If you knew me, even at a young age, you would know that I am constantly on the move. Constantly moving towards the next thing, the next sport, the next show, the next college, the next (insert other things here). Staying busy and productive led to being noticed and being wanted by friends, family, and superiors. Recently though, I was recommended this podcast by the first lady of the fellows' program (Sam Crutchfield). The Tim Ferris Show with Sebastian Junger as his guest. They speak through many different topics from war journalism, PTSD, their thoughts on how veterans day should be celebrated, to what you would right on a billboard if you had the opportunity (for reference Sebastian’s billboard was, “Read.” And Tim’s was, “You’re the average of the 5 people you most associate with.”). But toward the end, Tim ask Sebastian a question of, “If your 70-year-old self could tell your current self anything what would it be?” Sebastian answered with this:
“The world is this continually unfolding set of possibilities and opportunities. And the tricky thing about life is, on the one hand, having the courage to enter into things that are unfamiliar, but to also have the wisdom to stop exploring when you have found something worth sticking around for. That’s true of a place, a person, a vocation and balancing those two things, the courage of exploring and the commitment of staying. It’s very hard to get the ratio of those two things right. Just really be careful that you don’t air on one side or the other because you have an ill-conceived notion of who you are.”
This stuck has stuck with me.
I have been on this journey called life for a little over 23 years now and I have been living in the first option without haste, “The courage of exploring.” I have explored all across the nation from California to New York, and many places in between. I have lived the life of what some of my friends have called nomadic; living in 3 states in a four-month period, going to 4 different colleges, and making room and space for here and there friendships. I encapsulated what it meant to keep people at arm’s reach only calling on people enough that when I needed something that they would be there (let me pause here and say thank you for all the patient people out there who lived in this territory of my life and stuck around. Y’all are rock stars). My life was full of the unfolding set of possibilities and opportunities. Different camps, internships, colleges, etc. I refused to stick around places that could have been a room worth sticking around for. My life, my walk with Christ, my thought process was just, “change this, change that, do this, do that. Don’t get complacent being where you are. Go do something new, go try new food.” This list goes on and on. I missed out on numerous relationships that could have been worthwhile and threw away opportunities that could have led to something wonderful.
Now, all this to say I don’t regret any of it. I don’t regret the places I’ve been, the people I have met, the mistakes I’ve made, and the ways Christ has pulled me out of the mire that I put myself in. What it is to say is the Lord has whispered the second option in my life, “The courage to stick around for something that is worth it.” The courage to stay in communion with Jesus and sit quietly with what the Holy Spirit whispers to me. To be complacent for once, and not have to be constantly moving to reach the outlandish goals I set for myself. I have always wondered what it would be like to find someplace that I could sit and be still. I even made a comment in front of some of the Fellow’s Committee members saying, “I don’t think the Fellows is busy enough. I feel like I have too much free time.” Side note, I may be the only person in fellows history to have made this comment, still waiting on my fact checker to get back to me on that one. I digress, my life has been this perpetual movement, this nonstop journey from place to place, thing to thing, meeting to meeting, and I have refused to stop. I kept running from what the Lord was teaching me in the suffering. Sprinting from what was right in front of me. The wisdom to sit in things that were worth sticking around for was very apparently lacking in my life.
But hey, isn’t that what God is there for?
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is revealed to us.”
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer-self is wasting away, our inner-self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2nd Corinthians 4:16-18
Paul captures, through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, this idea of considering suffering but also realizing that the glory revealed to us in that suffering is worth sticking around for. Sticking around when you’re wronged because that person, place, or thing is worth more to you than a mistake. Sticking around for when you make a mistake and embracing the hurt that is caused because of it. Sticking around for giving up on an opportunity that could be better to sit where you are because what you have now is worth it. Discerning and having the wisdom to realize that the grass isn’t greener on the other side, and chasing waterfalls can lead to jagged rocks.
The Lord calls us to sit and be still and then walk. Not go, go, go, and then go some more.
“Sitting reveals the secrets of Heavenly life. Christianity doesn’t begin with walking; it begins with sitting… Most Christians make the mistake of trying to walk in order to be able to sit, but that is the reversal of the true order (and here is where it hit me). Our natural reason says, If we do not walk, how can we ever reach the goal? How can we ever get anywhere if we do not move?... If at the outset we try to do anything, we get nothing, we miss everything. For Christianity begins not with a big do, but with a big done.”
(Thank you Host mom Pauline for the book)
I ended my last blog with, “Until then, I will be listening, living, absorbing, and cherishing every sweet moment that I get to spend here.” That’s how I will end this one as well because God has begun to settle my heart to listen, live, absorb and most importantly cherish every sweet moment that I get to spend here, with God, friends, and a place that is worth sticking around for.
Until next time,