a natural system to sustain them.
Many of us approach our relationship with God as if God is a goal to be achieved, a destination to reach. And there are times in our life when we feel more urgency to get to God---when we're stressed, grieving, hurting, etc.
And in these moments we often lose sight of the fact that God is not where we are heading on our journey---God is the journey.
In his latest book, Why Be Christian? Brian McLaren puts it like this:
God is not a destination. Like a river, like a road, God takes us somewhere. For that reason, the authentic experience of communion with God leads to communion with all of God's creations. The deeper we go into the love of God, the deeper we are led into all that God loves.
The beautiful truth that McLaren lifts up is simply this:
When we finally realize that God is our journey, not our destination, we are set free from the compulsion to "get somewhere" in our spiritual pilgrimages. We then can more fully enjoy and experience God and "all that God loves."
The fascinating thing is that when we are released from our obsession over some sort of spiritual destination that we long to reach, we usually end up finding the place we're looking for right in front of us.
May you find moments today to surrender and experience the God who is all around you and in you, carrying you along as you live into your best and most authentic self. May you find joy in your journey.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.