TITLE: Are We There Yet?
By Missey Butler
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By Missey Butler
Ah, the summer season is once again upon us, and, as most of us would agree, not a minute too soon. Our senses are heightened to the wonderful aroma of charcoal-striped hotdogs roasting on an open grill, the delightful splashing sounds of kids doing cannonballs in the neighbor’s pool, and the sight of little tikes poking holes in Mason jar lids, anticipating a large catch of fireflies as the shade of evening is slowly being drawn.
The backyard picnic table tempts the best of us with big ole hunks of icy cold watermelon wedges and “blue ribbon” maple and brown sugar baked beans -- um…um good! As the homemade ice-cream maker slowly churns, Mom is delightfully stirring her tall iced- tea tumbler while enjoying the gentle clinking sounds of the spoon as it swirls around the thin glass. She has definitely learned to appreciate the simpler pleasures of life.
Yes, summer has arrived, and with it we discover an array of wonderful memories, both past and present. Venture with me for a moment to an altogether different scene, one that I’m sure many of you can relate to.
It’s the middle of August and we’re packed like sardines inside the family Vista Cruiser station wagon as it travels down interstate pick-a-number. The temperatures are sweltering and Dad in the driver’s seat (hands 10 and 2 on the stirring wheel) is quickly running low on fuel and patience. Mom, in an effort to keep the peace, turns around and gives us kids that proverbial look that only a mother can give.
Then, without warning, from way in the backseat, the inevitable happens. Junior, for the twenty-fourth time, impatiently yells, “ARE WE THERE YET?” I immediately glance up at the rearview mirror to check the angle of Dad’s eyebrows to determine what degree of doom awaited us. Surprisingly, all I could see were his lips tighten and his knuckles turning a familiar shade of white as he murmured something to our mom about “couldn’t SHE do something with ‘HER’ kids!” It was funny how we would often become the sole “offspring” of only one of our parents on any given day.
As adults, we do somehow manage to survive our childhood, and hopefully learn a lesson or two along the way. In our daily walk with God, just like a good parent, He lovingly reminds us when it is time to put away childish things. One of those times for me has been recently learning how to put away the regret of yesterday and the worry of tomorrow. I’m getting better about learning the importance of “living in the moment.”
Paul reminds us in the book of Philippians:
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
I believe that an important part of the high call is recognizing that none of us are ever promised tomorrow. And that if today, we would simply slow down and listen to that “still small voice” directing our every step, we would not have to worry about getting caught up in the trap of the “Are we there yet’s?”
I know for myself, I’ve spent most of my life trying to attain the place of FINALLY ARRIVING! I was so busy working so hard to become “good” enough that I completely lost sight of an invaluable truth. I had somehow overlooked the fact that Christ had already reckoned me “good” enough by what He accomplished on the cross 2,000 years ago. He had paid “in full” the penalty for my sin so that I could walk free from ever having to become “good enough”… ever, ever again.
When that reality finally hit me, I no longer found myself looking from the bottom up, but instead I was looking from the top down. And, boy, what a view! I understood for the first time what He meant when He said that I was already “seated in the Heavenlies,” that I had already been made complete in Him. God had little by little brought me through the metamorphosis of no longer doing – but of simply being. I needed to begin to live up to my true role of a human being, rather than a human doing!
I have to admit, it hasn’t been an easy trip. Traveling along in my own Vista Cruiser of “trying” within my own strength has caused me to have many a breakdown and a pretty hefty car repair bill to boot. If anybody out there can learn from this gal’s traveling experiences, my word to you would be this: “Get off the highway of self-effort as soon as you possibly can.”
Don’t worry whether or not you’re there yet. In fact, I suggest you throw out the map and look in the glove compartment for the compass. Step out of the car, hold it steadily heavenward, and just start walking. I can promise you one thing: you will undoubtedly make your destination -- in record time, I might add -- and you will definitely know if you’re there yet!
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