How much of your life is hurry up and wait? How much of your time do you spend waiting for a future event, verses experiencing what God has planned for you in the present? How can you arrange your life to enjoy the journey a bit more?
As Stephen and I made our way back up to Virginia after the eclipse, I had about 10 hours to contemplate my take aways and what God had shown me during this experience.
What I learned from Totality:
(And yes, I do realize this is a fairly silly thing to use as an example, compared to what other people are waiting for, but I can learn the profound from the silly when I am willing.)
Peek. We imagined how exhilarating it would be to experience a Total Eclipse. Have I taken a peek into the future and imagined where I want to be in 1, 5, 10, 25 or more years? Have I spent time in discernment with God to know where I am going? We will never get anywhere unless we know where we want to be. It is way too easy to sit around doing what we are already doing if we aren’t intentional about it.
Prepare. We did the necessary research and planning to be where we needed to be an have with us what we wanted to have. It is hard to get through life without the power of the Spirit. We need preparation, patience, and perseverance to make it to the end of our lives in such a way that we can look back like Paul and say I have fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith. (2 Tim. 4:7, CEB). Have I made the plans that I need to to hit my goal? Am I arranging my life to make it happen?
Path. The path is important. It mattered how we got to the eclipse. Whether stuck in traffic, or lost on the backroads, if we didn’t stick to our path, we wouldn’t have made it there. What is your destination and what path do you need to take to get there? You will have difficulty getting where you are going if you are on a path going the wrong direction. Andy Stanley’s book, The Principle of the Path is a great discussion of this concept. What are your roadblocks?
Patience. We spent months waiting for the event, and then all day waiting. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit. Can I find peace in the waiting? Can I trust God’s timing? Am I worried about what others will think? Will I worry about whether I succeed? Will I be fearful, or so busy that I miss the main event?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against things like this. (Gal. 5:22-23, CEB)
Persevere. When the clouds came in, some people actually packed up, afraid of a storm. How do I handle fear? Am I willing to do what I need to do to reach my goal? Am I willing to not turn back? To stick to the end, trusting that God will indeed have something planned for us that far exceeds what we can hope for or imagine.
I’m not saying this because I need anything, for I have learned how to be content in any circumstance. I know the experience of being in need and of having more than enough; I have learned the secret to being content in any and every circumstance, whether full or hungry or whether having plenty or being poor. I can endure all these things through the power of the one who gives me strength. (Phil. 4:11-13, CEB)
The excitement of the group was palpable. Like Christmas, and New Year’s and so forth rolled up into one. Then it happened. Totality. My hands were shaking. It was hard to take in. People were yelling. All of our planning, all of our preparation, all of our patience, had paid off. I took a few pictures. I tried to stay in the moment and enjoy the eclipse and not be distracted with camera. It had exceeded my expectations it was exhilarating and joyous.