Wednesday, November 11, 2015

All who do not wander are lost...

Religion Alert!  Do not read this if you don't like Religion!  You won't like it... Then again, I have a slightly different outlook on religious life than you're used to seeing among religious people... none-the-less, you've been warned!  :)

This morning as I was going through my twitter feed, I ran across a new person I hadn't seen before and started reading through her tweet history. I saw something that piqued my interest.  It was the statement: "All who do not wander are lost..."

Here is the tweet by Rebekka Redd:

This reminded me of a verse from the Bible:

Matthew 16:25  "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."

While many of you are likely not believers, I'm sure the correlation here is still curious.  I find it interesting that all through creation we see these kind of statements that affirm that the harder you try to "find yourself", the less likely it is that you'll find anything.

What does this mean?  In other words, the focus here is on the external, not the internal. If you are focusing on yourself, you are like someone who lives in a 200 square foot apartment in a tower in New York City who never goes anywhere. In contrast, the person who focuses on the external - people around them, nature's beauty, etc - it doesn't matter where they live, they are like a sailor on the ocean of life. They are always looking for adventure.

These adventurists look at life in such a way that every valley between the waves is an opportunity to look up to the top of the wave to admire it's height, and every wave top is an opportunity to look down upon the water around them and view the beautiful valley.  Do you see the difference here?  There is none!  They view both mountains and valleys as the same: As an opportunity!

Which do you see? People scared of the wave, or a seal who
can't wait to get covered with water again?
Such are those that don't look at life in terms of "good days" and "bad days".  Everything is adventure to those who aren't looking to themselves. For the Christian, we should see all things as part of God's plan for our lives. However, I think some Christians put themselves so securely inside the proverbial box that all they see is darkness. 

Think about it, when you live inside a box, the only thing you see are the walls of the box and since the box is closed, all you see is the darkness of life. I personally don't see the Christian life that way.

Look at how there are so many stories in the Bible of fantastical things like a whole world being created, the creatures being named (that took a while!), those who traveled for 40 years, armies fighting, and more people travelling long distances to see a baby king. Later the disciples traveled all over the known world to take the gospel to others. These were not people who were "stuck in the box".  These people didn't stop and agonize over whether they should go, they knew they should go, it was more of a question of "How".

Which brings me back to modern times.  Why do we have this idea that we need to agonize over every detail of life?  We need to stop being stuck inside our boxes and get out there to see what can be seen, to talk to those who need to be talked to, to sit with those who need to be sat with, and love those who need to be loved. Why do we need an invitation from God to GO when he already said we should?  Yet many Christians sit around wringing their hands and "praying" for guidance when they have a brain on their shoulders that God gave them to make logical and proper decisions of their own!  

The Bible says to pray for wisdom, not to ask permission!

In fact, the Bible is fairly clear about the fact that wavering while asking for wisdom is compared to being like a wave that is driven back and forth.  

James 1:5-7  
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed
7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

I see this as the instruction that we shouldn't be asking what to do next, but wisdom for HOW to do what is next.  Do you see the difference? Most of the time we already *know* what we should be doing, but we don't always know *how* to do it.  This is what we should be praying for - again, not asking for permission.  Asking for a yes or no answer from God is like the wave that is driven and tossed. We are being tossed around so we ask God for the easy answer.  "Give me a YES God so I can do it my way!"  Huh?  Are you praying that way?  Or are you asking for *Wisdom* for how to do what you already know to do!

We get so wrapped up in the "Me" part that we fail to see the truth of the situation.  The truth is that we need to LOSE ourselves and just GO with what is before us. To others it will look like wandering, but in the process we will KNOW what we are supposed to do and therefore, FIND ourselves.  God has promised us that he will give wisdom if we ask in faith, but if you already know the answer, then stop agonizing and GET MOVING!  :)

OK, so you can tell this subject is pretty close to my heart. But I feel like the attitude of many Christians has rubbed off on society all around us. Many people now feel like they are obligated to stay in one spot and "do their duty" for their family, their friends, their community, their - you-name-it-they-are-obligated - to whatever. Yes, there are times when we are obligated to help others, but we can't be obligated to everyone all of the time.

When we are so busy serving others, we are often too busy to stop and hear the "Still small voice" of God.  This is how he speaks to us.  When we are so "loud" in our lives that we can't hear the voice then we are *wrong*.

For those of us who are so self-centered that all we see is "my paycheck" to spend on "my weekend", on "my toys"...  I haven't got much else to say except you have a really sad world that you live in. Life is so much more than looking at yourself in the mirror and cheering for yourself!

So how do we change?

First, get out of the box!  Stop looking at yourself.  Stop looking at your toys. If you aren't obligated to someone at all - get obligated!.  If you are so obligated to others that you are too busy to listen - stop being so obligated! Focus on others and focus externally, but don't let that focus drag you down the road to stress.

Second, Get out of the house!  Get outdoors, climb to top of that mountain, or go the bottom of that valley and then: STOP. BE STILL.  and THINK.

Third, Stop being such a loudmouth and listen to your surroundings.  Listen to people but even more important, listen.  Go outside right now and listen to all the sounds you can hear.  How many of them are man-made?  Can you hear any natural sounds?  How loud are they?  

God speaks in a still small voice - if you can't even hear nature, how are you going to hear God???

My favorite quiet places are out in the Texas hill country where I bury myself up a river somewhere where there are NO man-made sounds and then stop and listen.  Often I can do this while I'm fishing.  Sometimes the fishing is even too loud.  It's at these times I sit there with my rod in my hand staring off into the distance with a slight smile on my face... just listening.

As the title of this blog article states, All who do not wander are lost...  This is where I am when I'm "just listening".  I'm wandering, floating in my kayak looking at nothing and everything.  It's at these times that I feel so insignificant and so blessed that I cannot describe it with words.

I then realize that I'm hearing a still small voice... and that voice is talking to *me* and so I *know* I am not lost.

Tight Lines Y'all,



  1. Reminded me of this verse:
    John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

    1. Yes, exactly! When you try to direct and aim it, you've likely limited the impact. Thank you :)