Life consists of moments. Dull moments. Fun moments. Stressful moments. And restful moments. If I were to compare life to a journey (which I often do), then that journey is made up steps, miles traveled, portions of that journey.
We often get caught up with only focusing on the destination; where we are trying to get and what we are trying to do, that we miss the moments and steps along the journey to get to that destination. And when that happens, we miss a lot.
The other day I decided to get up early and drive a couple hours to visit the Cornish-Windsor Bridge, located on the Vermont and New Hampshire border over the Connecticut River. I’ve always been one to enjoy a little road trip. And I enjoy visiting historical sites. So it was a nice way to get out of the house for half a day.
At first when I left for the trip, my focus was on getting there. I had 2 hours of driving there, and then 2 hours back…so I wanted to focus on driving so I could get to my destination.
I used to live my life that way a lot as well. I was…still am…a very driven person. I liked to accomplish things, get things done, do something. And, the bigger the thing that needed done and bigger the accomplishment, the more time and energy I poured into it. I loved it. So much so, that as soon as one thing was accomplished, I was quick to shift my focus to what was next.
Always the next thing to do. Always a new destination to reach. Always.
Question is, what was I missing in the moments and steps along the journey toward the destination I was heading; toward the accomplishment I was seeking to achieve?
This morning as I was driving and thinking about getting to my destination, I began to notice the scenery around me. The sun was coming up over the hills on my right side. So I found a place to pull over. I got out of my car and spent a moment enjoying the scenery of the sun coming up with the fog in the valley below. It was beautiful!
As I continued on my drive to see the bridge, I ended up pulling over to enjoy the scenery 4 or 5 different times. I also took a different route home, so I could see different scenery on my way home. It added about another hour to my trip, but it was well worth it. My trip became not just about my destination, but about the whole journey.
What if we lived our lives that way? What if, instead of only chasing the next thing to do and the next accomplishment to achieve, we learned to slow down just a little bit and enjoy the whole journey. Each day. Every step and mile traveled. All of it.
There is a lot of excitement in chasing another big thing, and the feeling of accomplishment can be quite the rush. But with all that chasing and wanting the rush of accomplishment can come stress and anxiety. Life is already stressful enough. Why should we add to it by putting so much extra pressure on ourselves? A moment to relax, rest, and enjoy the moment goes a long way…and renews our energy and strength to accomplish the tasks we do have.
Life is built on moments
And not just the big ones. Honestly, it’s often the little moments that will end up having the biggest impact on us.
Integrity, for example, does not just happen in a big moment. Integrity is first built in the day to day moments when we live with integrity. Faithfulness is the same thing. We build and prove our faithfulness in each moment, not just when we encounter a big life-changing moment. Trust is another…it is built and strengthened through each moment.
Honesty. Love. Respect. Hard Work. And so on. There will be big moments in our lives that test each of these, but they are built and strengthened in preparation for those big moments during the day to day moments, along each step and mile of the journey.
Our character is built in the moments
If we are faithful (or insert any other character quality) in the little things, we will also be faithful in the big ones. BUT, if we are not faithful in the little things, we can’t expect to be faithful in the big ones.
This is also just as true when it comes to relationships. Both with others, and with God. They are built in the moments. And most often, the little moments.
If we are in a relationship with someone we say is special to us, then we show them that not only once when we do something big for them. No. We show them in the moments each day, by giving our time to them, our attention to them, our energy to them, and our focus to them. We show them in the day to day moments along the journey that they are special. And the relationship grows stronger from the day by day moments.
And it’s the same when it comes to our relationship with God. I’ve heard it said that “the fact that I love God is a given”. No, it’s not a given. It’s something we show, we act upon, and we live out. And not just at church on Sunday’s. It is each day, in the moments and miles traveled along this journey of life.
This is where I will wrap this up. With an encouragement to all of those who call themselves Followers of Christ. An encouragement to not just focus on God when you get to church on Sundays, but that you also focus on him during the day to day moments throughout the week. Along the journey of this life.
Talk to him. Read his Word. Spend time praising him. Allow your faith and trust in God, and your relationship with him, to be strengthened each day. Pay attention to what he is doing and teaching you and saying to you through each moment of the journey. Even during the difficult moments. And at the same time, give yourself the grace he offers you when you fail or don’t spend time with him on a particular day.
As we seek to Simply Follow Jesus, may we remember that life, our character, our relationships with others, and most importantly our relationship with God are built in the moments. So may we learn to pull over from time to time, to get out and enjoy the scenery. May we allow ourselves to learn along the way, and to enjoy the little moments as well as the big ones.