I went for a walk yesterday with Chelsea May, and we managed to cover a little over two miles as we meandered through the University of Texas’ campus. Our internal odometers, though, suggested that we had traveled much, much further.
This is something I have experienced many times in my wandering about in nature. When I’m out hiking or hunting, I assume that I’ve just conquered at least a dozen or so miles and feel accomplished until I map out my route and see that my perceived number was way off. It’s a humbling moment because I think I’ve gone so far but I have yet to put up any real numbers. It can be depressing and frustrating (especially when my legs are aching), but it can also be an opportunity to realize how much further I could have gone, and can go in the future.
I was recently ruminating with a classmate about how I had wasted the last twenty years, wandering through life and not making any real progress or movement forward. Honestly it can be a little discouraging to be surrounded by people much younger than I who have done so much more with their lives and have a set trajectory for their futures. They have had a plan since high school and have been working diligently toward their goals.
I can vividly remember discussing my dreams of being a youth pastor with a woman at my church as I clearly articulated my desire to help people, guide teens, and share God’s love with the world. While I had these plans, I also had setbacks: minor indiscretions leading toward lifetime commitments; taking advice from poor counsel; listening to the don’t and shouldn’t; taking the safe and easy path because it was safe and easy. As I reflect on my life and the 39 years I’ve experienced, I think I’ve put in a lot of time. I’ve accomplished a lot but don’t have a lot to show for it. I’ve think I’ve put in a lot of miles, but haven’t traveled very far.
The good thing is that my perception is off. Just like my venture through the UT campus, my journey through life has not been as long and toilsome as I think it is. No doubt I’ve put in some miles in my life: I’ve been places, seen things, done a lot, and survived it all. But the best part of it is that I’m not done.
I’m not done.
I still have a journey ahead of me. I still have things to accomplish. I still have a vocation calling me and I can still heed that call. Those rabbit trails in my life were not setbacks or failures – they were experiences that gave me a greater understanding of the world, of life, and of God’s undying, unconditional love.
May we travel far, may we experience much, and may we diligently follow the course set before us as best we can. And when we venture off course, may we lean on the knowledge of God’s sovereignty to bring us back.
much love. sheth.