Things change. You grow. Some people leave, while others stay. What was once just the way things are, may not be the way they remain. Sometimes this is seen as a progression, as a moving forward in life, to the next thing (whether it’s the next best or just next). And it’s exciting because you have to change and adapt and become familiar with it all again and again.
I’ve experienced this more in the past two years than I could have even imagined. Things are very different now.
But sometimes it’s just tiring. In this world of always being on, always available, always pursuing calling or God, or the ever-invasive question of , “What are you guys going to do next?” I find myself worn out, and desiring stability in a deeper sense than I can recall ever before. Stability just as much on the outside as inside. I desire stability of soul as much as stability of place, and people, and circumstance.
I partially brought this on myself. It wasn’t in any way uncommon to hear me talk about the next thing I was doing, or see me involved in a half dozen things at once, always moving toward some next thing. I was living openly, too, in front of everyone in every social media outlet I could. I thought that would bring me joy and connection. And it did, somewhat, for a while. But I’ve come to notice that the things and people that meant most to me, those which are now, due to circumstance and rightfully following their calling, not part of the status quo of my life, had nothing to do with the next best thing or 140-character pithy statements. Community, and a particular expression of faith within that community, were the things that gave me a solid footing.
It’s just all very different now. Scattered may not be the best word for it, but it seems appropriate enough for the way life feels. Please don’t get me wrong. I am extremely grateful for this place in life. My wife and son make it richer and more worthwhile and more meaningful than I could have ever imagined. And I am becoming more whole and deeply joyful because of them. The mundane and the unassuming parts of the day have become more full of life now, and I’m learning to take it slower, to be okay with not having all the answers, and to rest more. It’s good. It really is good. But all the while I have a sorrow for what once was, and if it will ever get back there again. Wondering if God will call me out, us out, to that kind of place of action and service again.
Progress can be made into this ultimate goal that we should always be aiming toward – getting better, doing more, becoming more efficient, moving forward. But I’m beginning to better understand the cost of such an aim. And processing the unforced progress in my life so far has been a tall task these past few years. Allowing myself to feel both the blessing and the pain of progress has been, all in all, life-giving for me, as hard as it may seem. I feel as if I’m becoming more present, more human, because of it.
I’m confident and hopeful that God is continuing to create in me a clean and good heart, continuing to surprise me with the fullness and richness that only He can give in this life, expected or unexpected. I just don’t want to be always on, always pushing hard for the next best thing anymore. Instead, I want to be fully connected to the present, with my wife and son, with the ones closest to me, and with the community of faith God has graciously given me. As progress inevitably makes its way towards me I want to greet it without fear and anxiety, but rather with the hope that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to his purposes. I guess if that’s God’s definition of progress for me, then I’ll receive it with open arms.