Are we there yet?
Practically since we were able to speak, we’ve been asking that age old question, “are we there yet?” On probably every trip we ever made to a Grandparent’s house, on any family vacation, face it–probably anytime we were in the car from age 2-20, we were asking. . .
Are we there yet?
My mom talks about how I was famous for waiting until we were approximately 15 minutes from home (when she thought she was going to make it, no doubt) and I would bug her to play a game, to sing a song, to do anything besides just ride along quietly in the car (her hopeful plan) until we arrived.
Are we there yet?
The problem is that as we get older we don’t stop asking that question, it just changes its scope. “Are we there yet?” transforms into:
“Am I ever going to finish this degree I started?
“Will he or she ever really come along?”
“Are we ever going to be able to live more than paycheck to paycheck?
or maybe it’s more than even that:
“Is there where God wants me to be or am I still “getting” there?
“When will I finally arrive?
You see, as a follower of Jesus, this is my constant struggle. I’m blessed to not struggle in a world of addiction to illegal substances, or a bad marriage, or a dead end job, but I feel like I am constantly asking God, “Are we there yet?”
I struggle with the sin of restlessness. Once a friend referred to me as a “relentless” spirit. While I took this as a compliment, I’m not sure that was its intention. I seem to always be pursuing something running as hard and as fast as I can get there. I schedule with reckless abandon, I give of my time until I have nothing left to give, I struggle with always looking to the next thing, to the next vacation, to the next big event, to whatever might be coming next, and…..
I like it.
I truly like to be busy.
I like to be ambitious.
I like to pursue.
While it’s not a bad thing to look forward, to plan ahead, to save strategically, when it becomes my focus, I miss the things God has for me right now in the present. I miss the movie nights with my husband because I’m planning some event, I miss the spontaneous chances to spend time with friends, and most importantly I miss the opportunity to bless others because I’m too busy “getting” there.
Martha, sister of Mary, brother of Lazarus and I may have a few things in common. We can read a part of her story in Luke:
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.
Everything on the table, I am totally a Martha. I would be hustling and bustling, waiting for when Mary was finally going to get her act together. I would have completely missed this precious moment because I was too busy making all the arrangements, getting all the things ready, and “getting there.”
However, Jesus was teaching Martha in this moment as I think he’s teaching (or trying to teach me) everyday, to be present in this place. To be basking in the glory of his presence. To be soaking up every moment of the life I have to live today. He’s teaching her and he’s teaching me to stop asking from the backseat, “Are we there yet?”
At the beginning of the year, one of my favorite authors, bloggers, and all around gals is Jen Hatmaker posted:
As you move into 2016, hoping for a saner schedule that prioritizes your actual life and keeps you focused on the things that matter most, let me share the decision making filter my agent Curtis always gives me:
“If it’s not a HELL YES, then it’s a no.”
So that medium yes, that I-feel-like-I-should yes, that guilty yes, that coerced yes, that I-actually-hate-this-thing yes, that I-guess-so yes, that who-else-will-do-it yes, that careless yes, that default yes, that resentful yes, that I-probably-shouldn’t-but-struggle-with-boundaries yes?
No thank you. I am unable to commit to that this year. Thank you so much for asking, but any new yes I give right now means a no to my family and my sanity. I am flattered you asked and count on my prayers, but I’m at my maximum bandwidth right now. I appreciate your work so much, but I’ve already committed my time and energy this year. I’ve loved being a part of this, but I am no longer able to continue. We are aggressively focused on x,y, and z this year, so as a family, we’ve agreed on no new commitments. This is what I can give but won’t be able to do more than I am doing now.
Now, the things that make your heart race, your blood pump, the fire in your belly burn, your gifts to leap at life, and keep your family and home healthy and strong….the hell yeses?
ALL IN, BABY.
I know that my “relentless” spirit often keeps me from my best yes because I’ve already given a lot of medium-size yeses my time and attention but not this year. I will stop asking God to get us there on the fastest, most efficient route. I will stop demanding that there be no “silly” pit stops along the way. I will stop acting like a human GPS designed to guide the route with utter control and minimal disruption.
I want my daily prayer this year to shape up something like this….Lord, if this is a door you are opening, I’m in. If this strengthens my family, I’m in. If this blesses your kingdom and you have a role for me to play in it, I’m in. However, if it doesn’t, let me stop asking “am I there yet?” and patiently, contently just enjoy the ride.