“The journey is the destination. The process you’re in is the goal. Success is never defined by the outcome but by the process.” Paul Young
When I read this I feel kind of at a loss, like all I had worked so hard for was for nothing. You know that feeling? The one that makes you feel that deep sinking feeling of disappointment or maybe even anger. I’m a pretty task oriented person. I like knowing that I can get something done and then check it off the list. But when you’re in ministry, this is not so easy.
Ministry life centers around people so if you don’t like people it’s a good chance that a career in ministry is NOT for you. For task oriented people like myself, ministry is not out of the question but issues arise in when I make people the task. Oh, how easy that is to do.
Maybe you’re thinking, “How could you make people a task?” Maybe you’re even judging me; I don’t care. I guess I’m just honest. I think everyone has done this at some point in their lives whether they want to admit it or not. Maybe you’ve made your kids a task. At the end of the day you’ve fed them, bathed them, read all the books, and put them to bed but all the while you were stressed and moved them on from one thing to the other until you turned off the light and shut that door *cue deep breath*. Or maybe because you’re so busy with all the aforementioned things you lie down on the bed with a big sigh and pray that your husband doesn’t come in wanting to have sex because it would be another thing you would have to do just to get some time to yourself.
Yea. I said it.
I don’t want you to read that and feel condemned. These are examples from my life – you’re not alone. Life is tiring and sometimes it’s ok to take moments to ourselves. I do want to write that and make you think about where are the moments in the process of life that you’re actually authentically connecting to others. And what are the little moments of connection that you’re missing because you were too focused on achieving the end goal (whatever that is for you)? Whether people are your business or you just live with people this applies to you.
Life is about connection to God and with people. When I have truly connected with someone the best in whatever context is usually when I have slowed down, invited them in or spent 2+ hours having coffee or eating a meal. Life is about the process not the end goal.
As a “ministry person” my job is people. More specifically it’s to create space in my home and my heart and my family where people feel safe, safe to belong and then safe to believe. I follow Jesus and I believe He did the same thing.
If you take Jesus’ approach to children, he never seemed to rush them off because he had better things to do. He said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14) A child can’t automatically grow up and be mature. As much as we can hurry them off to bed, we can’t hurry them through one developmental stage to the next. Neither did Jesus hurry his disciples through one teaching to the next in order to level up their maturity.
He walked them through a process of discipleship. He told them the most confusing advice instead, “Become like a child.” What the heck did that mean? It meant they couldn’t achieve the end goal either unless they learned to RECEIVE. They couldn’t achieve or earn the Kingdom he offered. They had to accept and receive the process.
How were they suppose to do that? How do we even begin to do that? It’s a PROCESS, a journey of changing our thinking. We will only mature in God as much as we learn to receive from God. The process of receiving never ends just like our maturity never reaches an end goal.
Where then do I need to become like a child? Where have stopped enjoying my relationship with Him and treated it as a task I needed to get over? Or where do I need to start to slow down and enjoy my relationships with my family and my community again just for the sake of enjoying? (If you can’t tell, I think in questions – anyone else an Enneagram 6?)
These questions come from a heart that longs to receive the freedom of the Holy Spirit instead of trying to earn it. Bob Hamp of Think Different Academy says, “You cannot produce through effort that which is designed to be released through surrender.” So my last question to you would be what destination do you need to surrender to begin to enjoy your journey again?