The Beauty of Being Lost
Growing up in the fundamentalist Baptist tradition, I learned that there were essentially two kinds of people: those who were "saved" and those who were "lost."
People in the "lost" column were destined for an eternity of laps in a lake of fire. Those who were saved were destined for an eternity of singing hymns at a neverending worship service.
I wasn't sure which was worse.
The terminology we used back then to describe people who weren't Bible-believing Christians like us is still used today in most mainstream Christianity. Many Christians still use "lost" to describe people outside their fellowship.
I have a strong, adverse reaction to that term that I have been thinking about lately. Whenever I hear it, I groan inwardly (and sometimes outwardly) because it pains me to hear Christians say it.
Whether they mean it or not, there's an aspect of "othering" people who might not believe the same things they do that Christians lift up when they call someone "lost." As if being lost is something for other people and not them.
Because the truth is, we all get lost.
I was talking the other day with someone, and I said, "I kind of feel lost at the moment," which surprised the other person. They were even more surprised when I followed up by saying, "Maybe that's a good thing."
I didn't know it at the time, but I was echoing something that I would later read in a devotional from Rev. Cameron Trimble:
By getting lost and welcoming the reality that we do not have the answers or know the way forward, we enter a space of liminality and emergence. We are not attempting to fix “broken systems” but are, instead, summoning entirely new worlds….
Sometimes being lost is exactly where we need to be.
When lost, we are forced to admit that we are most likely incompatible with who we are. Whatever might have worked for us in the past isn't working any longer, and we need to change.
Trimble refers to this as "liminality" or a threshold moment. Being lost lets us let go of what was and step into something new.
Additionally, when all of the old ways we used to navigate our way forward fail us, we must rely more on God. In fact, our lostness could be a Divine nudge to move us in a direction we never imagined.
I'm also beginning to understand how much being lost can help us grow and become the kind of people we long to be but are often afraid to become.
Author and life coach Kate Snowise puts it like this:
Feeling lost is one of the few things that will drive us towards truly seeking out what it is that we need to feel fulfilled. It forces us to find the things that will bring us genuine happiness.
So if you feel lost today, there's a reason. If you feel lost today, don't despair. Being lost is precisely where you need to be at this moment. Let your lostness lead you to where God wants you and where you will find your true self.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.